There is room for improvement, but the U.S. ranked #1 among 17 countries on having the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship, according to Gender-Global Entrepreneurship Development Index (GEDI). These conditions include entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial eco-system and entrepreneurial
Some of the 11 reasons women entrepreneurs will crack glass in 2014 are common to all women and others are unique to entrepreneurs.
1. Women have the right stuff
Women make better leaders than men, according to research conducted by Zenger Folkman. “They build better teams; they’re more liked and respected as managers; they tend to be able to combine intuitive and logical thinking more seamlessly; they’re more aware of the implications of their own and others’ actions; and they think more accurately about the resources needed to accomplish a given outcome,” said Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in Forbes. Women on the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in North America know that you have to nurture your staff in order to sustain rapid growth. That growth doesn’t happen without employees who are willing and able to deliver excellent products and great customer service.
Twenty-first-century leadership skills, such as cooperation, communication, and sharing are more commonly associated with women, according to John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio, authors of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future. Luan Cox, Crowdnetic, is helping pioneer a new industry, crowdfinancing. She’s working with all the players in the industry to provide the data it needs to be transparent and accountable. Cristina Mariani-May, Banfi Vintners, a family winery, credits her success to her ability to build relationships by listening.
2. The proof is in the pudding
Two research reports find that women deliver better company performance.
Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies with only men in charge, according to Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Start-Up Success? a report by Dow Jones VentureSource.
VC firms that invest in women-led businesses performed better than all men-led businesses, according to the SBA Office of Advocacy.
3. Diversity improves performance and increases innovation
Organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management achieve 35% higher return on equity (ROE) and 34% better total return to shareholders versus their peers – and research shows gender diversity to be particularly valuable where innovation is key, according to research conducted by Illuminate Ventures.
4. Untapped spending power
Women shouldn’t rush out and buy products made by women just because we’re the same sex. However, women understand other women. That insight gives us an edge in developing products that better meet our needs. With 80% of consumer spending controlled by women, and women having considerable influence on spending categories that are considered the domain of men, such as autos and electronics, that is a whole lot of purchasing power for products and services developed by women.
5. Women use the power of their portfolios
While the percent of women angel investors is still small — 22% — it jumped 50% from 2011 to 2012, according to the Center for Venture Research. Angel investors are accredited wealthy individuals.
6. Men are bullish on women
It’s not just Warren Buffett who is bullish on women. Vivek Wadhwa , academic, writer, and entrepreneur is a vocal critic of the underfunding of women-led companies by Silicon Valley and a supporter of women-led businesses. He is crowd-creating and funding a book about women’s global participation in the innovation economy. Male angel investors, such as Adam Quinton, recognize that the failure of the angel market in general to invest in promising women-led companies provides greater opportunity for him.
7. Women are building a vibrant and layered ecosystem
There are tons of networking groups to choose from. Some are general in focus and have been around for a long time, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners. Others, such as Women 2.0, are focused on specific types of women, such as those starting technology companies. One of the newest to the scene is digitalundivided, which is focused on women of color working in the digital space.
8. Women are shedding their cloak of invisibility
Last year was the first time that two American-born non-celebrity entrepreneurs — Sara Blakely and Tory Burch — made the 2013 FORBES World’s Most Powerful Women list. One of the selection criteria is media presence. Pretty impressive when you consider they’re competing with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg.
9. Women are starting to blow out their networks
Women are beginning to get the importance of networking: The bigger and more diverse your network the more likely your business is to break revenue barriers. I’ve written about some exceptional women networkers and the tactics they use. Using social networks isn’t just one of my favorite ways to build your network. With money drying up for small businesses during the financial crisis, Dara Albright of Crowdnetic, knew innovation was needed and she wanted to be a part of it. She used LinkedIn to meet people who would eventually become the movers and shakers in the crowdfinance industry. She launched NowStreet, which is a media and event company specializing in crowdfinance. The company was bought last year by Crowdnetic.
10. Women never stop learning
Every entrepreneur I know has built a successful business on the many varieties of learning available. Admitting that you don’t know everything — and never will — is key to growth. Interestingly, self development is one of those areas in which women outshine men, according to Zenger Folkman’s research. Women share, and some women who have built $10 million plus businesses shared their secrets. You can learn a lot from trailblazers. Women listen, read business books and publications, and attend professional development training, etc. We are also learning to seek outside counsel from mentors, sponsors and advisors, and participate in peer advisory groups.
11. Some women use failure as a launching pad to success
Women tend to be perfectionists. Speaking about failure goes against our grain. But, the truth is, no one will succeed all the time. We learn more from our failures than our successes. Kudos to Sallie Krawcheck for publicly talking about being fired from two big jobs. Even better, she didn’t hide afterwards. She picked herself up, dusted herself off, and bought 85 Broads – a networking organization for women who want to advance their careers.
You can help shatter the glass ceiling for women entrepreneurs by providing expert advice, opening your Rolodex, and even your wallet.
By Geri Stengel for Forbes magazine
To read the whole article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/geristengel/2014/01/08/11-reasons-2014-will-be-a-break-out-year-for-women-entrepreneurs/