It has been argued that successful female entrepreneurs have many qualities that they share in common. Incidentally, some may not be generally shared by males.
According to one successful woman entrepreneur, they include such obvious ones as patience, flexibility, empathy and a willingness to ask for help.
According to Susan T. Spencer, “All of these qualities are important, but there are several other talents that are ‘critical’ if women want to grow their business and achieve long lasting entrepreneurial success.”
Spencer believes the five skills shared by most successful businesswomen are:
- Perceptive communication
- Building professional relationships with customers, suppliers, bankers and others
Perceptive communication: The ability to communicate in any language—verbal or not —is one of women’s most dynamic talents. Women are natural communicators—it’s not just their ability to talk; they are also aware of what others are thinking. In fact, this innate gift applies to all of women’s senses; touch, smell, taste, vision and hearing. According to Helen E. Fisher*, these traits along with other observations that women instinctively notice, such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, collectively represent their ability to be perceptive communicators.
Inclusiveness: Women run their companies like a loosely defined “family unit.” They interact with every person in their organization and their suppliers and customers as well. By treating every employee as a unique person, women are able to create a positive working atmosphere almost immediately. When people come first the morale and productivity of the company improves materially.
Resourcefulness: Women have the ability to think 360 degrees, not just “outside the box.” They are not held back by conventional rules and management theories which give them an advantage when it involves serious problems. Women are able to weigh more factors and float lots of “what ifs” around in their heads and explore many possibilities before they conclude that a solution is “impossible.”
Improvisation: Women improvise all the time, and business is no exception. By using unconventional methods and thinking up original ideas, they often are able to surprise the competition.
Building professional relationships: Women build their business relationships in a much broader context than men. Their business circle includes customers, consultants and salespersons who represent products that are relevant for their company, clients, buyers and local authorities with whom they do business. Through these “transactional” relationships, and in many cases friendships, they are able to expand their business, products, customers and financing sources.
Spencer believes that by understanding the value of the skills women possess they can further their ability to succeed.
She feels the impediments to success for women are generally self-imposed and include:
- Self-doubt and lack of self-confidence
- Being unable to self-promote
- Being too conservative in growing their companies
- Dealing with the limitations of their time for family and personal responsibilities
Her advice to women is “to celebrate your uniqueness and use every inherent talent that women possess to achieve your goals, and never look back.”
Susan T. Spencer is a successful entrepreneur and author of the book Briefcase Essentials. Her Web site is www.BriefcaseEssentials.com.
*Helen E. Fisher, The First Sex (New York: Ballantine Books, 2000, page 87).