Did you know that women founded about half of all small businesses in the United States? Even in areas such as high tech startups, where this number has been historically much lower, we are seeing a change in the trends. Women have begun pitching a broader range of startup ideas, which has lead to more involvement from venture capital firms. This is great news, not just because diversity is almost always a good thing, but also because women have the potential to make darned good entrepreneurs.
- Women tend to take smarter risks. Of course, to run a startup you have to be willing to take some risks, but women, for the most part, tend to shy away from risk that is unnecessary.This kind of careful behavior is great when you’re starting a business, because it causes you to ask more questions, run more tests, analyze more data, and basically do whatever it takes to make your business seem like less of a risk.
- Women don’t mind asking for directions. In general, women aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t know something, which opens them up to a wealth of valuable information as they seek out mentors, ask questions, and look for feedback.
- Women are relationally minded. To a large degree business is built on relationships. There are relationships between partners, between employer and employees, and between businesses and customers. If you look at your business from this perspective, and view the relationships in your company as long-term, it will be easier to build a team that feels valued, respected, and supported. It also gives customers a feeling of ownership when they have relationships with people at the company. Women also value their lives outside work, which makes them less susceptible to burnout.
- Women multitask well. Most women are adept at juggling multiple roles simultaneously, working toward several priorities and handling a full plate. Multitasking is a vital skill for an entrepreneur, so the fact that most women already multitask effectively makes them valuable to a startup.
- Women tend to take things personally. They take it to heart when something doesn’t go as planned, and that leads to better products, better service, and an overall better company. They’re not afraid to change course if they think they’ve made a misstep, and they’re not afraid to put in as much work as it takes to succeed.
- Women are good listeners. Conversation is a valuable entrepreneurial tool. Networking is essential when you’re building a business, and talking to people opens you up to valuable opportunities. Not only that, but good communicators are able to create deeper bonds, and give other people the opportunity to get involved and help the business thrive.
- Women offer a higher return on investment. According to recent research published in 2014, Venture Capital firms that invest in woman-owned businesses tend to perform much better than those that are completely man-led. Private technology companies, too, tend to be more capital-efficient when women are in charge, yielding a 35% higher ROI.
In a traditionally male field, isn’t it nice to think that women might actually have an entrepreneurial edge? Whether you’re a woman looking to start your own business or an investor weighing all the factors, it’s time to take a step back and acknowledge all that women have to offer a startup.
Special shout out to Georgia Tech students Elnaz Banan Sadeghian, the winner of the 2014 GTRIC Edison Prize,
and Rachel Ford, who secured second place in the 2014 InVenture Prize Competition!