A Guest Post by John Packham
To study women in entrepreneurship is to study women who are in the midst of great change. Women who see obstacles and work to overcome them while also stepping out of their comfort zones to discover who they really are: that’s what’s going on in business today. That’s what’s happening when a woman decides she is going to start a business. But she doesn’t do it alone and she doesn’t want others to go down that road alone either. Because when women set out to start a business, they don’t look at other women as competition; they look at other women as collaborators, connections, and courageous. If there’s one thing every woman entrepreneur knows, it’s how hard it is to be a woman entrepreneur, so she’s not contributing to the discomfort of other women entrepreneurs. Women are changing entrepreneurship. Here’s how.
They Build Each Other Up
Women have a great deal of empathy and understanding for others who are in the same situation as them. Rather than see women entrepreneurs as competition, women often see each other as a source of support. While their products may be direct competition with each other, they are not. They can provide insight and advice to one another without fear that they will undermine their efforts. Because every woman knows that each business owner is on their own path of discovery, even the same products and services don’t necessarily serve the same audiences. Women are at a point in history where they are not threatened by one another- they are encouraged.
They Connect and Collaborate.
Women look for inspiration in many places, and they often find that inspiration in the form of other women who are doing the things they want to be doing. If you are a woman entrepreneur, you might be likely to pursue the business section at your local bookstore looking for advice from successful male entrepreneurs, but if you really want to succeed, you need to connect, collaborate with, and learn from other women entrepreneurs. Gone are the days where women need to compete in a man’s world: the only competition a woman entrepreneur has these days is herself. There is a real movement happening that is showing the men how business is done – and its women working together.
They Solve Problems Together
There was a time when you’d see a group of women hovered over a table at a local restaurant talking about family and friends, but these days, you’ll find women hovered over a table at a local restaurant with business plans spread wide and napkins filled with ideas. Women are great problem solvers. They are connectors. They are the ones who move information forward and ensure that everyone is where they need to be. These traits, as well as many others, are what make women fantastic entrepreneurs. Resourceful and spirited, women can come together and make things happen.
Whether you find women gathered at a restaurant focused on solving problems or they are lined up at a local startup house trying to decide on their next big move, women are moving the business forward in a new way. Starting a coworking space or hunkering down at the kitchen table, women gather to support one another, learn from one another, and provide opportunities to one another. They are changing the way business is done because they are bringing the best of themselves to whatever table they gather. Women aren’t worried about doing business like men, they are focused on doing business like themselves. Trust and compassion also make up an important of relationships in business building and women often find comfort, worthy competition, and challenges when they gather together.
Women in business is not a new concept but it is still being treated like a phenomenon and movement. The truth is that women have been running homes like businesses since the dawn of time. Collectively, women move mountains. And it’s just over the last number of decades that we’re starting to take notice of the power of collectives. Instead of focusing on raising children, women are focused on raising capital, raising roofs in the business community, and breaking through glass ceilings on their way to the top. Women might feel like they need to be strong, be bold, and be outspoken in order to succeed in business, but they need to be themselves, be there for each other, and be less worried about what the men are doing and more focused on how they can do their part to make the world a better place.