Big Business for Female Entrepreneurs

By: Elisha Burberry

Women entrepreneurs are big news. They are starting businesses at twice the rate of men and their businesses are growing in size as well as number. Revenue in female owned businesses increased more than in other businesses in the same period, according to a 2004 survey by Washington DC's Centre for Women Business research. Although the story in the United States is the most promising, a smaller, slower but nonetheless similar trend is taking place in Britain.

Although much is made of women's desire for a 'work life' balance, comparatively few women leave the corporate world so they can spend more time with their families. Rather, they want to take risks, work in a more flexible and possibly ethical way, and follow their passions. Emotional attachment to something is not always an asset in big business, but it is helpful if you want to start a small business as you will likely need a grand passion to carry you through the difficulties. It is hard to sacrifice your holiday because your city boss needs you to broker a big deal; it is much easier if you need to keep your own business going and you actually enjoy your work.

Adrian Guglielmo started a marketing company and hired deaf people - the first for-profit corporation for people with disabilities in America. She had found out that there was an 80 percent unemployment rate in the deaf community. Although paying serious attention to all the usual suspects, including turning a handsome profit, she is passionately interested in 'capitalism with a cause'. The traditional macho business model may be an impediment for women employed in the corporate world - do they really want to be a 'ball breaker' - but once outside they can choose a business model that plays to their strengths.

Sian Lewis is managing director of Diamond, which offers car insurance for women. The prevailing wisdom is to have your call centre stocked with low-paid employees, that is, if it hasn't already been relocated to the East. Needing to contact a call centre is probably on most people's list of 'things I really dislike doing'. The bottom line is keeping costs as low as possible. Of course this is supremely important, but not at the expense of offering a good service. Diamond has chosen to employ articulate and genuinely motivated staff - and their quotes are still extremely competitive.

Although women are less likely to receive venture capital than men, they mange to find funding by recourse to banks, credit cards and perhaps families. This will hopefully change, as the proven track records of small businesses run by women speak for themselves. Already, women are recognised as a 'safe pair of hands' whilst driving, hence Diamond's success. But setting up a small business also requires specific experience, as well as passion and drive. Thankfully, women develop useful relationships with a greater ease than men.

Women have what it takes to succeed - and will continue to prove it.

Disclaimer:
This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.

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