Women now account for over a third, or 34 per cent (668,670 women) of all business operators. This is an increase of 46 per cent over the past twenty years. The increase in the number of men setting up their own business over the same period of time was 27 per cent.
The stats also show that women are increasingly likely to call it quits on their day job to start businesses in their thirties; the main motivator usually being family flexibility. (Note to companies who are losing good women in the workforce due to a lack of flexibility.) Women between the ages of 44 and 55 were found to own the most businesses.
Women’s access to equal rights, finance, tech and education in Australia has made it the second-best place in the world for women to start their own business.
In the US, 40% of US businesses are women-owned and 4.2% of all female-owned companies have revenues of one million or more.
So, now that women have firmly placed their business feet on the ground, how can you be a successful businesswoman (or human) in 2021?
- Have strong communication skills. Having the ability to speak to humans from all walks of life will set you apart.
- Get a mentor. Having someone in your life who you can truly trust, but who will also guide you towards success with constructive criticism and honest feedback, is crucial. Additionally, you can read about other successful businesswomen (or businesspeople) and get advice, inspiration and guidance from them.
- Create a support network. You’re going to need to have the tough conversations with the people around you at home – are they supportive of your business and do they understand its overarching goals? If so, how are they going to support you physically and emotionally, so that you aren’t carrying the load? Create a calendar of life admin tasks so everyone in the family is on board – this has changed my life.
- Be nimble. No one can predict every downturn or market shift, but a willingness to stay nimble is important. You’re going to need to be flexible and listen to your audience when they are telling you something. What do the people want? Remain open to pivoting.
- Continue learning. Get educated on business systems. Good leaders are actually good learners – they are always learning in personal and business growth.
- Forget gender. While business ownership is still largely dominated by men, you shouldn’t let this influence you. Getting distracted by this will only deter you from making clear and well-educated decisions in business – you don’t have time for that. Eliminate thoughts that your gender has anything to do with success, and you will go far.
As a culture we need to understand that women are still carrying the load. We need to be collectively responsive to this and learn how to help one another with the challenges of managing family and business life.
Having been in this position for many years – running a business whilst raising a family – I realise women need to stand out in this male-dominated world; and the conclusion is pretty simple by two-fold:
- Stand your ground.
- Know your stuff.
To me, the future for women is exciting. In recent years, I’ve seen an absolute acceptance of women in business and senior management roles. In fact, I’ve seen our male counterparts actually welcome and enjoy the diversity that this brings; diversity which unfolds innovation and growth.
I’m seeing more and more women who are willing to take the step into business ownership to build the lifestyle for their family that they desire, and they do it with passion and drive, which is very inspiring. This is a very exciting time indeed.
The most successful women in business are:
- Wang Laichun.
- Oprah Winfrey.
- Shery Sandberg.
- Sara Blakely.
- Cher Wang.
- Folorunsho Alakija.
- Susan Wojcicki.
- Indra Nooyi.
International Women’s Day is March 8th 2021. For more information on how to succeed in business, join our community!