Women entrepreneurs are disrupting industries everywhere, from fashion to technology to finance. No matter what line of business women entrepreneurs are in, their success can usually be traced back to seeing a problem and finding a solution. Women bring a new perspective and skillset toward business that often helps make them better entrepreneurs.
There are so many intangible qualities that make women entrepreneurs so special, and while these traits are certainly not all exclusive to women, it’s important to celebrate the qualities that position women to be successful and encourage more women to go after that success. In honor of International Women’s Day I want to highlight just a few of the characteristics that make female leaders so fierce.
Women see a problem and almost immediately start scanning their minds to find a solution. We can tap into our creativity and explore ideas. I had plenty of cynics when I started my company, telling me that I couldn’t make a flavored water without sweeteners or preservatives, but I didn’t accept that. Instead I asked why, and continued to investigate the problem until I found a solution.
We don’t always have time to overthink a situation and so we have to act and maybe fix things along the way. Being natural multi-taskers, that action doesn’t take away from any projects that we already have going on. We thrive on accomplishing several goals at once.
Women’s Intuition is real and it’s invaluable in running a business. Intuition is something women in leadership have no problem tapping into. Every situation has its own complexities and challenges, so we do the research and investigating and data gathering, but at some point, there’s not enough evidence to point you in a definite direction, and you just have to go with your gut.
Other times, that intuitiveness creates a sensation that changes how we live. Diane Von Furstenburg’s intuition made her a legendary fashion icon. She knew that women wanted something beautiful but effortless, easy and functional. She created the simple yet sexy wrap dress. She didn’t need to do any research or data gathering. She just tapped into a feeling at the moment and went with it.
Passion is the heart of a business. You also need a solid business plan and a great team, but to keep the energy going when challenges arise, an entrepreneur needs to feel that emotion. Being emotional used to be seen as a weakness and women were held back because of it, but that’s only because that passion was misunderstood. Now, it’s seen as a necessary ingredient. Whether you’re a woman or a man, you’ll find greater success if the business you’re pouring everything into is one that you’re truly passionate about, and not just a paycheck.
Women have to be many things to a lot of people, so we’ve learned to be flexible in all areas of our lives. Being rigid isn’t an option. In business, being rigid is a great way to fail. Women understand that to succeed in life and in business, we have to adapt to change. We can be swimming along in one direction and suddenly have an emergency or conflict that requires us to stop what we’re doing and rethink a situation or possibly even change course.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview Randi Zuckerberg, an amazing business woman and a dear friend. Not many people are aware, but Randi’s dream was to become an opera singer. Unfortunately, she was rejected from the music program at Harvard. Rather than spend too much time feeling sorry for herself, she changed her game plan and her major.
“I count not getting into Harvard’s music major as one of my luckiest failures in life, because if I hadn’t majored in psychology, then I wouldn’t have gone to work at an ad agency and started to develop some expertise in digital marketing.” Those skills were later put to use when her brother, Mark asked her to come help out at Facebook. Despite being the only woman in the room, she made huge contributions while she was there.
Money and success are great, but for women entrepreneurs, making an impact beyond the boardroom lights us up.
Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, didn’t set out to create a billion dollar company, although that’s what she ended up doing. She actually started out with the simple idea of inventing something that she could sell to millions of peoplethat would make people feel good.
Randi Zuckerberg parlayed her success into being an angel investor with a bit of a twist. After her experience of being the only woman at the table for ten years, she says she “won’t even look at a company if there isn’t at least one female founder.”
Women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens. We approach problems differently, and in doing things our way, we’re truly making a difference.