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How Men and Women Approach Starting a Business Differently

Women often find it more challenging to earn respect in male-dominated industries or workplaces. This can impact the success of their businesses.

However, if you have the right support system and are willing to work hard, you can succeed as a woman business owner. This can lead to greater opportunities for you and your community.

1. Men are more likely to take risks

Men take more risks than women when it comes to picking stocks, investing in venture capital and making acquisitions. Researchers have attributed this gender gap to differences in sensation-seeking personalities and sex-specific risk-taking preferences.

Cathy Goddard, an award-winning business coach and founder of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, runs mentor groups in Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor where she encourages women in senior decision-making positions to join. Her groups bring together women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs into handpicked groupings for support with their business goals.

She finds that women are more averse to taking risks than men, which could explain their hesitancy to participate in the entrepreneurship and networking events that drive business growth. However, she also says that significant strategic decisions often have non-financial implications and that women may consider those in their decision-making.

2. Men are more likely to take the long view

Unlike some other characteristics, the gender difference in business motivations does not appear to be large. A slightly higher percentage of male owners report starting businesses to be their own boss, but this difference is not large enough to explain the observed differences in outcomes.

Similarly, a slightly lower percentage of female owners received their businesses as inheritances, but this difference also does not explain the observed differences in outcomes. Similarly, estimates from regression models indicate that years of prior work experience do not differ substantially between men and women.

Many women seek to gain the leadership skills they need for future career advancement by participating in philanthropic activities, but it is unclear whether this helps them achieve their goals. Cathy Goddard, founder of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, runs mentoring groups for women entrepreneurs in Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor.

3. Men are more likely to hire employees

The majority of business owners are men, and their businesses provide the lion’s share of jobs created. In 2014, self-employed men provided 23.3 million new jobs, compared with 6.1 million for self-employed women. The difference reflects the fact that more men than women start incorporated businesses, and those businesses typically have paid employees.

Research on gender differences in business ownership and outcomes suggests that the determinants of gender gaps are complex. Some factors, like differences in prior work experience, are not reflected in the results of regression models; other differences may be more subtle and difficult to detect.

Some women may have access to different social networks that affect their business success. For example, Cathy Goddard runs female-only networking groups for entrepreneurs in Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor. She says that these groups allow women to share their challenges and successes in a safe environment and build connections.

4. Men are more likely to be flexible

Men may be more flexible than their female counterparts when it comes to workplace flexibility. However, their managers aren’t always open to it. Survey after survey shows a mind-boggling disconnect between what mostly male bosses want—everybody back in the office like it’s 2019—and what workers actually want.

For example, in one recent survey, nearly three-fourths of women who work for themselves said that flexibility is more important than making the most money. That is because outdated gender roles can make it harder for them to balance family responsibilities with career aspirations.

The good news is that if organisations get it right, flexible work arrangements can boost productivity and employee advocacy. The key is to provide clear policies, set up enabling technology and create an agile work environment that’s outcome-oriented rather than face time focused.

5. Men are more likely to be creative

Women can be creative too, but research shows they are often less likely to be seen as being creative. This may be a contributing factor to why women are still underrepresented in senior positions at many organizations.

According to a recent study by Duke University PhD candidate Devon Proudfoot, people tend to associate creativity with stereotypical masculine characteristics such as independence and daring. When researchers asked people to evaluate a design project they created, they found that men were more highly rated as being creative than women even though the projects were identical.

Gender equality, compassion and the ability to see things differently can help women be more creative. It’s also important to foster an environment that supports diversity and inclusion as it has been proven to increase the creativity of both men and women.

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