Over the last few months, I have seen team after team give their start-up pitches to investors. And time after time I’ve seen series of men come up to pitch their ideas, yet almost all them didn’t have a single woman on their teams.
As an aspiring female entrepreneur, this observation made me question why such a large gender gap exists within entrepreneurship.
We have already heard the debate as to why there are low numbers of women in entrepreneurship. But whatever the reasons for low participation, it’s more talk than action. Of course there are some gender differences, but they do not explain why such a great gender gap still exists. In fact, I think we underestimate the potential women have within the realm of entrepreneurship.
Women bring great value and strength to business. Here are some of the reasons why you need a woman on your team:
1) Women are relationship builders. Women place a greater emphasis on connecting to people and building strong relationships. Businesses are becoming more active in creating and maintaining relationships with their customers. After all, happy customers = great business.
2) Women are communicators. Great companies tell great stories. Stories that are appealing, heart-warming, and interesting always get attention.
3) ‘Soft skills’ are in demand. “The hard skills are the technical expertise you need to get the job done. The soft skills are really everything else.” Don’t overlook the importance of soft skills in your business.
4) Women control social networks. Women are the majority of the total users of social networking sites and spend 30% more time on these sites than men. Women can bring large social networks to the business.
5) Women are the household spenders. Whether shopping in-stores or online, the majority of shoppers are women. Who best understands women, if not other women!?
6) Women like to solicit feedback Understanding customer wants and needs is imperative to a firm’s survival. Being able to listen, understand, and relate to customers is what will help a business deliver products to meet customers’ needs. Understanding what works and what doesn’t work can help a business mold its strategy and directions.
7) Women entrepreneurs get attention. Women entrepreneurs have a spotlight on them. Michael Arrington wrote “statistically speaking women have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs, because the press is dying to write about them, and venture capitalists are dying to fund them.”
8 ) Balance. Women offer a different perspective to their male counterparts. Having a woman on the team may help you identify different viewpoints, strategies, and ideas.
Note: Not all women or men possess these specific traits, and more often than not, everybody is on a different point of the scale within each trait, regardless of gender. Still, don’t overlook the value of having women on a team.