Running a business can be challenging at the best of times and there are many reasons startups fail. One of the most common reasons they fail is because the Founder, in the beginning, typically takes on a lot of roles, the salesperson, the bookkeeper, the marketer, the operations person, and so forth. Many companies fail in this stage as the founder is juggling a huge amount of tasks.
If founders make it past this first hurdle then they need to figure out how to get support, delegate effectively, and hire the right people for their startup. Too often founders have everyone report to them and retain the role of decision-maker, which keeps them stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day business.
At some point, founders will need to make a decision between generating more wealth in their business or having greater autonomy. Growing your business and creating value often means you’ll need to stop trying to do everything yourself, get more support and give up some control whether that is to investors, co-founders, partners, or co-creators.
Effective and strategic partnerships can help grow your reputation and list of potential customers creating faucets of future leads. They can also help you overcome your technical limitations, plus gain access to resources and expertise.
“Building complementary partnerships is key to making a big impact and collaboration can help women-owned businesses succeed.” – Fast Company
While there are many benefits to partnerships there are also risks. There are several things you’ll need to consider about the relationship before partnering or collaborating with someone else, whether you’re looking to find a co-founder or to work with a strategic partner.
When choosing who to collaborate with it’s worth noting there are a number of reasons women make great business partners and many of those same reasons can help reduce the risks when stepping into alliances.
Women seem to inherently understand that the more care, respect, and consideration we give to others, they value relationships. Women are better at picking up social cues and reading emotional situations. By being more willing to open up, vent, and be emotional about things ensures that things are brought into the open, addressed, and solved. Connecting and engaging are also important to customers and the people we do business with and these relationships can be leveraged to advance the businesses.
Women have had a tendency to discuss issues earlier. Stopping the small stuff becoming a big issue. It’s also common for women to be more open and honest about the state of their business. They are less afraid to discuss valid concerns. They tackle big issues and look for solutions rather than worrying about how they look to others.
In a Center for Entrepreneurship study, “just 42% of women entrepreneurs in the study said their business was currently prospering, while 62% of male leaders described their performance in these terms.” This doesn’t mean female entrepreneurs aren’t doing as well: in fact, the same study shared that women are performing more strongly. They also aren’t afraid to share the credit when things go well, they’re willing to acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of others which helps build stronger relationships.
As egos are less of an issue women tend to be more open to different opinions, perspectives and options and therefore are more flexible and willing to keep things progressing. Women love to work together toward a common goal, they understand that collaboration will help them generate better ideas plus grow and scale faster.
Women still face tougher barriers in business, including less access to capital, being taken less seriously, balancing more responsibilities, operating in a business world that wasn’t designed for them, network exclusion. Having to overcome these challenges makes women stronger in the long run and give them the ability to maintain multiple priorities and balance many different roles at the same time. They’re used to having a lot on their plate.
Women tend to be more realistic about the dangers ahead and therefore more inclined to do their research and consult other members of the group when making big decisions. In this way, women can avoid unnecessary, miscalculated risks by being less prone to over-confident decision-making without taking time to gather all the facts. But they’re not afraid to take risks. According to research from Centre of Entrepreneurship 87% of women see themselves as financial risk takers, compared to 73% of men, while 80% of women say they are likely to see opportunities where others see risk, compared to 67% of men.
Even though women are hard workers, it doesn’t mean they want to keep pushing indefinitely and burn out before they hit their goals. Women better grasp that your business is enhanced by nurturing yourself outside of work with other hobbies, interests, friends and loved ones. This helps increase their capacity to run the business as well as create a better environment for those who work with her and for her.
People want to see women succeed. Twenty years ago, there wasn’t much interest in why women weren’t achieving the highest levels of success in business at a national level. Since it has become incredibly clear that women entrepreneurs drive economic growth and stability, many people are pushing to educate women and make sure they have comparable opportunities to create strong, healthy, vibrant businesses. This focused attention makes and increased awareness boosts women-owned businesses and helps women run better businesses.
While this isn’t the narrative we typically hear, women are better negotiators because they don’t try to win negotiations outright. This would imply that someone has to lose, which isn’t always fair. They value fairness because they’ve had to overcome so much to get where they are to succeed and relied on others to help them get there, so they tend to go into a negotiation with a win/win attitude,.
Business doesn’t have to be all numbers and KPIs. We’re living in the Conceptual Age and creative thinking will continue to become more and more important. Women tend to be more in touch with their creative sides and don’t shy away from thinking outside the box. More and more, creativity is an important commodity. It’s important to be creative in every aspect of running a business, and women are more in touch with their creative side and the creative aspects of life in general.
By Martine Resnick, Co-Founder at The Lola. Coworking space and digital community for women in Atlanta and beyond