You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Leading the Way for Women Business Owners
“You Can’t Be What You Can’t See.” – Marian Wright Edelman
A powerful quote from the Sundance Documentary “Miss Representation” that exposes how our culture contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.
As a peer-to-peer membership for women business owners, BrainTrust is dedicated to seeing women achieve financial independence, wealth & influence. And we shine a light on the women who are paving the way, pushing them to the forefront so the rest of us can SEE the possibilities.
Giving women models for leadership by other powerful women shows them what we are capable of, putting the focus on what is achievable, not the barriers that we are overcoming. This strategy is working. Women are making significant inroads in entrepreneurship, the C-Suite and on boards of large corporations. And the successes keep mounting:
*Companies with gender-diverse boards generate significantly higher profits.
*Businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue.
*Virtual Capital firms are reporting higher ROI with women founders
*Women-owned businesses employ over 9.4 million workers.
But We Still Have Work to Do:
* The average annual revenue for women-owned businesses is about $147K, but for Black women, that number is less than $30K. But for men, over $700K!
*Nationally, less than 2% of women-owned businesses reach $1M in annual revenue. While men cross that threshold a more than 3X that rate.
How Can We Be the Change We Want to See?
Be present and active in the communities where we live and work. Yes, we have a ton of responsibilities with family, school, boards … and yet we must still show up, fully present to tackle the next business challenge. You know what’s worse than not having a “seat at the table”? Having one and not being there to occupy it. BE THERE.
In many cultures (southern woman speaking from experience here!) women are taught to be polite…which means to be quiet. But we can’t make change if we are small and quiet! When you share your business achievements, you’ll not only propel your business, but you set the stage for women rising around you. We want and need to hear about your wins. Tell us!
There’s so much buzz and surface level stuff when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Don’t let it be a “check box” thing among us. This is where we must BE the change, hiring and promoting people from all religions, ethnicities, races, educational levels, neurological and sexual orientations. Because it’s the right thing to do AND because it will make our companies stronger, nimbler, and simply better. When we create ecosystems with real diversity, equity, and inclusion, we demonstrate the model works…making it the norm – the standard, not the exception.
First, wherever possible, buy from women for all products, goods and services. Review your vendors today. Are you leading by example in this way? And are you paying them on time? If they aren’t charging enough, are you telling them?
You don’t have to have millions to become an investor. For many startups, your angel investment of $5000, or $10,000 can make a huge difference. And don’t shy away from supporting the “main street businesses” – the hair salon, the coffee shop … or the trades … because these small businesses are vital to our communities and vital to creating the models for us to “see what we can be”. And if you have more money to invest, be deliberate about investing in women founders! YOU will have a better ROI … and set a new standard for what is possible.
BrainTrust is a peer-to-peer organization for women business owners. Still in its infancy, the BrainTrust process is yielding amazing results, with members reporting growth at 5 X the rate of non-members.