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Characteristics of Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs

Content provided by the Women Presidents' Organization


 Characteristics of Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs

In 2007, the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) celebrated ten years of helping women presidents of multimillion dollar companies achieve even greater success.   Over the course of those ten years, I've learned a lot about fast-growth businesses and have had first-hand exposure to their leaders. Throughout 2008, this WPO Sunday column will highlight the characteristics and trends of accomplished women entrepreneurs, through both expert perspective and best practices articles from our members.The growth of women's entrepreneurship in the last few decades has been extraordinary. According to the Small Business Administration, women-owned businesses accounted for a mere 4.5% of all businesses in 1977. In 2008, more than 40% of all businesses are 51% women-owned. However, only 3% of these companies gross more than a million in annual revenue. 

The Center for Women's Business Research studied this elite group (those businesses grossing over a million in annual revenue) and determined some key characteristics that were common in all of the companies.  These characteristics are as follows:

  • Investment in professional advisors
  • Application of sophisticated management practices
  • Utilization of current technology
  • Diversification of funding sources
  • Certification as a woman-owned business

Investment in professional advisors

Leading edge companies are willing to invest their resources in unbiased professional advisors both when they are launching their companies and continuously throughout their growth.  These advisors prove worthwhile in their diligence when developing human resource protocol, financial reporting systems and bylaw details. 

Application of sophisticated management practices

It is important in a growing business to have clearly outlined and updated divisions of labor as well as human resource materials.  As the company grows and changes, the more clear the policies are internally, the easier they will be to adapt to new challenges and needs.

Utilization of current technology

 Technology today changes and adapts at an astonishing rate. Those who are able to keep up with these changes will be able to benefit their company and utilize new marketing techniques.  It is evident within the WPO in that nearly all of our members have websites, many invest in e-commerce and all of them are involved and aware of advancements of media technology.

Diversification of funding sources

Similarly to the importance of using professional advisors throughout the course of your business development as well as during its launch, it is important to use a variety of funding sources to support your business growth.  These sources can be diversified through the three "F's" - friends, family and personal fortune, as well as credit card investment and angel investors.

Certification as a woman-owned business

Accomplished women entrepreneurs frequently do business with their local and national government entities and invest the time in certification as a woman-owned business, such as that from the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).  In fact, leading edge companies are 2.5% more likely to be certified as a woman-owned business than those that are not. A common theme in all of the aforementioned characteristics is that these women take a proactive approach to learning, investing and adapting as they face new challenges and opportunities.  They are more likely to be involved in their industry trade and professional organizations, such as the WPO. And use their involvement both as an educational tool as well as an arena to promote their companies and investigate new resources. 

Read next month to learn about the importance of investing in professional advisors from a multimillion dollar woman entrepreneur and WPO member. 


Content copyrighted by the Women Presidents' Organization


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