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Businesswomen are finding small business a very satisfying place to get their working adrenalin rush, with one-third of small business owners coming from the fairer sex.

You can understand how big an influence women are on our economy when you realise there are 1.88 million small businesses, officially, and that’s 95 per cent of all businesses.

Sydney-based Emma Brown started a business called Business Chicks, which is a philanthropic networking organisation for businesswomen. And before that, for eight years, Brown was managing director of Staff It, which won Australia’s Favourite Recruiter for three consecutive years and took out the 2005 Small Business of the Year in the Westpac Business Awards. She describes herself as a ‘serial entrepreneur’.

Another 24/7 entrepreneur of a female kind is Naomi Simson of Red Balloon Days, who started a home-based business selling wonderful experiences for loved ones, workmates and staff online and it has ballooned into a red hot raging success with over 40 employees.

These are two very visible women business leaders who work on their business and brand just as Richard Branson does or how Ian Thorpe worked on his swimming technique before he embarked on a career in the media.

And while their business methods can be very different and unique, even womanly – as a wonderful book produced by the federal government called Women Entrepreneurs: 18 Inspiring Tales of Small Business Success written by business entrepreneur, Maureen Jordan, shows – there is a characteristic we males have to be wary of in these business rivals.

So, what is it? I have no proof apart from over 20 years of observing, writing about, analysing and interviewing hundreds of wildly successful businesswomen, but they seem on average much more focused than their male counterparts.

As the figures show only one-third of small business owners are women, which means two-thirds are men, but of those women who muster up the gumption to have a go in business, most of them really give it their 100 per cent focus.

In contrast, I reckon there are hundreds of thousands of tradesmen and contractors who are half-hearted and distracted from really making a big success in business. So many tradies, who are self-employed, talk about ‘working for wages’, love the smoko and treat their customers like dirt. Dare I say, they treat them like employers. They’re distracted by football, gambling and getting to the pub after knocking off at 3pm each day.

On the other hand, these winning women work late hours when the kids are asleep, over the weekends are like sponges turning up to seminars and buying publications to make them better at their craft.

Women in business are a force to be reckoned with and will, over time, show themselves as business greats in the same vein as Gerry Harvey and Dick Smith.

Already we have Janine Allis of Boost, Janette Holmes a Court and Joyce Mayne, who have become household names in business and there will be more to come. But there are also some behind-the-scenes women in business who have been power houses behind their family businesses, who also should be recognised, respected and copied by many future generations of women.

Cathy Harris is a big player in Harris Farm Markets with her husband David, and Katie Page has been big force in the Gerry Harvey success story.

I have always loved that old saying: ‘Behind every man is a very surprised woman.’ However, I don’t always believe it applies.

Great women often give up opportunities for family and have influenced the success of their partners by contributing to ensure that their strengths offset weaknesses in their partners.

The future, because of a changing world, will help more independent women come to the fore on their own, but their will always be a place for ‘team’ entrepreneurs.

Work on your business, not in it. To learn how, book a complimentary business assessment today with a Switzer Business Coach.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Monday, February 01, 2010

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