User post: 10 things women can learn from men in business

by Karin Manske

While coaching male and female entrepreneurs over the past 15 years, one question has kept bugging me. How come women entrepreneurs, while having a higher rate at succeeding in business, earn 50% less than their male counterparts?

Is it that women are less effective or productive? Certainly not. The answer is actually quite simple. Men are making more money in business because that's what they are going into business for in the first place.

According to recent studies, men and women have different priorities when starting a business. While most men are motivated by the prospect of making money (A 2001 survey of business owners with MBAs conducted by the Rochester Institute of Technology found that money was the primary motivator for only 29% of women, versus 76% of men), women seem to be interested in more flexibility, a better work-life balance, fulfillment and the freedom to stay home with their kids.

In short, men and women go into business for different reasons.

This does not mean that women cannot improve their money making powers -- and stay true to our priorities. I have found that in business women can learn greatly from men by adapting some of 'the men's rules' in ways that fit our skills and emphasize our talents. Some of those ways include speaking clearly, "learning how to toot your own horn" and expecting great results.

Below I have listed 10 more things we can pick up from men in business. Take a look:

  1. Apply strategy. Did you ever notice that men think very linear? A lot of a man's thinking is focused on finding solutions to problems, setting and reaching goals, developing plans and executing tasks. In business this is essential. If you learn to apply strategy, set clear goals and make sure you follow through on your plan, you will get where you want to go!
  2. Just do it! One of the big advantages men have in business is that they love risk taking. It's all right to be cautious when it comes to your business but nothing will happen until you take action. One of my clients came to me because she had been looking for a job for months and had not been able to find one. When I asked her what she had done so far I was surprised to find out that she had been studying the newspaper ads and refining her resume. She had never actually replied to an ad or picked up the phone to make an appointment. Once she took a step forward and called on an employer, she found a job within a day!
  3. Stay focused. Not only do women multi-task, we also multi-think and one of our big weaknesses is that because of our nimble mind we get distracted EVERY step of the way. Don't get me wrong, distractions are normal. They happen to all of us all the time. The important thing is to stay focused on your goal in spite of the distractions all around you. This is where having a strategy comes in handy. Stick with your plan!
  4. Keep your word. Keeping your word is essential in business. If you don't do what you say you are going to do people can't trust you and will not do business with you. This is important! If you change your plan every few days and go back on your word, you'll lose clients, partners and money.
  5. Making money is OK! Time and again I have observed that for many women asking for money is an issue. Ladies, I am here to tell you that asking for money is an integral part of business and if you don't ask for it, you won't get it. Most importantly, not asking for money gives the impression that you are not serious about doing business. By the way, trading services is NOT asking for money.
  6. Expect big outcomes. All the studies I have read agree on one major reason why men make more money in business than women: Men expect big results! Challenge yourself to think beyond your comfort zone. Most people don't reach their goals because they are setting them too small. Set big goals and expect big outcomes!
  7. NEVER act nice! Acting nice kills business. Period. This is not to say that you don't treat people in a friendly way. On the contrary. What it does mean, however, is that you do not do business with people that treat you badly, that you don't over deliver your services, that you never ever worry about upsetting someone (you may and probably will), and, that you don't let people walk all over you for fear of not being liked. Business is straightforward and you might as well tell it like it is.
  8. Ignore your moods! If you learn one thing from this article, I hope it is this: Leave your mood(s) at home! I have seen women cancel appointments, ignore important dinner parties, or show up late for meetings just because they did not feel like it, did not have the right dress to wear, or simply had a temper. Save your mood for another time. I assure you, it will change your life! If you tend to be very moody, look into your life and find out what is missing. Maybe you are not in the right business, or maybe you are not taking enough breaks and your body is telling you to take it easy. Whatever it is, make sure to take care of yourself so you can carry on with the business at hand!
  9. When the going gets tough, keep going! There will be times when you want to throw in the towel, and there will be days when you think you can't do it any more. That's all right. Take breaks when you need to, take a day off, but don't quit. Endurance is key in business. A midwife told me once that in labor almost every woman will want to quit just moments before the baby is born. I have remembered this ever since in my life and in my business. You want to quit? Maybe you are just moments away from succeeding!
  10. It's just a game. Men love games. Throw them a ball and they'll play. Business is no different. It is a game and it has rules. I encourage you to learn the rules and to always keep in mind, it's just a game and on some days you will win, on others you may lose. One thing is certain, life will keep moving on, no matter what the outcome is.

I hope you enjoyed my list and found a few things to add to your set of tools. Learning from men does not mean you have to become like men. It is essential to your success that you adapt the rules in business to our own needs and abilities. Take your time, take the breaks you need and most of all, take care of yourself.

Here are a few studies on the topic:

SBA Study Finds Men And Women Entrepreneurs Have Different Motivations

Are Women Earning More Than Men?

Are Male and Female Entrepreneurs Really That Different?