The Australian Business Women’s Network conducted some research recently to gather some insights into ‘why did you start your business?’ According to Suzy Dafnis who heads the group:
“What I have noticed is that many women leave the corporate world, working for someone else, and start their own business for similar reasons. These reasons include:
- Freedom to choose work hours and work location
- Working around raising children
- Being your own boss
- Setting your own salary
- Utilising your creativity to create something new
- And of course – financial freedom
Recently I was challenged by a male entrepreneur (it was just after our listing in BRW Fast 100; only three women made the list – we were one) he said “Let’s face it women don’t set out to create an organization – they tend to work in ‘cottage’ businesses to give them more lifestyle choices – Women don’t start real businesses!”
Needless to say, that created some lively discussion with me. But looking at the results of this survey he does, in fact, appear to have a point – and is there anything wrong with that.
What would men’s reasons for starting their businesses be, perhaps:
- Making a fortune,
- Being an industry luminary’
- Creating an institution,
- Creating a legacy for family heirs
- Bossing other people around…
As a speaker, I get to meet very many and various groups of people – many of which are women’s groups. I consistently am asked ‘how do I create a bigger business’. Many have designed their businesses to suit their lifestyles – or are turning a hobby into a business. Simply they were never meant to be scaled.
We have some amazing female entrepreneurs in Australia (many I have had the privilege to get to know) Suzy Dafnis being one, Diana Willams of Fernwood, Janine Allis of Boost Juice, Kristina Karlsson of Kikki K. But as I did a straw poll around the office spontaneously they struggled to name much more… though there are many – as evidenced by the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
So I pose the question – does the size of the game matter? If we play a small game – and deliver upon it, fantastic. But what if we dared to create a big game – a massive game and it drove us relentlessly, what difference could we make. We can influence our communities – the next generation of young women will have more role models?
I’m driven to change the gifting experience in Australia forever… and I will know I have achieved this if by 2015 2 million people have had a RedBalloon experience. To deliver on this I must have a significant organisation to achieve, it people who all share the purpose.
I encourage you to dare to dream big – and then to relentlessly, with a never ever give up attitude – implement.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on this one.