Women in Business

By David Malherbe   –   Published in Drakenstein Gazette – Friday 23 August 2013

It feels somewhat strange for me to write about women in business, seeing that I am not a woman. One thing though is that the influence of women in the economy is much bigger than most people can even imagine, and it is growing.

To ignore it is to miss out big time. In the USA it is estimated that 20% of working women earn more than their husbands.  80 – 90% of household goods and up to 65% of vehicles are purchased by women or are directly influenced by them. I suppose the situation in South Africa may not be much different.

But if women play such an important role on the purchasing side, shouldn’t it be advisable to have more women on the selling team as well? Although men and women differ in many ways I would like with the limited space available to look at just one example of how men and women approach business differently, and why we cannot close our eyes to the value that women add to business.

Women are more people oriented. A man simply wants the transaction to take place, while a woman is interested in creating a relationship. Let us look at a real life situation in an organization from the book Re-Imagine by Tom Peters.

A senior executive of a very successful travel-services company in USA explains as follow: “I believe there is a ‘secret’ to my success, namely, hiring women. My guys only wanted to call on ‘Mr Big.’ But the women I worked with were willing to invest extraordinary amounts of time in ‘wiring the organization’. They would routinely develop relationships several layers ‘down’ the organizational chart.  By the time they were ready to call on the top executive, the deal was essentially already closed. It was eerie, really. Women ‘did it.’ Guys couldn’t do it, to save themselves. I never really looked into the root causes of all this, but I sure as hell made a ton of money out of it.”

I believe it is essential that we recognize the very important role that women play in business and the economy.

David Malherbe and Dewald Scholtz will discuss this topic in more detail Monday evening from 19:00 till 20:00 on Radio KC 107.7 FM in the program “You the Entrepreneur”

(David Malherbe is a business- and career consultant and lives in Wellington.  He can be contacted via his web page www.jedidiah.org.za or T/F 021-873 0262 or on Facebook at “Jy die Entrepreneur.”)

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