Tips for Women and Men Who Own Small Businesses
Because we need different advice, apparently.

There are women who own small businesses. There are men who own small businesses. There are even men and women who own small businesses together! All kinds of businesses are owned by all kinds of different people. Shocking, right?

As a business owner, do you think you need different advice depending on whether you are a man or a woman? Lots of places out there on the Internets sure seem to think so.

Take this for example, from a list of 10 Tips for Women in Business to Achieve Their Goals:

3. Create Goal-Achieving Plans

You need to create a step-by-step plan for each one of your business goals. The more specific and detailed you are in your planning, the better your chances for successfully achieving the goal. One method women can use involves listing five practical steps for achieving each of their goals.

Certainly this is not a bad point. I think goal setting is important, but I’m not sure why this article is directed just to women. What would happen if a man wrote a list of five practical steps for achieving each of his goals?

Or how about Forbes’ Top Five Tips for Women Small Business Owners, where I would argue that all five points could absolutely apply to a man owning a business as well. This point in particular irked me:

Remember, this is business. “The hardest thing for women has been the human capital side,” says Coyne. “Women business owners treat employees like family and are slow to make decisions around staffing.” She recalls one struggling female owner who desperately needed to cut workers but felt terrible to do it. After laboring over the decision for months, she finally decided to place several people on her 20-member staff on part-time schedules. They were thrilled to be given the opportunity they had wanted all along—a steady income and more time with their families. The moral: Talk to your staff, and make the decision that’s good for them but best for business.

Really? REALLY? The hardest thing for women is the human capital side?!? Why? Because we are so emotional and sensitive? Sure, sure.

Look, I’m fairly sensitive, but the most challenging part of owning a small business has been CAPITAL, not human capital. But capital, as in straight up dollar bills and having enough of them to pay ourselves twice a month.

Part of this third point is spot on, however. Talk to your staff. This is infinitely important — but is it not just as important for a man owning a business?

Based on my experience as a small business owner, I have created two lists. The first is a list of ten tips for women who own a small business, and the second is a list of ten tips for men who own a small business. Seriously, men and women are different and have very different needs/struggles when it comes to managing a business, right?

Ten Tips for Women Who Own a Small Business

1. Eat breakfast. If you don’t eat breakfast you’ll waste approximately 105% more of each morning wandering around aimlessly.

2. If you are stuck in a non-productive spiral, leave the office for a bit. Get out, clear your head, have some sangria, whatever — but wallowing in that spiral isn’t always the best solution.

3. You have to spend money to make money, but for the love of god be careful about what you are spending money on. Know where every penny is going and know what you are getting out of the things you are paying for.

4. If something feels wrong in your heart, then it’s probably wrong for your business. If you lay awake at night wondering if you should partner with a business you aren’t 100% sure about, or spend triple what you wanted to on rent, then guess what, you probably shouldn’t do those things.

5. Realize that people aren’t always going to take you seriously at first. It’s okay to have to prove yourself. In fact, it feels pretty damn good to surprise a non-believer with your success.

6. Spend time uncovering hidden talents within your team. Foster an open, honest, and collaborative environment to make sure the people you work with can be all that they can be.

7. Get your eyes tested once in awhile. You only get one pair, apparently, so you should probably look after those things.

8. Stay current. It’s easy to get caught up in piles of work and forget that the industry you’re working in has a heartbeat and can move at the speed of light some weeks. Don’t stop reading, don’t stop learning.

9. Celebrate the little things once in awhile. It can be tempting to wait until you’ve locked in your first million to fly your crew to Vegas or some other big win / big reward combo like that, but the more subtle milestones matter too. Kick Point had a bottle of Prosecco at the office the first time we could pay all of our partners on the same payday. We planned a first $100K dinner that unfortunately got postponed because we had $100K worth of work to do, but the thought was there.

10. Talk to your people. Your friends, your family, your teammates, etc. You’re putting a lot of things on your plate and the people who care about you deserve to know what you’re up to. Hell, they might even have some advice for you. Or, they might be more understanding when you’re late for a game, a birthday, or Christmas dinner.

Ten Tips for Men Who Own a Small Business

1. Eat breakfast. If you don’t eat breakfast you’ll waste approximately 105% more of each morning wandering around aimlessly.

2. If you are stuck in a non-productive spiral, leave the office for a bit. Get out, clear your head, have some sangria, whatever — but wallowing in that spiral isn’t always the best solution.

3. You have to spend money to make money, but for the love of god be careful about what you are spending money on. Know where every penny is going and know what you are getting out of the things you are paying for.

4. If something feels wrong in your heart, then it’s probably wrong for your business. If you lay awake at night wondering if you should partner with a business you aren’t 100% sure about, or spend triple what you wanted to on rent, then guess what, you probably shouldn’t do those things.

5. Realize that people aren’t always going to take you seriously at first. It’s okay to have to prove yourself. In fact, it feels pretty damn good to surprise a non-believer with your success.

6. Spend time uncovering hidden talents within your team. Foster an open, honest, and collaborative environment to make sure the people you work with can be all that they can be.

7. Get your eyes tested once in awhile. You only get one pair, apparently, so you should probably look after those things.

8. Stay current. It’s easy to get caught up in piles of work and forget that the industry you’re working in has a heartbeat and can move at the speed of light some weeks. Don’t stop reading, don’t stop learning.

9. Celebrate the little things once in awhile. It can be tempting to wait until you’ve locked in your first million to fly your crew to Vegas or some other big win / big reward combo like that, but the more subtle milestones matter too. Kick Point had a bottle of Prosecco at the office the first time we could pay all of our partners on the same payday. We planned a first $100K dinner that unfortunately got postponed because we had $100K worth of work to do, but the thought was there.

10. Talk to your people. Your friends, your family, your teammates, etc. You’re putting a lot of things on your plate and the people who care about you deserve to know what you’re up to. Hell, they might even have some advice for you. Or, they might be more understanding when you’re late for a game, a birthday, or Christmas dinner.

Good business advice is good business advice. Just like good pens are good pens.

Ellen on Bic for Her:

  • Laura

    *applause*

    I believe women do have more/different barriers to success than men do. BUT yeah those lists annoy the hell out of me, too.

    I should go get my eyes checked soon…

    Leave a reply

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *