The recession-driven entrepreneurism boom has resulted in women launching their own businesses at twice the rate of men, making this demographic an economic force to be reckoned with. Women are also the most dominant consumers influencing fully 85% of all household purchasing decisions, including half of products that would seem more oriented to men, such as automobiles, home improvement items, and consumer electronics. The impact of women in the marketplace must not be underestimated given the Bureau of the Census states that women currently outnumber men in the United States by six million.
With such incredible spending power in their hands, there are numerous ways women can help turn the economy around. Here are 5 key roles women will play:
1. Entrepreneur: Charles D. Vollmer, the founder of Jobenomics, noted the potential women have as entrepreneurs to help the economy: “This is the decade of women-owned businesses. They have greater financial needs and incentives. There are more qualified women with some even serving as heads of households. These women have more opportunities, are highly educated, and have fewer cultural barriers.” From women creating businesses through crafts and their artistry, using sites like Etsy and Pinterest, to generate interest and build a following to women starting up all types of businesses, including high-tech companies, consumer goods, and children’s wares, the female entrepreneur is generating innovative ideas and creating companies that are putting people to work and stimulating the economy through revenues.
2. Talent Value: Statistics show nearly eight million jobs have been lost by men and, for the first time in this nation’s history, women now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs. In 2006, a database was created that measured the economic and political power of women in 162 countries. The conclusion was the greater the power of women, the greater the country’s economic success. Women’s talent in the workplace is beginning to be accepted by more companies that are looking for specific first-hand knowledge about today’s top consumer – women – and are recognizing the value of specific feminine traits that bode well in the corporate culture, including a nurturing attitude, open and ongoing communication, and a collaborative spirit, which are driving motivation and higher productivity.
3. Advisor: Women are also now being targeted by boards to join and offer their insights about how women think and make decisions about purchases. Those that have added women as board members are also realizing greater financial success. Catalyst’s 2010 statistics conclude that companies with a significant percentage of women on their boards performed better than those with no women on their boards—by 84% return on sales, 60% return on invested capital, and 46% return on equity. As Monique Nadeau, President and CEO of the Hope Street Group explained, “[B]ecause women overwhelmingly hold the consumer purchasing power in our country, whether we're talking about individuals or households, their understanding of the market allows them to start businesses with a high degree of insight about both their potential customers and competitors.”
4. Consumer: Women are the most influential consumers. Contributing to the total $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in America, women influence 85% of all purchasing decisions, including half of products that would seem more oriented to men, such as automobiles, home improvement items, and consumer electronics. The impact that women have on our nation’s market alone is substantial. For products related to home life, it’s been reported that moms represent a $2.4 trillion market. With so much buying power, it makes sense to target them and listen to what they want for themselves and their families.
5. Mentor: Serving as mentors to younger women and offering guidance to help them on the road to success at an early age is breeding new generations of women who will sustain the economy once it recovers. Whether it is offering internships at their companies, speaking to young people in school and university settings, establishing scholarships to help female students or encouraging female employees to bring their daughters to work for a day, women can mentor those women who will lead the economic success in future decades and encourage a powerful proactive mindset in generations to come.
With such a large impact, women are an undeniable factor in the U.S. economy. It’s been said in comic book lore that “with great power comes great responsibility,” but no truer statement has ever been spoken on the topic. It’s vital for today’s women at work and at home to be prepared, educated, equipped and empowered for the task at hand.
Visionary and lauded business accelerator Michelle Patterson is CEO of EventComplete—a full service event management company. She also serves as Executive Director of the largest women’s symposium in North America: the California Women’s Conference (www.californiawomensconference.com) that has featured esteemed First Ladies, A-list Hollywood celebrities, and high caliber business influencers. Michelle may be reached online at www.eventcomplete.com.
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