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如何令女性“热爱”赚钱

Susan Sobbott 2011年04月25日


    最近大家都在讨论女性与金钱的关系。上周,我发表了一篇题为《女孩害怕金钱吗?》的文章,激起了大家对这个问题的广泛探讨。美国运通公司OPEN卡部门(American Express OPEN)总裁苏珊•萨博特也通过邮件向我表达了她的一些看法。她的观点颇有洞见,于是我请问她,我能否将该邮件作为客座文章发布。

    萨博特认识很多企业家。美国运通OPEN是运通公司旗下一个服务于小型企业的部门,自1990年起,她连续七年主管OPEN卡部门。两年前,运通OPEN卡携手《财富》杂志(Fortune)创办了“最具影响力的女企业家排行榜”( Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs),该排行榜每年会筛选出美国最具创新精神的女企业家,并召开《财富》“最具影响力女性峰会”( Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit)。在峰会上,她们有机会同来自世界各地的最知名的女企业家和热衷于企业家精神的荣誉男嘉宾沃伦•巴菲特进行思想上的交流。——Patricia Sellers

    当我们同女企业家谈及她们的事业时,她们通常会从创业的灵感、个人的使命、与客户之间的关系以及作为企业家的心路历程等这些话题谈起。

    经过刚开始的几个试探性的问题之后,她们才会切入正题,比如她们的商业模式是什么,以及她们是如何赚钱的。

    而男性企业家在这个时候可能会在思维顺序上与她们有一些不同之处。

    那么这意味着什么?当然,并非所有的女企业家都是这样。只不过相比于男性,女企业家比较“忌讳数字”,她们会说,“我是一个对数字不大关注的人……”

    然而在通常的情况下,事实并非如此。

    这种“恐惧”是一种心理障碍。同女性讨论关于金钱的问题会使她们感到不太自然,她们认为这是应该独立去应对的事情。

    公司的规模对她们而言似乎也不那么重要。但是这对男性企业家来说(请原谅这里提及的刻板印象)却至关重要。

    女性企业家奋斗的动力源于她们对事业的使命感。而对于男性企业家而言,奋斗的动力则是利润的多少。

    这一点是我最近与一对经营零售业的夫妇在交谈中发现的。丈夫与我聊了一些关于库存周转方面的细节,而妻子则与我谈论了她是如何专门针对客户的特殊需要进货的。

    她更注重维护客户关系;而他更注重货品的周转。

    男性企业家通常会有一个坚定且需要迅速达成的目标。他们的目的是想要赚到X美元的利润或是达到Y程度。目标驱使他们制定计划并一步一步的达成。

    而女性企业家则倾向于制定一个大体上的发展目标。然后她们会集中考虑具体的计划:客户的数量是多少?选择什么样的供应商、获得多少利润与现金流才能达成目标?

    最终的结果是:女性创业的比例是全美平均比例的1.5倍。而且,从某种程度上来说,女性使得我们的小型企业得以成长。也就是说,女性企业家的公司要比男性企业家的公司成长更为迅速,但是她们的员工数量一般不到100人,企业估值也大多在100万美元以内。

    在所有的女性企业家的公司中,遗憾的是只有3%的公司收益达到或超过100万美元。而男性企业家的公司中,这个数字却达到了6%。

    而那些公司规模较大、运营较为成功的女企业家们最好能做些什么呢?她们可以与其他的女性分享经验,让她们认识到数字的重要性,让她们知道运营公司的一个至高目标则是赚钱盈利。

    那么,打破女性对于金钱的心理恐惧的最好方式是什么呢?应该让她们从小就知道,不应该刻意回避数字——尤其是不要回避赚钱这件事。

    The debate rages on about women and money. After I published "Are women afraid of money?"--which stirred up this week's far-flung opinionated commentary--Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN, emailed me her thoughts. Her note was so insightful that I asked her if I could run it as a Guest Post.

    Sobbott knows entrepreneurs. At American Express (AXP) since 1990, she has headed OPEN, the company's small-business card unit for seven years. Two years ago, OPEN partnered with Fortune to create Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, a program that each year selects 10 of the most innovative female entrepreneurs in the U.S. and brings them to the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. There, they share ideas with the world's foremost women leaders and our honorary male participant who believes passionately in entrepreneurship: Warren Buffett (BRKA). - Patricia Sellers

    When you speak to women about their businesses, they start with their inspiration, their mission, their client relationships, their personal journey as entrepreneurs.

    After a few probing questions, typically, they get to the business model and how they make money.

    Male business owners have the order a bit different.

    So how does this translate? This isn't true for all women, but more women than men are "intimidated by the numbers," they say. "I'm just not a numbers person..."

    Usually, that is so far from the truth.

    The intimidation is a psychological barrier. Asking for financing comes less naturally for a woman. She feels that she should do it on her own.

    Size of business also matters less. And size (pardon the stereotyping here) absolutely matters most to men.

    The mission of the business is what drives women who start them. The size of the profit drives their male counterparts.

    I noticed this recently as I was speaking to a married couple who own a retail business. The husband shares details about inventory turns while his wife talks about the specialty merchandise she carries for the unique needs of her customers.

    She's focused on the relationships; he's focused on moving the goods.

    Men also tend to have a hard and fast goal in mind. They want to get to $X in revenues or Y locations. The goal allows them to plan their way to it.

    Women entrepreneurs tend to operate with a more general goal to grow their business. Their thinking then goes to the plan: How many customers?...What suppliers, margins, cash flow will get them there?

    The upshot of all this: Women start businesses at 1.5 times the national rate. And women are driving the growth of our smaller business--to a point. That is, women-owned firms have higher growth rates than male-owned firms, but only up to the 100-employee and $1 million mark.

    Unfortunately, only 3% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more. This compares to 6% of all male-owned firms.

    What's the best thing that women who have large and successful businesses can do? Show other women that knowing the numbers is critical and that making money is a noble outcome of owning a business.

    And the best way to break woman's psychological barriers about money? Teach girls at a young age that they shouldn't shy away from the numbers--and especially from the money.

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