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
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.