I’m as concerned as the next person about the failure of women-led businesses to thrive. As the Kauffman Foundation has found, women-owned businesses are an untapped economic resource. So it’s a pleasure to find a book that does two things: helps women entrepreneurs and points out that women don’t need to become more manly in order to succeed.
In fact, The SmartGirls Way: Strengths, Success, and Significance—A Path For Women Entrepreneurs, a book by Jean Brittingham and Tracey Ann Collins focuses on six feminine strengths that women can leverage for business success.
The author’s goal is to help “entrepreneurs and business leaders understand and leverage the core intelligence that is women’s wisdom.”’
Nice goal! And they reach it.
Women start businesses but are not growing them, which is where SmartGirls Way comes in. It is a pragmatic guide for women with Big Ideas on how to implement those ideas. Those nasty stereotypes — that women don’t take risk, aren’t confident, can’t manage work and family, and don’t have the commitment needed to take a business to new heights — are knocked flat by the book’s examples of daring women who took leaps of faith, great risks, and succeeded while sticking to their values.
“Women think differently than men. It’s well documented and…we just know it. We discuss it, joke about it, and worry about it more than we really should. But very seldom to we celebrate and embrace our differences in thinking in the business world,” Brittingham says on her website.
Brittingham and Collins conducted research among many women entrepreneurs and identified six key feminine attributes that can bring business success: integrity, intuition, creativity, passion, curiosity, and weaving (networking, connecting and juggling multiple ideas at once).
With the exception of “passion,” these attributes are quite unlike the usual litany of entrepreneurial characteristics but, as you read how they affect business development, you realize that success can be reached by different roads.
I particularly like the inclusion of the word “integrity” and the emphasis in the book is on sticking to core values. Businesses with principles can make the world better. Empowerment of women goes hand-in-hand with social responsibility.
The book is not a rant against men or their attributes. It is simply a celebration of the differences between men and women, with a focus on the value of feminine traits in building a business.
Women’s wisdom, social good, women’s wisdom, and entrepreneurship: good stuff.
An online diagnostic tool is available with the book to help women understand how they think, and where and when to apply feminine attributes to their best advantage.
I was so taken with the concept that I invited Brittingham to present a free webinar on Ventureneer, The Power of Women Entrepreneurs, which she will present on Monday, April 2, 2012, 2-3pm ET.
If you’d like more insights into the SmartGirls Way as well as a chance to interact with co-author Jean Brittingham, sign up for the free Ventureneer webinar.