Women vs. Men Business Owners

August 20, 2009 · 12 comments

in Growth Management

Q: How are women business owners and execs different from their male counterparts? What do they do right? What mistakes do they make? Lee B.

A: Two observations from my many years of working with men and women small business owners:

1. The similarities are much greater than the differences. Some of the claimed differences I hear about aren’t true in my experience.

2. But here’s one difference: In general, women owners are more intent on preserving their balance between work and the rest of life. A while back, I surveyed a number of our Business Group members during meetings. I asked, “How many hours a week do you work?” The men complained/bragged about the number of hours they put in: 50, 65, 80, more! One guy said, “I have to wear a nametag so my kids will recognize me.”

Then it was the women’s turn: “I work 35 hours, then I go ride my horse.” “I’ve set it up so I never work Fridays.” “I want to be an absentee owner. If my GM can’t handle things, he’s fired.” “I want to spend as much time running my non-profit as I do my business.”

The women ran equally large and profitable companies — ranging from 5 to 50 employees. And they weren’t brilliant managers. It’s just that they insisted on maintaining their work/life boundary and ran their business to maintain it. The men looked at working long hours as a badge of honor.

I must say, this exercise had a huge impact on the men. They started changing their attitudes about this. And it has paid off: the guy who made the “nametag” comment is now finishing a four-month sabbatical from his business, during which his Operations Manager handled things just fine.


1. The difference in hours worked was entirely due to the attitudes and beliefs one held.

2. People could change when confronted with the possibility of doing things differently.


Want to reduce the hours you work without hurting your business performance? I get into this more in two of my e-books:

— Recapture Your Time

— The Inner Game of Growth

Leave a Comment

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Dwyer October 7, 2009 at 10:05 am

Very interesting post! Once again your simple question to the Business Group members sparked a conversation that had a positive impact on those present. It sounds like the man who made the “nametag” comment needed a break. And based on your other blog post, “Do I Have to Work All the Time,” his business will benefit as well.


mvh October 7, 2009 at 11:35 am

Thanks, Andrea
And as I pointed out, he has taken a six-month hiatus from his business, successfully leaving it in the hands of his #2, by applying the things we talk about.

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osoby współpracujące August 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm

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mvh August 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Wordpress is free to use. Find somebody with a bit of experience to help you get started, then you can continue on your own.

VAT-7 August 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I am looking for creative writing training(novel writing), cause you can only teach yourself so much until you need outside help!. . Has anyone had any positive experience with such a service that they would recommend?.


mvh August 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Where are you located? Find a local writers’ group that is led by an experienced writer. The only way to learn to write is to write, get feedback, then rewrite. Suppose an experienced novelist led a weekly group of 5 or 6 aspiring writers. Each of you states your own assignment, and your commitment to write for the next meeting. Then at that meeting, you each read your piece and get feedback. The leader gives tips on plot, characters, language, etc. and you try to apply them. Finish up with commitments for the next meeting. You start out with really lousy writing, but it doesn’t matter. You just keep writing, and gradually you get better. Once you get to a certain level of skill, you submit a short story to a local publication. Or an online journal. Or put it up on Amazon as a Kindle ebook. Give it away or sell it for 99¢.

I belonged to a group like this years ago, and two books were published from our mutual support, including my book “How to Grow Your Business without Driving Yourself Crazy.”

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mvh August 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

Very interesting information. Thank you. I’ll follow up.

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