Five Keys to Advising Female Entrepreneurs

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My practice gives me the amazing opportunity to work closely with successful female investors. I get paid to absorb business and financial wisdom from some of the savviest and most inspiring leaders: women who know what it means to swim against the currents of the marketplace. Take a close look at your client list and you’ll find many of these same remarkable women, who have stared down continuing inequities in pay, leadership opportunities and access to capital – and overcome the challenges to emerge stronger, smarter and more focused.

But even with all the advances in recent years, both legislatively and socially, competing on the business playing field is still statistically harder for women. The most recent survey by consulting firm Korn Ferry indicates that while there have been small gains in the number of women occupying the corporate C-suite, only 25% of those positions are held by women. Men still dominate the ranks of CEOs. The skewed numbers start early, too, since women are 18% less likely than men to receive that first promotion to management.

Maybe this is why more women are turning away from the corporate world and starting their own businesses. Running their own enterprises allows them to make the decisions they’re capable of and qualified to make, with no limits placed on them by stereotyped role expectations or constraints on upward mobility.

As their financial advisor, you have a responsibility to these pioneering women. Your planning and advising needs to encompass not only fiduciary care for their portfolios, but an understanding of the unique challenges they face as they forge their own careers.

Here are five financial and business realities that have figured in a majority of the counsel I’ve offered my female entrepreneur clients as they launch and refine their businesses.

  1. They are in business to make money

Women are often socialized to prioritize passion over pay. But your entrepreneur clients must understand that getting paid well is what empowers them to enact their passion. Don’t let them fall for the implicit social message that an ambition to earn a lot of money makes them “less than.” Never let them forget that they started their business with the intention of being successful; they shouldn’t settle for less.