In recent survey by specialist small business insurer Hiscox, the results found that 82% of female entrepreneurs questioned did not study business or management topics at school believing that their business talent was an innate skill, with a just under a fifth of female entrepreneurs questioned (18%) having not obtained higher qualifications after leaving school.
“Innate” attributes that women say are crucial for the makeup of an entrepreneur included creativity (75 %,) and being a good networker and communicator (65%) versus traits more traditionally associated with start-ups such as risk-taking (28%).
Suzanne Kemble, Head of Media & Entertainment at Hiscox, commented: “The recession led to a surge of enterprise and our research has found that female entrepreneurs continue to rise to the challenge drawing on their natural talents to help them to succeed in business. However we also encourage start-ups to draw on experiences from previous roles. The insight gleaned from on-the-job experience in someone else’s company can be invaluable in avoiding mistakes or identifying opportunities when at the helm of their own business.”
Sandra Patterson, Director at Kids Bee Happy, a Children’s Franchise business agrees with this. “During my working life I’ve worked in all sorts of environments, from PLCs through to village shops and fast-growing dotcoms, and for the last ten years doing all of this whilst working from home and juggling family life. And the one thing that my domestic life has taught me is the best way to manage my time and resources”
Many women who take time off to raise a family as think of themselves as having been “out of the workplace”, and assume that their working skills will be rusty, and that they will need retraining. In fact the opposite is truer. OK, so maybe you’re not quite up to speed on the latest version of the computer software, but the months, or years, spent managing a family can be one of the toughest challenges out there.
As Hiscox survey goes to show, the skills that women use to keep their household on the go are completely transferrable to business. At home and in life we call it multi-tasking, but in business this converts itself into the key business skill of efficiency.
Efficiency, Effectiveness and Economy are the goals that every business strives for. And these are the skills that women are so good at, put simply; getting as much done, as best as possible, in the least amount of time, and achieving the best value for money. All day long women are using these skills are most don’t even realise it. Transferable skills is one of those terrible phrases that recruiters and journalists use, but it summarises perfectly what women do best.
So next time you find yourself saying “I’m taking time out to have a family” don’t think of it as taking time out, think of it as fine tuning your business skills, and becoming versatile person who achieves maximum results with minimum resources – now doesn’t that sound like the key ingredients for a successful entrepreneur?
About the Author – Sandra Patterson is a UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassador and has run several businesses online and offline. Sandra is a Director of the Children’s Sand Art franchise Kids Bee Happy which receives enquiries daily from women looking to start their own businesses. http://www.Kids Bee Happy.co.uk
Survey by Hiscox – Insurance for small businesses – www.hiscox.co.uk