Why Women CEOs Are So Different And So Successful

What’s my message to women entrepreneurs? You’ve come a long way, baby, but don’t stop now because (male-oriented) corporate America is beginning to notice.

As proof, just look at the numbers:

  • Women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S.
  • In the last nine years, 2007 to 2016, there has been a 45% rise in women entrepreneurs (compared with a 9% increase in all entrepreneurs)
  • More than 11 million businesses in the U.S. are woman-owned, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue

Clearly, women are not just diving into business, they’re doing it very successfully, as I discuss in my recent article for American Marketing Association. (Read it here.)

So how do successful women entrepreneurs do it? What’s their secret sauce?

When women get the chance to build companies, they build them differently than their male counterparts. Women tend to intentionally create cultures that encourage collaboration, team-building and innovative thinking, without taking their eyes off bottom line results.

Also, when women scale a business, they focus on long-term sustainability, not just rapid growth. This focus informs marketing strategies and corporate priorities, and is an oft-repeated refrain we are hearing at SAMC in our interviews with women CEOs. 

5 important themes crucial to women-owned success strategies 

As I write in my AMA article, when it comes to company culture in women-owned businesses, priority is placed on empowering employees to find innovative solutions that best meet client needs. In addition, the following 5 principles have emerged as common themes in our research on women business leaders: 

1. Company culture is not an afterthought.  
2. Gender balance in the workplace is essential.  
3. Practice “outside-in” thinking by interviewing clients and customers for their viewpoints. 
4. Blending work-life, not balancing it. 
5. Building talent requires mentoring and investment in lifelong learning.  

What sets women-owned businesses apart? Dramatic new ways to connect with customers.

Instead of selling something in the hopes that someone needs it, women entrepreneurs go out and learn where the unmet needs are. Then they figure out how to satisfy those needs. This “thinking backwards,” from the outside in, enables them to stay in sync with their market while evolving with it. 

CMOs of all genders, take note.

To read more about women entrepreneurs who have built successful companies, check out these 3 blogs 

  1. 3 Ways A Female CEO Built A Successful Business With A Culture of Collaboration
  2. Successful Entrepreneur Sees “Holes in the Cheese” and Builds Great Companies to Fill Them
  3. It’s Time to Change the Workplace So Women and Businesses Can Thrive

Want your company to soar? Give us a call.

At Simon Associates Management Consultants, we specialize in helping businesses that need or want to change. Please contact us to discuss how we might help your organization successfully adapt to today’s massive changes so you not only survive but thrive.

From Observation to Innovation,


Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants

Check out my latest Huffington Post article