Four reasons why women make great business owners, according to Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary

It is not every day that Kevin O’Leary comes to Buffalo. But when he did, it was on his birthday, and to share reasons why “girls rule and boys drool” when it comes to his top-performing companies.

The Canadian businessman, author, and television personality, best known for his role on NBC’s “Shark Tank” shared best practices with Buffalo’s entrepreneur community at the Facebook Community Boost event, July 9-11 at The SUNY Erie City Campus.

Entrepreneurship among women is alive and well in Western New York. In 2016, Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls ranked 35th among the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas for female entrepreneurship and fifth for business climate for women, according to the personal finance website’s “Best and Worst Places for Women-Owned Businesses.”

Apparently, the Ignite Buffalo judges agreed with O’Leary’s insights and the local trends--22 of the 27 winners were women-owned companies.

O’Leary knows the numbers; he has 34 portfolio companies, and he says that his female-founded companies outperform male-founded companies.

"Now, this isn't some kind of academic research, this is real data. This is real money coming back to me," said O’Leary.

He shared four principles found in 100 percent of his top-performing companies, based on return on revenue.

1. Women have better time-management skills.

"If you want something done, give it to a busy mother. That's an old adage and it's true in business," O'Leary said.

2. Women leaders set achievable goals for their companies.

And that's key for creating a successful work environment. In O’Leary’s portfolios, women hit their objectives in sales 95 percent of the time, he said, while men achieve only 65 percent.

3. Women leaders have less employee turnover.

This is a direct result of realistic goal setting, and it has a positive impact on revenue forecasting, stabilizes cash flow, and improves company culture and employee retention. By creating an environment where there is a series of wins, you motivate staff, which fosters momentum.

4. Women listen better.

Women listen, take advice, ask for feedback, and pivot to enhance customer service. They are inherently more empathetic, with a higher level of emotional intelligence, focusing more on others and how they feel. This translates into a more personal employee and customer experience, which is crucial, because to succeed, leaders need to listen to everyone: customers, employees, and shareholders alike.

There are numerus organizations that help women (and men) entrepreneurs in Western New York; see our resource guide for a list.

Read more articles by Michael Spence.

Michael Spence is a speaker, trainer, and business consultant focused on people, performance, and profits. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology by leading a young telecom sales organization to 400% growth and being listed on the Inc 500; everything else he picks up from interviews with business leaders and influencers. Sharing his lessons, Mike trains organizations on managing a multigenerational workforce, soft skills, and sales enablement.
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