(MS) - They say that men and women are quite different in many aspects, hence the "Mars and Venus" jokes. This may also be the case with the way men and women run businesses and the rate of entrepreneurial growth.
Over the last 12 years, the Entrepreneurial Research Consortium has discovered that women-owned businesses have doubled in numbers. In the 36- to 45-year-old age group, more women than men have started businesses. What's also proven true is that women run businesses differently from men.
While research into the comparisons between women- and men-owned businesses is still premature, certain trends have emerged. It appears that women entrepreneurs prefer profitability, quality assurance, and contained growth over rapid growth. Women tend to make conservative decisions geared toward long-term advancement. They prefer to cultivate and nurture relationships to provide quality work, because they cannot compete on volume to larger businesses. Many women are also interested in limiting family-work conflicts, realizing that, in the long run, aggressive management styles or inability to compromise may infringe on quality of life both in and out of the office.
It also appears that the hierarchy present in many male-fronted businesses is different when women are in charge. Women prefer a collaborative effort and see themselves as the center of a "hub" rather than an authority figure at the top of the corporate ladder.
Women do have some factors that can be disadvantages. Generally, the capital available to women-owned startups is less than for men. Women-owned businesses also tend to be smaller and less profitable than those owned by men. This could be because women want more time to spend with families and don't want to give up control to an outside party to run things when they're not around. But it also may be due to the less access to funding or availability to resources for growth. Additionally, some women go into business for what some say are the wrong reasons: not for immediate profit, but to escape corporate glass ceilings or work/family balance.
All things considered, however, as women-owned entrepreneurs continue to multiply, the public should see a re-evaluation of these trends and can figure out for themselves whether men or women have the advantage in business.