What Qualities Gauge a Woman's Success in Business?

Is biology a major factor when it comes to women being successful in business? Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman think so. Here's an excerpt from their Huffington Post Blog...

Beyonce famously sang that women should put their hands up, and if you want to keep them, you have to put a ring on it. But in the worlds of high-tech or venture capital, the better move might be to put a ruler on it. Because new science has revealed that the size of a woman's ring finger can predict her entrepreneurship, career interests, and a host of other traits essential to success in a high stakes, high-tech career.

Perhaps a more telling indicator is the size of her panties.

Those who are successful at business ignore success theories and probabilities. They just put their Big Girl panties on and go.

In 1963, Mary Kay Ash was passed over for a promotion by a man she had trained. Frustrated, she quit and made a list of everything that was wrong with company. Instead of submitting the list to her former boss, she used it as a business plan for how not to run a company. Her husband was on deck to be president of the company. He died a month before their launch date. Mary Kay started her cosmetics business with $5,000 invested by her son. The famous Pink Cadillacs are part of an extensive bonus and recognition program designed to build self-esteem... and sales. In the Mad Men-era of the early 60's, if you were basing your success on stats, you never would have left the laundry room. I include her story because arguably circumstances are improved for women in business in 2013. Check out You Can Have It All: Lifetime Wisdom from America's Foremost Woman Entrepreneur by Mary Kay Ash

Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank, borrowed $1,000 from an abusive boyfriend to start her real estate company. She sold it for $66 million 30 years later. Have you seen her go toe-to-toe with the men on the Shark Tank panel? She suffers no fools and reminds women entrepreneurs that they don't need a man to make their dreams come true. Much of her business building savvy comes from recalling how her no-nonsense mother managed 11 kids growing up in Edgewater, New Jersey. She's renamed her terrific autobiography, though I prefer the un-PC original title, If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons On Your Pigtails: and Other Lessons I Learned From My Mom.

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, cut the feet off of a pair of control top pantyhose to create her iconic line of body smoothing underwear. Her net-worth topped $1 billion last year, as a result of her privately owned company. She chose early on to keep quiet about her plans to grow her company in a niche where cheap offshore knockoffs could knock her off the top of the shapewear heap. She blocked out advice from her smart MBA-achieving buddies, who were eager to share the impossibilities of her business plan. She put her head down, put her Big Girl control top panties on... and built an empire. Check out her success tips, and others', in Starting From Scratch: Secrets from 22 Ordinary People Who Made the Entrepreneurial Leap by Wes Moss.

And let's consider Arianna Huffington. If you are looking for a step-by-step formula for success, you would look elsewhere. Arianna follows her heart and her interests, and boldly changes her mind when presented with compelling evidence. Her book, On Becoming Fearless... In Love, Work, and Life is more of a what not to do tale of business building. Yet, she, among other accomplishments, created this blog site, worth $315 million to AOL in 2011.

In every event, business success is tied to making money. Profits build businesses. Sell stuff for more than it costs and you manufacture profits. You can also build a business where the promise or the hope of the business is greater than the current profitability. Like, Facebook. As a woman business owner, you can improve your chance of success by applying accounting and financial basics. Instead of looking for "signs" of potential success -- finger length? -- look for ways you can get smarter. Use basic business skills and tools to make more money. Start with assembling, reading and using Financial Reports...The Balance Sheet and the Profit & Loss.

Increase your likelihood of success with business basics.

Warren Buffet taught me how to read a balance sheet. Note that I have not yet met Warren in person. However, smart people -- including the women referenced above -- write books. This is the Balance Sheet equation...

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Assets = Claims on the Assets. This equation is in line with the universal law...what goes around comes around. Or, for every action there is a reaction. It's how we keep financial score in the game of business.

What Warren Buffet taught me about business...

Here are his rules for business...

  1. Protect the Assets. The assets are your 'stuff.' What you have. The first financial objective is to protect the wealth you have.
  2. Grow the Assets. The second financial objective is to expand the 'stuff.' Grow Cash and other Assets.
And there are three ways to grow Assets...
  1. Through Liabilities. You can borrow money. When you buy a new truck, and get a loan for that truck, assets go up and the Liability (a loan) goes up. (Maybe you have already overdone this? It's easy to get in too deep in debt, as individuals and as a nation.)
  2. Through Owner Investment. You can put your own money into the company. Perhaps when you got started you wrote a check from your personal checking account and opened up your business checking account. Assets go up and owner's Investment (an equity account) goes up. Are you looking for Venture Capital? If an investor cuts a check and puts it in your checking account, then his Owner's Equity goes up. At that point, he may own more of your company than you do. Just be aware.
  3. Through Profits. Sell stuff for more than it costs and create profits. Assets go up and Net Income goes up. This year's profits show up in the Equity section of your Balance Sheet. When you lose money -- sell stuff for less than it costs you -- equity goes down and assets go down. That's the elegant, beautiful, sometimes horrible truth of the balance sheet.

The profit and loss is the report that shows whether or not your sales exceed expenses. A budget is a pretend profit & loss. It is what you want to have happen for sales and expenses. Comparing actual financial performance against budgeted sales and expense goals is how you make better, faster, more profitable decisions. When I got this... it blew my mind. I realized that I could learn how to keep track of the money. I could figure out how to sell things for more than it costs. I could read books and get inspired by others, by women business mavens who bucked the odds and made their business dreams come true. And so I have. I put on my Big Girl panties and got to work. And I hope you do, too.

Bronson and Merryman conclude...

The biggest mistake might be using gender in any way to count, sort, or even think about entrepreneurs. Ultimately, the sex of a person turns out to be a distraction -- mere noise. Finger-length tells you far more than gender does. Brain differences, combined with psychological differences, interact to forge the entrepreneur who has enough fight, stamina, and risk-taking necessary for success.

Fair enough. There is data behind their conclusion. However, what does it have to do with you? Do you want to be successful in business? Business building resources and information are available. Statistics are of little use in your one woman experiment. Put on your Big Girl Panties (or Spanx) and get going.

I can help you put a powerful budget together for your business!  Join me...