Point of view
You can’t win if you don’t know how to play the game.
When I first started, I knew little about the world of finance. In fact, I was a little intimidated by it. Throughout my career, I watched as men, leaders in their industries, used financial strategies to build thriving, prosperous businesses. Negotiating against the biggest players on Wall Street taught me an invaluable lesson about business, one that made a lasting impression on me — “you can’t win if you don’t know how to play the game.”
Finance is essential in business; yet many business owners ignore it. I understand how they might feel. They’re faced with competing interests in running a business and numerous demands on their time. Many think their accountants handle the financial matters, and they don’t have to be actively involved. This is not true. Finance and accounting are not the same. Accounting focuses on past performance and should be handled by an accountant. Whereas, finance is forward looking and involves decisions about use of cash, financial projections, strategic planning, value creation, and future performance. Only one person can ultimately make these decisions; it is the business owner.
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT FOR WOMEN
When I read that women own 40% of small businesses, but generate only 4% of small business revenue, I knew something was wrong. Men generate 96% of the revenue and raise 80% more capital from outside sources. They know how the game is played. Women, on the other hand, have not had the same social interaction with finance principles and practices, but they are just as capable – sometimes more so. I firmly believe that given the opportunity to develop financial skills in business, women will far surpass men and change that statistic.
Melissa Gates and many others believe that economic power is “the most promising entry point for gender equality.” I concur; economic power gives a woman the ability to control her own destiny. In business, the key is developing financial skills and being a financially savvy decision maker.
Remember, financial empowerment is about living in the real world — on your terms.