What Is Feminist Business Strategy—And Why Your Business Needs It
You know those days when you sink back in your office chair and think, “This is all too much! There’s no way life is supposed to be so stressful, infuriating, exhausting, or [insert adjective of your choice here].”
I’ve heard so many women entrepreneurs say that exact thing.
We feel worried and guilty about our business decisions. And how those decisions will impact our personal lives – and vice versa.
Inspired by International Coaching Week, I want to talk about feminist business strategy.
I became a coach to help women build businesses that work for them.
Specifically, by using something called “feminist business strategy” to help my clients overcome career struggles and create the life they want to live.
Many other coaches overlook gendered factors that influence business.
But my clients and I found success by learning and unlearning traditional business rules. We’re reimagining leadership.
This blog is your introduction to a new method of entrepreneurship. Learn:
- What feminist business strategy means
- How it’s different from traditional business plans
- Why now is the time to embrace new ideas about business
Let’s discuss how we can change the rules of business.
What is Feminist Business Strategy
Recently, I gave a keynotes speech for Invest Ottawa.
It was a chance to expand on the second rule of feminist business strategy: self-care.
Today, I want to zoom out even further and overview each piece of feminist business strategy (FBS), and how it all comes together to create a new way of managing business decisions.
Feminism is a movement to end sexism and all oppression, establish political, social and economic equity and create a world in which all people flourish.
How does it affect entrepreneurs?
Well, there isn’t one area of life that doesn’t have a gender lens to it.
Gender intersects with business at many levels and reinforces stereotypes that negatively impact women, like when:
- Marketing campaigns cause us to be ashamed of our appearances.
- Women dismiss career aspirations to care for their growing families or feel guilty when their career gets in the way of their parenting responsibilities.
When it comes to FBS, it’s about remembering that not everyone has had the same experience as you.
That means that strategies that work for them might not be successful for you.
The best business plans recognize gender obstacles and devise ways to succeed despite them.
Speaking of business…
Business is buying or selling products and services to make a profit. It’s an activity nested in an economic system known as capitalism, where individual people or corporations control property to maximize profits.
But capitalism isn’t only for multinational corporations like Walmart. Those types of businesses create extreme wealth inequality.
The backbone of our economy is made of millions of small business owners who become pillars in our communities.
Just like gender intersects each aspect of life, business intersects with our community. Instead of inequality, we can choose a thoughtful strategy. One that embraces profit while making the world a better place.
We can use entrepreneurship to create positive change and eliminate inequality in our communities.
But first, we’ll need to reimage strategy…
Strategy is a mix of the big picture with details; it gives you a clear path toward your goals. The best strategies grow along with your business.
Business strategy is most useful when it helps you keep on track and work smartly. Two simple strategies are:
- The price you set
- The niche you target
This means you can launch a business that purely focuses on luxury-priced items. Or, your business could focus on helping a specific customer. For example, like a SaaS (software as a service) product designed for dentists.
Another common business strategy is to incorporate a support team.
Traditionally, this played out as a woman working as a homemaker; while her husband brought home the bacon.
Nowadays, women struggle because they try to fit the old role of support team into their role as business owners. It’s too much!
That’s why we need a different strategy… Enter: feminist business strategy.
How is Feminist Business Strategy Different?
Feminist business strategy directly confronts the unequal systems that keep us overworking and under-earning.
FBS removes the feeling that no matter what we do, it’s never enough.
It is enough.
And it’s more than enough to begin making a better world for all.
Here are three examples of how FBS aims to make that happen:
#1: Feminist Business Strategy Shows You How to Learn and Unlearn Toxic Messages
Feminist business strategy teaches you to recognize toxic messages and unlearn internalized thoughts and damaging behavior.
Here’s an example:
Written in 5th-century BC, The Art of War is considered the bible of business strategy… but it’s a book about warfare.
Much of the language we use originated from this book.
- Command the room.
- Control the narrative.
- Drop (knowledge) bombs.
It’s all military-inspired.
Removing military language is a chance to reimage how to speak about our business strategy.
“Build the community” instead of “beat the competition“.
When we introduce new vocabulary, we also invite new ways to think about successful business processes.
#2: FBS Creates a Balanced Lifestyle
Many business coaches claim to help you “create the life you always wanted”. FBS teaches you to create your best life a bit differently.
That’s because the center of feminist business strategy is self-care.
I use self-care techniques to manage my business and well-being. And I’ve seen other women struggle because they didn’t have the same systems in place.
You probably started your business to create your dream life! You want more flexibility, freedom, and a chance to help others along the way.
FBS encourages you to evaluate your daily activities. Then, focus on those that have a positive impact on your business and your health.
Over time, you reduce and remove activities that detract from your well-being (and the health of your business). A balanced dream life is the result.
#3: FBS Builds You Up and Reminds You That You Matter
I talk to women all the time who don’t always feel comfortable in their role as business owners, even though it’s their business.
FBS teaches you to overcome this hurdle by building up the whole of yourself. It encourages you to step outside society’s tiny box and:
- Grow your confidence.
- Uncover your unique skills.
- Fuel your ambition.
Women are socialized to take care of everyone else first. We learn to put our needs at the bottom of the pile.
FBS flips that concept on its head.
You deserve to provide more than just leftovers for yourself.
And this strategy recognizes that you can achieve your most ambitious goals for your business and yourself individually.
Why Feminist Business Strategy Matters Right Now
Replacing traditional military-inspired strategies with feminist business strategy is essential for today’s society.
The five stats below paint a picture.
They show that more women than ever are launching businesses, but patriarchal rules slow their growth potential.
- The number of women-owned businesses has quadrupled in the past 40 years. That’s amazing! Women now make up almost 30% of business owners.
- The closest gap between men and women entrepreneurs is in Latin America and the Caribbean, where women represent 50% of entrepreneurs. (East Asia and the Pacific are a close second.)
- 85% of Canadian women say they’d like to start a business. But only 23% of women believe owning a business would make them wealthy (compared to 36% of men).
- Canadian women who start businesses make 58% less than their male counterparts. But, women using e-commerce shrink that gap.
- In 2017, women of color made up 71% of new female-owned business launches. Overall, that has turned out to be about 259 new businesses each day over the last twenty years.
And one more bonus statistic: “For every dollar invested, women-founded businesses generate 2 times MORE revenue than those founded by men.”
Imagine what a strategy that recognizes the complexity of women’s lives could help them achieve!
This year, the theme for International Coaching Week is “reimagine the future”.
For business owners, that means reimagining rules written by men, inspired by military strategy, and supported by women caring for everything else.
The simple answer is to change those traditional rules by adding feminist business strategies to our toolbox.
Each small change builds momentum and changes the game overall.
Check out my book, She Rules: What You Didn’t Know Is Holding You Back In Business, to learn more about FBS and how you can begin applying it to your business.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your business:
1. Grab my Guide & Workbook to keeping your cool and making money- even during a global pandemic!
Can you make money, grow your business, and survive a pandemic all at the same time? The quick answer is yes. — Click Here
2. Book a free strategy chat
You can grow your business bigger than you imagine possible, even during a pandemic. Here’s what will happen – we will chat about your vision for your biz, where you are right now and any challenges you are facing.— Click Here
3. I’m looking for a few specific people to join me for my live training, where we will spend 90 minutes a week for 90 days to exponentially grow your business.
Just send me a message with DOUBLE in the subject line to get more details.