Thursday, January 15, 2009
Women in Business
As president of The Entrust Group, Lisa Moren Bromma has valuable insight into the roles women play in the marketplace. Women may not be wrong in feeling discouraged about entering into what has always been classified as a man’s game based on the salary gap between men and women—women make 76 cents for every dollar men make, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—but as more and more women fight gender discrimination, they are starting to see that their efforts are not in vain.
Because of her personal life experiences, Moren Bromma has a good idea of what it takes to start off on the right foot in business, despite the fact that the cards haven’t always been in her favor. For business owners just starting out, she said she suggests getting letters of reference. She also said women should work with their sphere of influence and network within their local marketplaces to gain contacts they trust and can do business with. Developing that level of trust, and gaining trust with other people, she said, is one of the biggest hurdles women face in business.
Moren Bromma has experienced the difficulties of doing projects on her own. In her books and lectures, she strongly suggests that women create a roadmap for success. Goal setting is one of the most important steps to creating a solid business plan, she said.
Moren Bromma said she believes that one of the biggest challenges women face is meeting likeminded people. By joining business support groups such as NAWBO (The National Association of Women Business Owners) to get support from other female entrepreneurs and business owners, women can do just that.
“Let’s face it, an investor going out and investing in real estate is a business owner, and they’ll get a lot of support from a business perspective, and they’ll meet other women in their area doing what they are doing," she said.
The clearest and most direct path to being a successful female business owner starts with surrounding yourself with the right people; but integral to this step is finding the right kinds of educational resources, Moren Bromma said. In addition to business support groups such as NAWBO, she said women should connect with coaches and business-focused peer groups, many of which have specific sub-groups just for women business owners.
Besides education, learning how to perform due diligence when starting a new business of any kind is paramount to a successful practice. “Don’t believe everything you read,” Moren Bromma said. “Do your own due diligence. Never allow anyone to vote on your money. You can listen to everyone’s advice—you make the final decision."
According to Moren Bromma, the difficulty of being a woman in business is not necessarily the process of owning a business; it’s the confidence that many women lack to be in specific fields or to commit to a business plan. Women are rightfully influenced by negative concerns that they are going to be taken advantage of and perceived as inexperienced, she said, and overcoming those stumbling blocks is a bigger issue than just deciding to start a business.
The advice Moren Bromma gives women investors transcends gender. It is wise for women to both look into the areas where they may face challenges and to discern the ways they can address these challenges, she said.
Moren Bromma said she is optimistic about the future of women in business. “Women are much more sophisticated and [can] roll with the times. That’s what all of us should aspire to do. They have taken the bumps in the road and have made lemonade out of lemons and have moved on. They are creative and confident they can always stay ahead of the game.”