Design guru finds fault with male entrepreneurs

Self-employed women have the edge over their male counterparts because the dominant entrepreneur is akin to a pushy salesman.

Joanna Salter, owner-manager of new design start-up, issued the verdict in a profile of her business featured in The Sun to celebrate enterprising hotspot Yorkshire.

Alongside London and the East Midlands, the region is the most buoyant location for new female-run businesses, according to recent research from Everywoman and Barclays.

“The big difference between men and women in business is that women really listen to exactly what the client wants,” Ms Salter reportedly said.

“Men, on the other hand, often seem to try to sell the client what they think the customer wants.”

The ex-kitchen saleswoman is ideally placed to dispense advice to entrepreneurs, given her company has grown from a fledgling start-up to successful venture in just six months.

She cashed in on her seven years working in the industry for others when she realized her luxury kitchen-selling skills were better than those of her boss.

Today her company – called Joanna Salter of Selby – is already ahead of the financial targets spelt out in her first-year business plan.

Success has been largely enabled by Joanna’s ability to strike deals with big-name industry players, like Miele, which sells kitchens for an average of £20,000.

Her business was set up from a sizeable start-up fund however, reported to be Joanna’s life savings of £70,000.

Despite the high stakes, the former-employee says ‘going it alone’ was the right decision, in line with the majority of female entrepreneurs polled by Everywoman.

“I’ve no regrets about sinking all my savings into my own business,” Ms Salter said.

“I’m really enthusiastic about the future. My clients like what I’m doing.”

Accompanying research suggests there will be more success stories of female-run companies over the coming years.

Insurance giant Liverpool Victoria reportedly claims that within 20 years women will control 60% of wealth in the UK.

The ThisisMoney website says already banks and investment firms are tailoring their services to encourage women to excel in self-employment.

Role models for aspiring businesswoman are an extra inspiration, to the extent that 100 enterprising females have been sought by enterprise group Make Your Mark to reassure and encourage tomorrow’s Anita Roddicks.

Last month The Body Shop founder emerged as the third most inspirational force to aspiring businesswomen, losing out to Dame Kelly Holmes, in second, and Sharon Osbourne, in first – who is now the UK’s most enterprising woman.

Among 18-24-year-olds Ms Roddick had even less clout, with enterprising women more likely to regard Tess Daley, a TV presenter, and Sienna Miller, an actress, as British women who readily turn their ideas into a reality.

Kevin Steele, chief executive of Make Your Mark, which commissioned the survey, said: “Role models need to be relevant for today's generation and display a range of entrepreneurial qualities, such as those demonstrated by successful business woman Sharon Osbourne.”

The multimillionaire TV presenter and chat show host claimed the title of UK’s most enterprising woman after beating off strong competition from the likes of Katie Price, the model known as Jordan, and Ruth Badger, runner-up of enterprise reality show The Apprentice.

Findings released this month by the London Annual Business Survey show that London's women now run more businesses in the capital than ever before.

One in six businesses is now majority female-owned compared to less than one in ten three years ago, while they also employ more women than their male counterparts.


29th November 2006

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