By Leslie Grossman
How Companies Can Capture Today's Hottest Market: Women Business Owners and Executives
Sellsation! Book Cover

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I could not put SELLsation! down. As well as a critical roadmap, it is such fun to read! Companies that adhere to Leslie Grossman's 7-Step C.R.E.A.T.E.S. program will most certainly enhance their company?s profitability and at the same time receive accolades from the women?s business and networking community at large.”

Judy George, founder and CEO of Domain Home Fashions, Inc. and co-author of The Domain Book of Intuitive Home Design and The Intuitive Businesswoman

Inside Peek

  • Contents
  • Chapter 1: The C.R.E.A.T.E.S. 7-Step Formula for Marketing Successfully to Women Business Owners, Executives and Professionals
  • Chapter 2: C is for Community — Engaging Women in Communities They Trust and in Your Own ‘Club’

Chapter 1: The C.R.E.A.T.E.S. 7-Step Formula for Marketing Successfully to Women Business Owners, Executives and Professionals

They talk about a ‘woman’s sphere’
As though it has a limit;
There’s not a spot on sea or shore,
In sanctum, office, shop or store,
Without a woman in it.

~Author unknown
(found in a 1905 book Sovereign Woman Versus Mere Man
by Jennie Day Haines)

Let’s hit the deck running and face facts…There are many misconceptions about women in business. You may be exceptionally well-informed and need no convincing, but misinformation abounds about the power, scope and influence of this market sector, which is far more extensive and important than most business leaders and executives realize. Overlooking this market can, in both the short and long run, be dangerous to a company’s bottom line, competitive edge and longevity.

Below are just a few of the more common misconceptions, along with the accurate information. Go down this short list and see if any of this information comes as a surprise.

Belief #1: The number of women-owned firms is growing just as fast as other firms in the United States.
Fact: From 1997-2004 the number of women-owned firms with employees grew twice as fast as all U.S. firms with employees (17% vs. 9%).

Belief #2: Women now own one-quarter of the businesses in the U.S.
Fact: Nearly half (48%) of all privately owned U.S. businesses are now at least 50% owned by women.

Belief #3: Women make half the purchasing decisions in U.S. homes.
Fact: Women make 83% of all consumer purchasing decisions in all U.S. homes.

Belief #4: Women-owned firms with over $1 million in revenues grew just as fast as other U.S. firms of that size.
Fact: Women-owned firms with over $1 million in revenues grew nearly twice as fast (32%) as similarly sized firms in the U.S. from 1997-2000.

Belief #5: One in 14 U.S. workers is employed by a woman-owned business!
Fact: One in 7 U.S. workers is employed by a woman-owned business!

Belief #6: Men outnumber women in higher paying managerial and professional occupations by about 2:1.
Fact: As of 2003, women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations. Women represent 50.6% of the 48 million employees in management, professional and related occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Belief #7: There are 7 million women-owned firms in the U.S.
Fact: There are now 10.6 million women-owned (50% or more) firms in the U.S., employing 19.1 million people and generating $2.5 trillion in revenues.

Sources for Facts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7: Center for Women’s Business Research (
Source for 3: Wow! Quick Facts, published by Business Women’s Network 6: The Washington Times, 2003.

These facts, which belie the misconceptions, make it clear that women in business make up an increasingly important demographic profile for businesses to target. That being the case, allow me to pose an important question to you: Are you reaching these women in business? Do you believe that you know, for certain, how to capture your share of this important and rapidly growing market? Are you in fact even aiming your marketing and promotional efforts at them in the most effective ways? If you answered no to any of my questions, you can be sure that you are missing 50% of the available market for your goods and services.

Let me say that again: You are missing half of your potential customers, and great ones at that.

My purpose in this book is to show you how to engage this powerful market—and not with experimental tactics that may or may not work, but with proven strategies. Make no mistake: women are changing the way companies manufacture, design and market most of the products and services sold today. You need these customers—and they need you. It is all a matter of connecting the right way.

I know this for many reasons. For one, as a serial entrepreneur who gives a lot of business to companies I believe have my best interests at heart, I am this market. Secondly, I’ve been on the advisory boards of a number of companies that wanted to reach this market. I have seen what works and what does not. That understanding, knowledge and experience led me to formulate the program I share with you throughout this book: C.R.E.A.T.E.S. – Community. Relationship. Education. Anticipate. Trust. Entertainment. Service & Support.SM

Much has been written on marketing to women, including valuable books by Faith Popcorn, Marty Barletta, Mary Lou Quinlan and a number of other groundbreakers. However, little has been written about marketing to the most influential and economically powerful part of this segment, specifically, women business owners, executives and professionals. These entrepreneurial women, business leaders and high achievers are unique. They think differently, make purchasing decisions differently, and buy differently than the average working or non-working woman. And—news flash!—these businesswomen are not swayed by traditional advertising and
marketing that might conceivably work, at least to some extent, with the mass market. Yet these women are especially critical for you to reach because they buy for both their businesses and their homes.

Are your company’s products and/or services even being noticed by this vital market? If they are not being noticed by them, or by enough of them, you really need to know about my sevenstep strategy because it will dramatically improve your ability to capture these affluent decision- makers.

I know this market like the back of my hand. As I said, I am this market. In all, I have started and run five successful businesses, and I have been helping businesses market to women for almost 20 years. My five-year-old consulting firm, B2Women, still helps well-known corporations successfully market to women in business. As Andrea March described in her Introduction, she and I co-founded Women’s Leadership Exchange deliberately as a national multimedia company to provide businesswomen with the knowledge, the tools, mentoring support, and access to each other that women need in order to grow their businesses, specifically above the million-dollar mark, and, as often happens, even far beyond that benchmark.

The seven-step strategy I use for my clients, one that is woven into the fabric of everything we do at Women’s Leadership Exchange, is called C.R.E.A.T.E.S. This acronym stands for:

  • C – Community
  • R – Relationship
  • E – Education
  • A – Anticipate
  • T – Trust
  • E – Entertainment
  • S – Service and Support (which are closely aligned).

In the chapters ahead, you’ll discover how companies have intelligently used this proven formula to generate and sustain business. Specifically you’ll learn how:

  • American Express inspired trust by helping women business owners who could not get bank loans, and setting up other programs that support women entrepreneurs to make it over that important million-dollar hurdle.
  • Northwestern Mutual helped build women’s business communities that were designed around the common financial concerns of women in business.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts anticipated the needs of women business travelers and also entertains them by offering all sorts of comforts and conveniences, both large and small, that sets them apart from other hotel chains.
  • IBM has long supported women’s organizations, including their sponsorship of Women’s Leadership Exchange. In this way, and also by actively enhancing our exposure to technology and the many practical technological solutions they offer, Big Blue shows their commitment to community.

…These are a few of the compelling real-life examples you’ll find in these pages.

Before we move ahead, I want to make one vital point. The customer-centric C.R.E.AT.E.S. approach also resonates with many male business owners and executives! Interestingly, I have noticed that the C.R.E.A.T.E.S. formula is especially appealing to younger men, those who grew up in our changed world. These men in the younger generation are more demanding consumers than older businessmen and business owners, and are thus less likely than older males to buy solely from an advertisement or direct sales approach. Like businesswomen, these younger men understandably prefer to buy from someone whose company offers them a sense of Community, does not try to “sell to them” but builds a Relationship, Educates them, Anticipates their needs, wins their Trust, Entertains them a bit, and offers great Service and Support.

My point is that although this book is aimed at reaching businesswomen, men are not excluded. As you will see if you follow C.R.E.A.T.E.S., these strategies will increase your business overall with all audiences who can use your products and services.

Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) the legendary, Austrian-born founder of psychoanalysis, once wrote: “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’” From our experience we believe we can answer that question for Dr. Freud and for the world at large: Today, and perhaps this has always been the case, women want what is in short supply—more time, more peace of mind, more feeling of accomplishment. The company that creates (C.R.E.A.T.E.S.) this for them will earn their allegiance. Are you ready to learn precisely how to give your customers—past, present and future—what they want? Read on……

Women in Business Fact Box: Fact #5
Belief: One in 14 U.S. workers is employed by a woman-owned business!
Fact: One in 7 U.S. workers is employed by a woman-owned business!

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