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A Mans World? Not anymore! by Bob Afsari

Sep 24, 2010

As my plane taxied to the terminal I powered on my cell phone to see if I missed any calls during my short two-hour flight.  My phone beeped a few times, alerting me of my incoming messages.  I scrolled through them and found one from my wife, “Honey, don’t freak out if you check the bank account, I just bought a new car.”

I clicked on the “call back” button and we connected.  “What did you buy? Where did you buy it?  How much did you spend?  Can we afford it?”  My questions, which interlaced together in one breath, were responded to with a quick, “I took care of it.  Don’t worry honey.”

I admit there are times I am taken aback by her independent and strong personality.  She and her closest girlfriends, all self-made business owners, multi-task, shift gears and work harder and smarter than most of my male counterparts.  I am fairly certain Betty Friedan would be excited to see the shift in gender roles and responsibilities of today’s generation. 

My first boss and business mentor was wizardly in his ways and I garnered a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience under his tutelage.  His smooth tongue and charisma was a relationship-building force field. However, he refused to do business with women.  This practice, I acknowledge, was filled with chauvinism and a lack of foresight.  Such a practice fails to realize or accept the shifting landscape towards equality.

During times of economic calamity and uncertainty we as individuals, and as a society, undergo personal and public processes to eliminate excess.  As we rebuild, we look to the past for guidance in what and what not to do.  We assess risk and put our money and efforts into more tangible and trustworthy avenues.  We hope to learn from our mistakes and evolve.

As an individual that was thrown into the belly of the beast during the latest economic collapse, I successfully slayed my dragons with the help, mentorship and collaboration of a network predominately comprised of brilliant and driven women.  I was always surrounded by strong women in my life, whether it was my mother, sister, relatives, friends and now my wife.  For one reason or another, though, I innately separated them from my work and relied on my male friends for advice and support.  However, as I have been rebuilding, I have chosen to associate myself with people I can trust, who are reliable, smarter than me and who can enlighten my path through life positively.  As I look around my current network of professionals I find that women comprise the majority.  

So I draw back to my argument of learning from the past to mitigate future risk.  I prefer to do business with women, an action that would boil the blood of my former mentor as well as the majority of his elder conservative regime.  Efficiency, production, and output have increased as well.  Contrary to popular belief, professional women are less talk and more action, as 65% of women in senior management positions have children.  There is no time during the day to waste. 

I am not the only one that has come to these conclusions either.  National and international banking organizations are favoring loaning businesswomen in poverty stricken countries to assist them in forming their own businesses.  Women are proving to responsibly payback their micro loans.  In addition, the money they earn from their newly formed businesses are used to increase the healthcare, education and wellbeing of their children and villages as a whole.  Gaining access to the same amount of money that you and I spend on a nice dinner, is transforming the lives and future generations of impoverished yet driven businesswomen.

Less than 100 years since the passing of the 19th Amendment there has been a progressive movement that has more momentum now than ever.   Today, 95% of households rely on women to manage and control the financial decisions.  Men are starting to rely more and more on the expertise and resourcefulness of women.  The opportunities that are now presenting themselves to professional businesswomen are greater now than ever before.  Currently there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., representing nearly 40% of all businesses.  They employ 27.5 million people (35% more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined) and generate more than $3.6 trillion in sales.  Women are starting new firms at twice the rate of all other businesses!

Although it is obvious that women play a significant and imperative role in multiple facets of life including business, carrying the progressive momentum forward is not a gender war.  Continued growth and development is serviced through education, resources, experience and union.  I feel lucky to be in the center of the business development paradigm as some people question how much development is really occurring these days.  Access to capital and resources are tougher today than ever before, whether you are a male or a female.  There are, however, opportunities that do exist and it is my passion to enrich as well as provide solutions.

I wrote this article to empower the women that have ever second guessed their efforts or businesses that they are trying to grow.  The time to action is now!  Economies are cyclical and there is no better time to start paving the road for your future and to fulfill the desires you dream of.  I welcome you to visit my website as I frequently provide detailed information on the different products that you and your business may benefit from. Therefore I present to you the following questions:

If your business had access to more money, what would you do?  Would you hire more employees?  Could you acquire a competitor?  Could your impact go beyond the scope of what you ever imagined?

Fortunately for me, my wife makes those decisions.  Next time I hope she buys a sports car and not a mini-van.

About the Author - Bob Afsari is a representative of a San Diego based business lending firm, My Business Funding Source.  Mr. Afsari has experience in a variety of industries including being the Managing Director of  Private Equity firm, where he specialized in helping fund and grow developing businesses. 

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