I signed up. It was only 40NIS, so not much to lose, even if I wouldn’t be able to attend.
As the date of the conference loomed closer, I didn’t in fact think I would be able to take the time off, but I did make an effort which ultimately was worthwhile, arriving at 10am though the conference started at 8:30am.
When I arrived, Tamar Mirsky, of the Ministry of Economy and Industry presented some interesting statistics:
- Whether employed by others, or self employed women make less per hour than men
59.6NIS (men) vs 50.6NIS (women) – as employees
65.0NIS (men) vs. 54.6 (women) – when self-employed
- Businesses that provide personal and educational treatment services are the lowest-earning
38% of women-owned businesses provide personal and educational treatment
- More women than men start their own business in order to create a more flexible work schedule for themselves
56% of women who start businesses vs. 42% of men
- More women than men start their own business in order to develop their talents
43% of women vs. 35% of men
- More men than women start a business to earn money for themselves (as opposed to earning it for their employer)
44% of men vs. 36% of women
After Tamar Mirsky presented these statistics Yiska Oppenheim moderated a panel of women entrepreneurs and business owners. Yiska is the founder and one of the moderators of the popular Hebrew-speaking Facebook group Datiot Iskiot Medabrot [Religious Businesswomen Speak Out].
Yiska spoke about the fact that many times, we sabotage our own growth. In fact, she cited a statistic that 20% of all business initiatives fail in the first year. But what is the actual cause? Is it terrible planning and as a result the entrepreneur has no more money to invest in the business? Or is it because the entrepreneur gave up to soon, even though they had the money to keep going? These questions, that were not pursued in the conference, may seem trivial, since the bottom line is that one in five businesses shuts down in the first year. However, learning the cause of business failures could help organizations such as Maof and Mati target their assistance to help steer budding business owners in the right direction.
The Glass Ceiling of Women Who Own Businesses
Yiska also spoke about the fact that Israeli women business owners don’t take enough chances; this she says is the glass ceiling of women who own their own businesses. More men, she says, take risks because they are educated to – in the army. There men learn to take extreme risks in order to advance. These risks include putting their lives on the line.
Yiska cited a statistic that we should all be concerned about:
40% of men believe in their talents and abilities vs. only 27% of women.
This is in fact worrying, because if women are questioning their abilities, how can they possibly succeed?
What comes to mind is of course Henry Ford’s famous quote:
Currently toying with the idea of starting my own workshop about pricing, I attended the workshop by Heli Jacobs.
Heli pointed out that many businesses only realize that they’re not making money after they submit a bi-monthly VAT report to the Tax Authority.
She then defined a simple equation which should be clear to any business owner from the outset and repeated later by Ronit Kfir.
Profit = Revenue – Expenses
Interestingly there was quite a debate about who determines the value of a product – is it the business owner or the buyer (the market).
Heli maintained that it is the buyer while some women contested this.
While I do agree with Heli, I may have said it a bit different:
Business owners determine cost while buyers (and non-buyers) determine the value.
That’s why it’s vital for every business owner to understand their product, the target audience and their competition. Not understanding any one of these components can mean a big loss in profits.
Apparently, Ronit Kfir is a well-known personality among born-and-bred Israelis. She was a radio personality on Galei Tzahal, and has done various voice overs on television as well as for cellular phone companies. She currently is an interior designer, does advertising voice overs and is a speaker who speaks to women about business management.
From Feeling Bad to Feeling Great
More often than not, women feel bad about putting their interests first. This is even more complicated when business and money are brought into the equation.
Ronit’s talk, loosely translated “From Feeling Bad to Feeling Great” was about how to stop feeling bad about things that should be so simple. Instead, we should set limits with our clients and feel great about it.
Some tips Ronit shared:
- Take responsibility
If you’ve experienced clients treating you badly, it’s not them. It’s you. Clients can’t treat you badly if you don’t let them. Take responsibility for how you manage your clients and be sure to set limits. We as business owners, are the responsible adults, not the client.
- You don’t have to say yes all the time and you don’t have to apologize about it
Ronit points out that Phoebe said it best:
- You are auditioning the client – not the opposite
Sure you can go after every client begging them to choose you. But there’s also a different way. You choose your clients. Said another way, not every client is your ideal client. You choose your ideal client and you choose who to work with.
- Lead with confidence
Confidence breeds confidence. Practice doing business, practice asking for money. Remember that nobody wants to give money to someone who acts like they don’t deserve it.
As mentioned, the conference for Jerusalem entrepreneurs and business owners cost me only 40NIS (less than $10). The value I received was tremendous, including the fact that I spoke to Ronit Kfir and hope to interview her in the next few months (stay tuned).
It’s great to see that Jerusalem’s municipality is doing something great for women business owners and I hope to see more initiatives like this.
One last thing. If you’re thinking of moving to Jerusalem, because it’s such an awesome city for women entrepreneurs and business women, speak to Yael Goldberg. She’ll find you a place to live. And she might also tell you about more great conferences. She was my source for this one.