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Women@KD

The Mother of All Business

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Business is maternal. Look at how we describe a start-up. We use phrases like, “It’s my baby.” This hints at an underlying understanding that the true nature of business is the true nature of motherhood. Let’s go further.

Several characteristics are present when children grow up and become self-reliant. We describe them as financially independent. We say they have the ability to make good decisions. We say they are trustworthy and responsible. Financial independence in business is similar. It says your company has stabilized its cash flow and is finally living less on loans from “parent-like” banks. A business that is independent has earned a positive reputation and is considered trustworthy by its customers. Business is maternal.

It is then, somewhat of a mystery why more women are not entrepreneurs. It is odd that many women feel intimated to go into business thinking they are entering a man’s world. Here’s the secret, men in business should be intimidated because they are actually living in your world. 

What would happen if a change of perspective took place and women began to understand the transferability of their home skills to the market? The business would change. Lian Pham, Co-founder of Company of Nomads which operates a family of Houston-based companies in retail, hospitality, and urban-tech, happens also to be a mother of two. Lian shared several insights in our Q & A as we explored using the lessons of motherhood in business.  

Q: What have you done at home raising your children that positively translates to the world of business?

A: Being present. I learned as a mother that children need your attention. They need to feel as if they matter. This breeds confidence in them and that confidence reduces many problems later in life. While I can’t call my employees my children, I can say the principle is the same. Let an employee know you care and what they produce for you is far different from the alternative.

Q: What is the analogy of nutrition in the home to grow your children, and nutrition in the office to grow your business?

A: What you feed your child, and what you feed your business is going to cause either healthy or unhealthy growth. Feed your child Twinkies all day and the baby will get bigger, but it will be unhealthy growth. Nutrition, in a business context, has more to do with mentorship, feeding your team positive encouragement and motivation. When you do this, your workforce will grow in a much healthier fashion.

Q: Why do you believe that most businesses are run by men if women naturally have a greater tendency toward business principles?

A: I believe that was in the past. Today, things have changed. Women are beginning realize that leading with compassion is not leading with weakness. Women don’t go into the workplace any more trying to act like men, for the most part. I believe we are starting to realize that being a woman caries an unusual advantage, and we are finally comfortable using this advantage. We are intuitive, we are creative, humanity comes out of us. The future is female.

CEO of Penske Media Group. Experienced Content Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspapers industry. Spoken on stages around the globe - NYU, US Embassy, P&G Toronto and much more.

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