Bigger than the Internet Featured

11:47am EDT March 11, 2004
It is heartening, as a woman professional, to attend the growing number of award events honoring highly successful women in business and to applaud their achievements.

"Great event. Great women," we say, and walk away feeling good about the progress of the women in business situation. But few realize the scope of women's impact on the business community as a whole. The fact is, it is enormous.

Success guru and author Tom Peters says the impact of women in business on the economy is far greater than the impact of the Internet. In "Women Roar: The New Economy's Hidden Imperative," he says we are missing the boat if we aren't dialed into the scope of this phenomenon.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, America's women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy. However, "women continue to face unique obstacles in the world of business."

What's the deal with that? Didn't we recently attend a women's award event? If we are all celebrating and there is so much positive impact, who is doing the work to make those "unique obstacles" go away?

With the buying power of working women, it's a no-brainer that businesses want to capture that half of their total market. And yet, we still seem to be stuck with the old paradigms that leave women lagging behind.

Individuals and companies in Northeast Ohio, across the country and throughout the world who successfully tap into the potential of women as leaders, workers, consumers and trendsetters have an opportunity to hit the big time with a strong return on their investment. If the ability to maximize an underutilized asset is the dream of every business owner or investor, this women in business phenomenon has amazing promise.

And, for those who are dialed in to the challenge of maximizing an organization's human resources, the potential for greater organizational effectiveness through greater diversity gets interesting. Think about what we could accomplish in the rebirth of Northern Ohio if the women leadership and the rank and file were invited to the table with the guys to find solutions.

So remember that the woman in the office next to yours may be the resource you need to finish that project, lead that team or maximize profits. Let's get over those "unique obstacles" together and celebrate our shared success. Jeanne Torrence Hauer is an accomplished business development and marketing professional and author of "Millionaire Women - Success Secrets of 16 Who Made It from Home," Barrington Publishing, 2003. She is a frequent lecturer on topics relating to marketing, achievement and women.