Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM


Women account for income of USD18 trillion, an economy in itself larger than the gross domestic products of China and India combined

CONOMY as we all know it has always been male driven. This is changing. Economy is changing its gender. Many world leaders are female. Many heads of corporates are female. Even some reserve banks' presidents are female including our (Malaysian) very own Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Ungku Aziz. Are there emperical evidence that this gender shifting is happening? Well, perhaps Malaysia specific it is not so obvious but globally, females are forces to be reckoned with. It's a female economy!

So, are women significant to the economy? Let's see. Women account for income of USD18 trillion, an economy in itself larger than the gross domestic products of China and India combined. 90% of women reinvest their money into their families' well being. Unlike their counterpart (Male) that usually reinvest only 30% to 40% of their income. A child's probability of survival is better with his/her mother than with the father, at least by 20%. Mothers should take control of the household economics then. 55% of women are expected to spend less overall (Men at 37%). 46% of women are expected to spend less on-line (Men at 34%). 41% of women are expected to spend less for household essentials (Men at 30%). (Note 1)

Is this trend continuing? Well, some statistics show that men is and continue to fall behind in education. Education is the fundamentals of future economy. The ratio of female to male schooling has risen steadily for South Asia from 0.4 to 0.6 over the past 30 years since 1970 and women's share of tertiary enrolment has shown that half of the world's countries have more than 50% of tertiary enrolment from the female side - see purple world map on the right. More men are losing jobs when recession cycle returns and as a result, women are increasing their share of the job market to a significant ratio of 50:50 to men in the United States of America (Note 2) and 60:40 in the European Union. Also, about 60% of women are considered economically free (from relying on men). So are women significant? I think Yes.

If women are significant to the economy, maybe it's time women embrace entrepreneurship? Maybe it's time women become the forces that drive the economy. Hopefully for the better. This also requires careful management. Did you know that the first modern day economic recession was actually caused by women? Their craze over tulips caused many speculators in Holland to trade tulips until one day, they decided to stop the craze. Down went the economy and many who borrowed money to buy stocks of tulips became bankrupts. Wow!,.. but anyway, how do women embrace entrepreneurship? Let's take Einstein's E = MC Square as a guide but instead of the equation linking matter and velocity to energy, we link money to entrepreneurship. Where E is Entrepreneurship (E), let's take M as Money (M) and the C Square being the combined effects of Confidence (C) and Competitive Edge (C). Hence Entrepreneurship is a function of Money making via the synergy of Confidence and Competitive Edge [ E = MC Square ].

Confidence is a psychological state of fearlessness. It grows in tandem with the 4 letter word that starts with F, i.e FACK, which stands for Frequency, Attitude, Courage and Knowledge. All these are the recipe for Confidence. So say "What the Fack! I'm doing this!" The more you repeat (Frequency (F)), the more confident you will be in performing the same act. From entrepreneurship perspective, the more you think like a business women, the better you’ll be at it. On 11 February 2012, Phantom of the Opera played its 10,000th show on Broadway. The mere frequency made it one of the best theatre performances around.

In applying the Attitude (A), if you keep saying no, chances are, you’ll be saying no all the way. You need to break that monotonous trend. Say yes for a change like the Nike slogan 'Just Do It'. You will also need that leap of faith we call Courage (C). Don’t stop believing - sing that Glee song if you want to. Finally, Knowledge (K) is something you must have. Even if you don't have it, you need to be resourceful to find those with knowledge who can work with you - Accountants, Lawyers, Bankers, Marketeers and many more. Let's have an inspirational story about a Malaysian woman who grasped these elements (see below).

Malaysia’s first and only female jet fighter pilot: When she was young, her parents wanted her to become a piano teacher. But Patricia Yapp Syau Yin was bent on becoming a pilot and pursued her dream.

Confidence is probably best demonstrated by examples of precedent cases. So here are Top 10 females with LOTS of confidence!

#10. QUEEN ELIZABETH THE FIRST: She must have been one of the first female ruler in the European nations. In those days, you'll need quite a significant confidence to pull it through as a Queen!

#9. LADY GAGA: I'm not quite sure whether I like her songs but everytime she appears on the screen, I gravitate towards her. Nothing to do with the sexual presence. It is more of her guts! The guts to do those weird things she does.

#8. BARBIE: Well! whatever clothes you put on her she will continue to smile. That confidence is what girls adore. They take her as a role model.

#7. OPRAH WINFREY: Many women are inspired by Oprah's talk shows. She herself demonstrated many achievements that required confidence, including being the richest female celebrity at one point.

#6. DATUK SHEILA MAJID: I was told that Sheila was a bright student with straight A's. Her confidence in pursuing a career as a jazz singer was so strong that she actually became the Queen of Jazz for Malaysia, worthy of the title Datuk!

#5. DATUK SITI NURHALIZA: Another female Datuk worthy of the title. She had to stop herself from entering singing competitions. Enormous amount of confidence for a village girl from Pahang. I have seen her perform live in the Anugerah Juara Lagu in 2003 - it was effortless for her.

#4. SUSAN BOYLE: Words cannot describe. Wiser to watch and listen to her. Here's a link... enjoy: Britain's Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 found Susan Boyle

#3. AUN SAN SUU KYI: This magnificant lady is so confident of her country's support that she ended up in jail. I watched the movie The Lady that is based on her life story. Very, very inspiring! She even missed her husband's funeral for her commitment.

#2. MARGARET THATCHER: The first British Prime Minister that I know of when watching the TV as a kid. In fact, she is probably the first female premier that I know since childhood. This iron lady puts a punch into the male chauvinists of the British parliament.

#1. THE MOTHER ALIEN: Try to squash her eggs! You'll see the overwhelming confidence that she radiates!

Competitive Edge is the weapon you need to drive the Confidence. It is the ability to make an offer that no one can refuse, also because of values with the 4 letter word that starts with F, i.e FUCP, which stands for Financial, Utility, Coverage and Presence. In academia this is known as the 4Ps: "Price, Product, Placement and Promotion". On the Financials (F), you have to make everyone's business your business. Mind everybodies' business. Know your competitors' financials if possible. Know your suppliers' financials. Know your customers' financials and most importantly, know your own financials. Only with this awareness that you are able to ensure appropriate investments and pricing strategy. Your offerings must have Utility (U) value. Ask these questions "Is the product or services utilisable?", "Do you have a customer base? ", " What if the product is a 'Shock Sendiri'?" and "Do you think people will buy?". I have a Pepsi story to demonstrate this - below.

CRYSTAL PEPSI: Pepsi introduced this clear cola in the early 1990s. Unlike other clear carbonated drinks, this one didn’t have a lemon/lime flavor – yet it didn’t quite have a normal cola flavor either. Despite a very expensive media blitz, this see-through soda just didn’t catch on. “Pepsi lost hundreds of millions guessing at straws, and they have never recovered fully,” said Laermer, its Senior Executive.

Having identified your customers, you'll need to get the products or services to them. This should be done with adequate Coverage (C) of the intended market. A customer who can actually get what they want is a happy customer. Happy customer means $$$ and unhappy customer means !@#%. Once I went to a Mamak with my son to get Roti Canai. Guess what? The Mamak said, "Errr.... Roti Canai Tak Dak!". Hmmmm... not good for business. Finally, you'll have to show your offerings to the customers. People are busy. They just don’t have time to find out what is there in the market. Hence God created Advertising and Social Media. In the wise words of a Chief Executive Officer of a TV Station, Ahmad Izham Omar, “Tell people what they don’t know what they want”. Show them your Presence (P). So yeahh,... say "What the Fucp! (Silent the C), Let's do this!". So go do it, like these Top 10 females that demonstrated competitive edge:

#10. CLEOPATRA: Forget Queen Elizabeth the First. I just remembered a more ancient Queen that ruled a powerful civilisation of Egypt. So desirable she was that the Roman Emperor wanted to marry her to combine the two mega empires, Egypt and Rome.

#9. MARYLIN MONROE: There were many female actresses in the 60's to 70's but none are like Marylin Monroe. She has a unique appeal, perhaps sexually, but a unique appeal nonetheless. Only someone as desirable as her could have tackled the President of the United States of America, which she did.

#8. WONDER WOMAN: As far as I can remember, she was the pioneer female exploring the career as a superhero. Sure there were Cat Woman and Bat Girl but Wonder Woman wasn't shy to show her face!

#7. MADONNA: I have never seen any female singer that is current and contemporary even after over 40 years of performing and recording. Madonna never fail to produce music that is acceptable by the youngsters from the 80's all the way to the turn of the millennium.

#6. FARAH FAUZANA: The radio business was never commercialised prior to 2000. Only when Era came into the picture did it really become commercially driven. With the emergence of new talents, Farah Fauzana managed to top the chart as the highest paid and highest ranked Radio DJ while she was at Hot FM Morning Crew.

#5. DATUK NICOL DAVID: Another Malaysian female worthy of the Datukship. I think she won her 7th World Champion recently? Well, that must epitomise competitive edge!

#4. SMURFETTE: Well, she is the only female Smurf. If that is not competitive edge, I don't know what else is......

#3. TAN SRI DR ZETI AKHTAR UNGKU AZIZ: As mentioned at the start of this article, a female Governor of the reserve bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, is an evidence that females with competitive edge are taking the lead in the world economy.

#2. PRINCESS DIANA: This princess brought hope to many people especially female. She was adored and was larger than the British royal establishment itself. Surely someone who tops the Queen deserves a high ranking position in the Top 10 list for competitive edge.

#1. MOTHER EARTH: The largest female ever found and she is one of a kind. Scientists have been searching for her twin in the galaxy but to date, none are successful. If she cease to exist, there is no replacement. For that, we all love her and protect her from any destruction...... do we?

So, with Confidence and Competitive Edge, women are expected to generate Money. What is Money? Money is the economic value obtained from business activities via the 4 letter word that starts with F again , i.e FURK, which stands for Feasibility, Up Side, Return on Investment or better known as ROI and Kontinuity - Sue me, I'll spell the way I want ok! Now, how does all this work? You got to know whether the maths can actually show profits. Why bother if you know you are going to be in an unrecoverable loss position? Simply put, Feasible (F). What you sell must always be higher than what you buy so that there is an Up Side (U), i.e. profits.

That Up Side means nothing if what you get is just the same as what you'd get if you sit back and leave your money in a bank. You must earn higher than passive income such as interest income from fixed deposits (3% per annum) or dividends from unit trusts (7% per annum). Why start a business when the return is low? Aim high with a premium to compensate your efforts and risks taken. Go for double, say 15%? Now that is a true ROI (R). ROI must grow gradually. Your business can only grow if you allow it to grow. Aim long term. No such thing as quick money / rich fast. So Kontinuity (K) is key. If you build, the business will grow. If you kill, the business will blow! So, say to yourself, "What the Furk! (Silent the K), I can be an Entrepreneur!"

Money is probably best demonstrated by examples of precedent cases. So here are the Top 10 female brands by value!

Women are significant to the economy. It’s time you (women) embrace entrepreneurship. Remember [ E = MC Square ] and show me the money!!!!! Adios!

Note 1: Performics Online Buyer Economics Trend Study, July 2009
Note 2: The New York Times


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