Like most people, Amanda Stevens, 32, knows men and women are different. Her big idea, however, was to use this knowledge for competitive advantage. As founder and Managing Director of Splash Consulting Group, Stevens studies gender differences in the brain and conducts ongoing research to find out what women want. The 2001 launch of her SheMarketing methodology was a career milestone, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
Interview by Jodie O’Keeffe
Women approach entrepreneurship differently to men
Women see their lives as multi-dimensional. Men tend to keep their roles separate and mutually exclusive, but women look for ways to blend the different aspects of their lives. Women with families start home-based businesses to attain the flexibility and work/life balance their employer might not provide.
You can’t be good at everything
When you start a business, often through sheer necessity, you do a variety of jobs. You might be great at what you specialise in but, if you only spend 20 percent of your time doing that because you’re also doing the accounting, HR and administration, it defeats the purpose.
Consider the unseen opportunity cost
I was holding the business back by doing the jobs I wasn’t good at. And I was holding the business back by not doing what I was good at.
Surround yourself with experts
It’s important to keep an eye on costs, but there’s a downside to not having the best lawyer or accountant. You might save $500, but it could cost you $50,000.
Fast growth can put you out of business
People think it’s great to have a fast-growing company. In fact, when your company doubles in size every year, you need a capital reserve that is more than your rate of growth or you’ll just run out of cash – and energy.
Partnership can be a wonderful thing
I met Bill Pollock, Chairman and CEO of Drake International in 2004. He saw great potential in the company. He immediately knew what we needed: management structure and funds to take us to the next level. Drake now has a 50 percent stake in Splash.
Research brings credibility
In developing SheMarketing, we spent around $200,000 on research over two years. It was a calculated risk. You either do it properly or not at all. If you take a leadership position in the marketplace without having the depth and credibility, you don’t last long.
There’s so much bad advertising out there
Eighty percent of women tell us that 80 percent of advertising doesn’t connect with them. If you can market to women in a way that says, ‘We get you and we get what you want’, you really have a competitive edge.
Founded ten years ago, Splash Consulting Group is a communications consultancy specialising in marketing to women. Since launching the New Zealand practice in 2006, the group now has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. Founder and Managing Director Amanda Stevens is also author of the book, SheMarketing: The Science of Marketing to Women.