Women playing pivotal part in changing business dynamics

June 1, 2015 By and    
Tamera Kovacs

Tamera Kovacs

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas magazine and Propane Resources. Our focus this month is on women who work in the propane industry, addressed by financial consultant and business valuations and sales expert Tamera Kovacs.

Q. The National Propane Gas Association’s Women in Propane Council has rallied support for women in leadership roles and promoted the professional development of all industry members. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, what opportunities lie ahead for women in propane and what can the industry do to attract more female employees?

A. Expanding market share and finding good employees are not only hot topics for propane marketers, they are key ingredients for a successful business. In working to achieve these goals, women are becoming a pivotal part in the changing dynamics in America.

Take a step back and look at the big picture with statistics from Marketing Zeus – when it comes to buying trends, personal wealth in the U.S. and control of wealth:

91 percent of women say they think advertisers do not understand them.

91 percent of new homes are purchased by women.

85 percent of purchases and purchase influences are made by women.

68 percent of new car purchase decisions are made by women.

67 percent of consumer wealth in America will belong to women within the next decade.

66 percent of PCs are purchased by women.

60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women.

51 percent of all stock ownership in the U.S. is controlled by women.

40 percent of all American private businesses are owned by women.

If you combine the needs of the industry (growth, good employees) with the trends of consumerism and wealth in the U.S., the opportunity for retailers should be obvious. The retail propane industry has been a male-dominated industry. The real question is can the industry afford not to change?

Many of the purchases once made by men are now being made by women. If women purchase 91 percent of new homes, why don’t we have female salespeople working with homebuilders and directly with the homeowner?

Involve women in key business decisions or in running the business. Many of the retail propane companies we’ve worked with over the years are owned and/or managed by women, confirming the statistic that 40 percent of all private businesses are owned by women.

The retail propane industry is a solid, recession-resistant industry, with the people of the industry often described as “salt of the earth.” The industry has a solid base, but a shift in mindset needs to occur to attract not just women to the industry but the employees who desire to take our companies and industry to the next level.

These shifts are not limited to biases toward women and what was once termed a traditionally male job, but also the implementation of technology, the development of career paths and the encouragement of employee contribution and mentoring programs.

Consider what you need to do to develop diversity in your leadership and management teams by changing the opinions and outlooks within your organization. Develop mentoring programs within your organization crossing both gender and generational sectors.

Change is never easy, and most people are comfortable surrounding themselves with people who think like them. But will that give you the competitive advantage in our changing marketplace?

Look at your organization and identify areas of weakness and need. Are you building and aligning your workforce to develop an organization focused on the changing dynamics of America’s consumerism and wealth? 

Tamera Kovacs is a financial consultant and industry expert in business valuations and sales with Propane Resources. She can be reached at tamera@propaneresources.com or 913-262-0196.

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