When to Pretend You’€™re a Man

Because she’s a woman, business owner Laura Smith had to pretend to be an entry-level male employee during a recent call with a big supplier in Dubai.

“[The supplier] was rude, and insisted on dealing with the man in charge,” says Smith. “I finally said, ‘OK. My boss will be better able to help you. This is beyond me.” (Wink, wink.)

To avoid the push back, Smith even set up a fake email address from a Mr. George Hilton.

“No problem after that,” she says.

Her multimillion-dollar business sells patio furniture by the container load to major retailers, hotels and restaurant chains.

She does business in the United Arab Emirates, China and India as well as Germany, Canada and the U.S.

Good suppliers are difficult to find.

Still, Smith says other women in her male dominated field “have pride” and refuse to do business with men who are uncomfortable with a female boss. “They’d never pretend to be a man,” says Smith. “But it was just easier to do that. Just get the job done.”

She knows from experience. She lost a good supplier in China when she sent a young, pregnant employee to press the man to pay his bill. “He would never work with us after that.”

Sad fact. Sometimes in business – it’s just easier to pretend you’re a man.

Bonus PINK Link: It also pays to Get Fired Like a Man!

Would you ever pretend to be a man to promote your business?

By Cynthia Good

“Women can’t have it all as long as we have to do it all.” Gloria Steinem

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