Without a doubt, women are making their mark in the business world. More than 11.6 million businesses are owned by women. Women-owned businesses employ more than 9 million people. What is really great is that 62% of women entrepreneurs say their business is their sole source of income. That means, it’s not a part-time gig – we’re doing it!
Women are more resourceful, more dedicated, and more passionate in their quest for business ownership. They borrow less money and yield a 35% higher return on investment in private tech companies.
Yet with all of the positive attributes of women-owned businesses, there are still several challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Gender bias underscores the business community. As women, we need to defy social norms while remaining true to ourselves. To be successful, we need to face the challenges and overcome those to create vibrant businesses that work for us.
Here are four challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and tips for overcoming those.
- Insufficient funding
Many women are unable to get financing for their business. When they do, the loan amounts are smaller than those given to men. SBA funded male-owned businesses received $156,279 whereas SBA funded women-owned businesses only received $59,857. Venture capitalists are significantly less likely to back a women-owned business or business run by a female CEO.
Funding is life support for a fledgling business. Without adequate funding, many businesses do not survive. One way to overcome financial strangulation is to begin your business as a side-gig. Of course, this is not always viable depending on what type of business you want to open. However, if it is, keeping your full-time job will lessen the financial burden of a new business.
My word of advice is to start from the beginning with a transition schedule to owning and running your business full-time. With being a successful female entrepreneur as the focal point in your journey.
- Lack of confidence
As women, we often lack the confidence in ourselves to succeed. We tend to underestimate our value and skill. Our lack of confidence is less about what we know to be true about ourselves and more about how other people will react. We have an innate fear of being thought of as proud or conceited.
The very best thing you can do to boost your confidence is hire a coach or find a mentor. The job of a coach is not only to guide you but to cheer you on your journey and celebrate your wins. A coach or mentor is able to believe in you until you can believe in yourself.
- Inadequate support system
One survey found that 48% of female entrepreneurs cited lack of support as a hindrance to professional growth. The business world is still dominated by men, making it hard for women to bust into the virtual boardroom and build top-level business networks. Women – and men – require connections, funding, and emotional support to get their idea off the ground.
One way to get the support you need is to join women entrepreneurial focused groups on LinkedIn and Facebook or attend conferences or events. Bizwomen and eWomen Network are great places to start.
- Work-life balance
Women are still the primary caregivers in the home. There is an unspoken assumption that their career comes second. This has been changing as more and more men are staying home while their female counterparts are working. However, for many there is a stigma about working when children are at home or in daycare. Women can be seen as abandoning their children or family responsibilities.
Finding a work-life balance is tricky. It starts with communication. You will need to sit down with your family and talk openly about responsibilities. Sell your family on the “why” of opening your own business and garner their support.
Moving forward with opening a business is big and scary! But a lot of female entrepreneurs are killing it. You can too. Embrace the challenges you will face. You can not only overcome those challenges but create a thriving business despite them. Give yourself permission to succeed and launch your business.
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