According to data from 2015, over nine million U.S. businesses are now women owned. However, there are still hurdles women face as entrepreneurs, generally unique from their male counterparts. In a recent article for Business News Daily, Paula Fernandes puts forth seven challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Interviews with female CEOs are incorporated to offer suggestions for how women can successfully work through the following challenges.
Social. While societal expectations are external, women can internalize these as well, making them their own. Women in business should get used to being in the minority when surrounded by a room full of fellow entrepreneurs, emphasis on fellows, for now. The advice is simple: be yourself.
Financial. Funding for startups and money from venture capitalists can be limited. Since investors tend to want to back investors who are like them, it can be helpful for female entrepreneurs to seek out female investors. However, VC firms with female partners only account for 6% of firms. Developing a top-notch team and business plan will open more doors for your business.
Working with and leading men. Whether managing business in an industry that’s still male-dominated or simply managing men who aren’t interested in following a woman’s orders, women can struggle to grow a firm when men are in the picture. Overcoming negative actions or words from male counterparts or subordinates can be a head game. In addition, spending sufficient time with other women business owners can play an important role in letting go of negativity and allowing confidence in your abilities to take over.
Sharing your successes. From young ages, girls can be inadvertently trained to minimize their achievements. In business, this can be coupled with women not wanting to be perceived as braggarts when discussing their accomplishments. In addition to feeling confident about sharing their success stories, recognizing the value of knowledge can also be important for women to guard against providing too much free advice.
Networking. It takes a community to support its business owners. Setting up the right connections for your business is as important as other aspects, like finding financing. In addition to traditional entrepreneur networks, finding women-specific networking opportunities is also important.
Work-life balance. While this challenge applies to both men and women who own businesses and raise families, women in business face unique scrutiny when it comes to their choices to balance work and home commitments. Decide which business events and which life events are most important and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about what you miss.
Finally, the primary concern for women entrepreneurs is a fear of failure. However, failing is a real possibility for all entrepreneurs, male or female. Ultimately, allow your confidence to be in the driver’s seat. When you are confident and successful, gender won’t matter.
For additional information or to read the full article, visit Business News Daily.