According to research, there are millions of women-owned businesses in the United States alone. One survey revealed there could be as many as over 12.3 million female-owned enterprises in the country. This accounts for approximately 40 percent of all businesses in the U.S. Combined, all these female-led companies made more than $1.8 trillion in a single year.
Women have established enterprises in varied fields, from digital advertising companies to small businesses that sell natural preservatives for cosmetics. Despite these accomplishments, women aspiring to be businessowners still face an uphill battle due to institutional sexism ingrained in much of the business world.
If you're planning on opening your own business, here are some common hurdles you may face and a few tips that will help you get over them.
Common Hurdles of Female Business Owners
Women in business face a lot of flak, whether its sexism when you're an employee or sexism when you plan on being the boss. Some of the most common challenges you may face as an aspiring businessowner include the following hurdles:
Female businessowners have a harder time amassing the capital needed to launch their businesses than their male counterparts. According to one depressing study, only 2.2 percent of the money given by all venture capitalists in 2018 went to female founded businesses. This is $10 billion less funding than a single company raised to make e-cigarettes. Women who wish to be businessowners have to contend with unequal pay if they want to raise the moneys themselves not to mention the pressure of maintaining a family or personal life. Thankfully, you can take out home loans and explore other funding options if venture capitalists are scarce.
Females businessowners may be pressured by potential backers and investors to rebrand their ideas into something more feminine. Although there's nothing wrong with women wanting to open bakeries, cosmetics stores or nail salons, other people tend to restrict women to only these kinds of enterprises. This is one reason you may find it difficult to have investors be confident with your business if its outside what's considered "feminine" industries.
Because of how unfairly the deck is often stacked against women in business, you may feel like you won't be able to handle the pressure and sexism. This is not the case. As the information above attests, millions of women have proven stereotypes wrong and have excelled in different fields. You may find it worthwhile to cultivate a support system to give you the inspiration and guidance you need through your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tips of Overcoming Common Challenges
The challenges listed above are the most common, but they're not the only ones that could try to prevent you from opening your own business.
Here are useful tips that can help you own being a female entrepreneur.
If you're having trouble attracting venture capitalists and you don't want to put your personal finances at risk, there is another way you can raise the money you need to open a business. Crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe have helped millions of aspiring businessowners start their enterprises. The mechanics for each site if fairly simple; you just have to promise your backers and those who give the most contributions something from your business, like its primary product or perhaps a small stake in your company. Take note that these platforms don't offer a guaranteed amount and you should have backup plans just in case.
The first years of a small business are usually very shaky which is why you shouldn't weather them alone. Team up with other female-led businesses to strengthen your enterprises. Seek out organizations and groups where you and other female entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, share advice and give aid to one another. Other women-owned businesses can be the source of profitable partnerships, especially if your businesses are compatible.
Don't be afraid to self-advertise, both your personal accomplishments and those of your business. Too often women and female endeavors are downplayed or overlooked, and you cannot continue that cycle. If you have an accomplishment you feel could help raise interest in your business, post about it on social media or put it up on your site.
Don't focus solely on your business's problems and issues. Although you shouldn't lose track of them to the point they can undermine your enterprise, you should instead bend your energies to what your business excels at. This will allow you to improve your services without making your business stall while you try to shore up your weaknesses.
Finally, don't curb to the pressure put on women to do more than they can handle just to "keep up" with men. Too often, women entrepreneurs are held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. Although it is important to have great metrics, don't forget to take some time off for yourself. Without rest and recuperation, you'll burn out and accomplish even less. So indulge yourself whenever you feel like you need to.
Women make up half the planet's population and you can show the other half that everything they can do, you can do too. Running your own businesses is one way and, while challenging, you don't have to face those hurdles on your own.