In recent years, more and more women are starting their businesses.
As you know, in the US, more than 11 million firms owned by women. In 2017, women-owned organizations had made more than $1.7 trillion in sales. These numbers are encouraging, but when compared with their male counterparts, women entrepreneurs are still a minority.
The internet and social media have brought down the barrier for entry for everyone. Women are gradually taking advantage of technology and starting their ventures.
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There are a lot of challenges for entrepreneurs, and for women, these challenges only seem to increase. From a lack of support to funding issues, women entrepreneurs have to deal with multiple things and then some when compared to their male counterparts.
Here are the top eight challenges that women face in business:
01. Societal pressures:
Starting a business takes a lot of courage, skill, and luck. Companies take months and years to start becoming profitable.
Entrepreneurs and business founders need to deal with a lot of stress. Women entrepreneurs also have to deal with how society treats them. Primarily when female owners own it, many witness different types of harassment be it on while chatting with visitors on a live chat app for website or email or social media channels discussion.
Women often face a lot of discrimination when they start a venture. Taunts and tantrums are, unfortunately, the norm in most countries in the world.
To be taken seriously, women think that they need to take a more masculine approach. Changing who you are as a person will not have a desirable effect on your business. Being yourself and allowing your business to show its personality is necessary. A company that reflects who you are as a person and your ideals will be able to differentiate itself from its competitors.
By being confident and maintaining your personality, you’ll be able to break society expectations and make your business profitable.
02. Funding issues:
Around 80% of entrepreneurs fund their businesses from their own pockets. Only 20% receive funding from friends and family or financial institutions. Women entrepreneurs are mostly in a financial position don’t have the funds to start a business.
Women have a hard time raising money and funds for their business. Most venture capitalists want to invest in that’ll give them a ten-time return on their investment in less than seven years. Many financial institutions tend to be biased towards male-led ventures as they see them as a more secure investment. Even if they do manage to get some funding, it is significantly lesser than what they had asked for.
In some third world countries, women do not have assets in their name, which is another hurdle when they go to a bank and apply for a loan. A lack of financial education is also a hurdle for most women entrepreneurs.
One way to overcome funding issues is to have female investors support women-led businesses and startups. Another thing that would raise financial literacy among women and increase their chances to get funded would be initiatives that specifically cater to the needs of women entrepreneurs.
03. Work-life balance:
Traditionally, men used to go out and work while women stayed at home and took care of household affairs. Things have changed now.
Women have become an integral part of the workforce. Almost 47% of workers in the United States are women. But demanding personal and professional lives often cause a women entrepreneur, to choose only one. Some women can bear this burden while others can’t.
For entrepreneurs, finding the perfect work-life balance is like finding the holy grail. Only a few entrepreneurs manage to come near to achieving an ideal work-life balance.
For women entrepreneurs, it’s only more robust. Women entrepreneurs have to work relentlessly for their ventures, but they also expected to take care of things at home too.
Attaining a work-life balance is essential if you want your business to flourish and prosper.
Here are some tips on how you can achieve your work-life balance:
- Identify what activities are wasting your time and gradually phase them out.
- Set goals and objectives for each day, so don’t procrastinate.
- Make time for yourself and your hobbies and interests.
- Take time off from work if you feel aren’t as productive anymore.
- Keep making adjustments in your routine that will make your life easier.
04. Government contracts:
Government contracts allow entrepreneurs to get the kickstart they need in their careers. Moreover, government contracts provide your business with stable cash flow even when revenue from others isn’t so high.
Another great thing about government contracts is that most of them are long term contracts. One downside is that payments can take 30 days or more, but once you get your first you ‘ret, you’re generally good to go.
The United States federal government had a goal of spending 5% of its contracting money on female-owned businesses. This goal achieved in 2016, after more than twenty years. One of the reasons why the government was able to reach this goal was because of new rules that allowed various agencies to allocate specific contracts for women-owned businesses only.
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIIP) has different initiatives for women to take advantage of. The ChallengeHER program educates female entrepreneurs in networking and contracting. By signing up for Fedyou’lls, you’ll be able to receive automatic bid notifications.
05. Competing in a male-dominated industry:
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Competing in a male-dominated industry means that women need to be loud and position themselves in a way that shows everyone how great they are.
Alison Gutterman, CEO and president of Jelmar s” ys that “As a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, earning respect has been a “struggle.”
Women sometimes have to deal with comments. While these aren’t necessarily harmful, they won’t be able to perform a particular task up to the mark. Women need to work harder and longer than their male counterparts to prove themselves.
06. Lack of support:
The number of women entrepreneurs is continually increasing, but they are still something of an anomaly. Since female entrepreneurs are so few in the name, they don’t have a vast enough support network among themselves.
Learning from a mentor will often allow you to avoid mistakes, at least in the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey. According to Inc, 48% of female founders reported that there is a lack of mentors and advisors, which limits their professional growth.
Women entrepreneurs should network with their peers and women from other industries. This networking will not only act as support, but it’ll also provide women entrepreneurs with new ideas and different perspectives.
Women entrepreneurs can develop and grow their network by going to conferences and events for women such as WIN Conferences, Bizwomen events, and Women Network. There are several online forums and groups that women can interact with. Asking specific questions related to the problems that you face will often be answered by others who might even provide you with new opportunities later on.
07. Lack of knowledge and information:
Entrepreneurs generally face a lack of knowledge and information as a hurdle in their careers. Schools and don’t teach you the financing you’ll need later on in your life, like how taxes work or what processes does it take to set up a business.
Women entrepreneurs often have limited access to knowledge, and they’ll need to progress in their careers. While the internet is a beautiful thing and has tons of resources for entrepreneurs, sometimes you need a specific answer to a question related to your business.
Having some form of financial and entrepreneurial education in school will help female entrepreneurs significantly in their journeys. Whom do then don’t realize that there are specific grants and resources available to them for their businesses.
The Women Impacting Public Policy (WIIP) has a program” called “give Me 5”. It offers free that’ tells that’ll help women entrepreneurs.
08. Fear of failure:
Failure is a part of life. Startups are prone to failure. Around 50% of businesses fail within the first five years of their operations. With such high chances of wouldn’t be surprising if you are a little afraid of starting your own business now.
There is some good news. While first-time entrepreneurs have a success rate of around 18%, entrepreneurs that had a failed venture in the past have a slightly better chance of success, about 20%. Failure is not something to be afraid of; instead, it should take as a learning experience.
Businesses and startups face all kinds of odds and bear losses before they make a name for themselves. The best way to get educated on entrepreneurship is to start your business. Without you’ll never know your true potential and capabilities. Women entrepreneurs need to exhibit courage and launch their ventures.
Women face many challenges in the entrepreneurial industry. Some of these challenges can easily be solved if all parties give adequate attention.
Women are slowly cementing their positions in the market place, but it will take some time before traditionally male-dominated industries see some form of change.
Women have many examples to look up to, including Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Melinda Gates, J.K Rowling, and many more.
About the Author:
Hamzah Adil is a content writer who writes about technology, business, and entrepreneurship. He also enjoys learning about social media, marketing, and viral trends.
He is currently associated with an IT startup that has created a live chat application called SwiftChat. Live chat software help businesses save costs and provide better customer support for their website visitors.