Entrepreneurs are proud of their success in no small part due to the myriad challenges they must overcome to make their dreams a reality. For women entrepreneurs, the challenges are magnified.
Women face the traditional “boys club” mentality prevalent in many businesses, particularly entrepreneurship; the challenges of securing financing; and the complexities of work-life balance.
Here is a closer look at six ways to overcome the challenges that face women entrepreneurs in 2017. It Is Not a Man’s World
A 2015 study showed there to be an inherent bias when it comes to women entrepreneurs seeking investment interest. There is considerable (wrong) belief that entrepreneurship is the work of men. Yet research by the Kauffmann Foundation, which supports entrepreneurial efforts, indicates women actually have both a more nuanced approach to risk and less of a likelihood to engage in foolhardy risk activities.
Women also suffer from a lack of entrepreneurial role models who can help guide newer entrepreneurs on paths and perspectives more likely to garner success.
Additionally, women are often perceived as being “aggressive” and “bossy” when the same behaviors would be perceived as “assertive” and “confident” in male counterparts.
Overcoming Financial Bias
Kauffmann research indicates that women on average start companies with half as much capital as men. Five years ago, even federal programs designed to give entrepreneurs a leg up were skewed by gender; women only received 15 percent of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research awards.
Access to private capital is also challenging. A Babson College study showed that only 3 percent of venture capital-backed businesses had female CEOs.
Finding Work-Life Balance
In addition to the challenges faced by many women in the working world, they still usually bear the larger share of the household management functions. Providing true work-life balance is a challenge, particularly for women who feel they need to be perfect both at work and at home.
Overcoming Entrepreneurial Obstacles
What can women and those who offer support to them do to overcome these inequities?
- Share the stories. Provide more exposure for successful women entrepreneurs to shine. This storytelling also serves as inspiration and opens up networks for women to connect and mentor.
- Create support networks. Leverage personal and professional networks to find support, both in terms of sound advisors and for other women leaders, whether those women have started their own companies or are leaders in other organizations.
- Forgive yourself. When it comes to work-life balance, no leader should feel obligated to be Wonder Woman. Create realistic expectations and make peace with the fact that no one has to "do it all."
- Address failure. Everyone, male or female, experiences failure in business. Sharpen the coping strategies to react well to missteps and missed opportunities and move forward.
- Ask for help. Find the courage to ask for help, whether it is with a particular business issue, specific expertise, or securing funding.
- Find the right funding. With challenges abundant in seeking small business loans for women, creative financing options are needed.
At Benetrends, we help support women entrepreneurs secure funding to start their own businesses. Using a Benetrends-created strategy, entrepreneurs can create the proper business structure that allows them to tap into existing 401(k) or IRA funding. We also offer SBA loans, and with a 97-plus percent success approval rate, our SBA department is a leading provider in the industry.
These funds can be used to quickly and easily provide start-up funding to acquire a franchise or start a new or existing business. To learn how Benetrends can help you with your entrepreneurial funding needs, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.