Doing business is generally difficult. But for women, it is even more so. Women in business face other challenges on top of the regular challenges that come with running a business.
The good news is there are successful women business owners who have succeeded in spite of these challenges and have gone on to build solid, profitable businesses. If you’re a woman who’s running a business and you’re struggling with your challenges, this blog post is for you.
We’ll be looking at the major challenges that are peculiar to businesswomen, and propose a few practical solutions to these problems.
Poor Funding Opportunities
All new businesses rely on adequate funding to get off the ground and grow. Unfortunately, many women-operated businesses struggle with raising adequate capital because of a lack of funding.
This lack of funding sometimes stems from gender bias. In fact, 41 percent of female entrepreneurs have reported that they experienced gender bias. Yet, if anything, studies have shown that companies established by women founders tend to perform 63 percent better than companies with male-dominated founders.
Those are incredible stats. If you need help with funding opportunities, the good news is some VCs are now focusing on female entrepreneurs. So you can try your luck there. Also, banks are increasingly offering loans and credit lines to female-run businesses. Talk to your local bank about these products and see if you can be a beneficiary.
Difficulty Balancing Their Home and Work Lives
Running a business is a 24/7 job. You need all your concentration and energies on running and growing the business. Unfortunately, the brain doesn’t function optimally when you’re multi-tasking –although women are generally better multitaskers.
Most women aren’t just business owners, founders, and CEOs, they’re also mothers, parents, spouses, and partners. And they have to struggle to keep up with all these roles. This is why many women struggle with finding a balance between all these roles.
This is one of the reasons why women just give up on one of those demands and focus solely on the other. Many let go of their business aspirations in favor of raising their families.
The truth is finding a balance is difficult for even the strongest of women, but it can be done. All it takes is the presence of a support structure that picks up where they’re lacking. As a woman, you need to find that help and support. Talk to your spouse and hire some help if necessary. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.
Inadequate Legal Representation
Running a business isn’t easy. Unfortunately, even when you’re a saintly founder or leader, there are people whose agenda is to wreck your business or steal from you.
When this happens to many women-led businesses, they’re often at a loss for what to do. Interestingly, if they’d had legal counsel ready from the beginning, they’d have been able to tackle that problem.
For every female-run business, understand that you need legal representation and counsel. Some people feel like they can take women-owned businesses to the cleaners because they feel women are weak. Don’t be one of those women.
If you don’t have a lawyer, get one right now –preferably put them on a retainer. Every business owner that’s facing a lawsuit relies on the skills of focused criminal defense attorneys to win their case and get the suit thrown out.
Crippling Fear of Not Succeeding
Every business owner dreads and fears failure. The reality is entrepreneurship is a high-risk endeavor. And even though the odds may not be in your favor, you’ve got to hang in there and give it whatever it takes.
If you think you’re the only woman feeling scared or terrified, talk to other female entrepreneurs. You’ll find that they also feel the same way. The only difference is that successful women entrepreneurs wake up every morning determined to make the most of what’s available, despite their fears.
Forget the skeptical naysayers who said you couldn’t pursue and achieve your dreams. Instead, focus on what’s possible. Take some time every day to read a good book, talk to a business coach if you’re ever feeling low or find a mentor and ask for help. You can and will succeed if you stay true and on track.
Every business is fraught with unique risks. As a woman business leader, you have to work towards minimizing those risks.
Take bold steps, work hard, think strategically, consult with fellow women business owners, find people who have done what you want to do, and ask them for guidance. Do all these and your business will succeed tremendously.
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