Top 7 Reasons Why Women Struggle to Grow Their Business (and what to do about it)!

Top 7 Reasons Why Women Struggle to Grow Their Business (and what to do about it)!

The number of female entrepreneurs continues to grow at an impressive rate. While the US Census Bureau reported that 19.9% of all firms in the country are owned and operated by women entrepreneurs in 2018, a survey conducted by the Small Business Trends revealed that 31% of small businesses and franchises in the US are owned by women and that 30% of these businesses have been in operation for more than 10 years.

At present, more than 1,200 new businesses are launched by women entrepreneurs in the US every single day. Judging by the way things are going, the number of female-owned businesses is expected to continue growing for years to come.

Interestingly enough, this development is not confined to the US alone. Similar trends are observed all over the world. For example, there are almost equal numbers of male and female entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean, 47% of entrepreneurs in East Asia and the Pacific are females, and 39% of businesses in the European Union are owned by women. Similarly, 23% of business owners in the Middle East and North Africa and 18% of entrepreneurs in South Asia are women. Overall, women own 36% of all businesses around the world.

Despite the extremely positive outlook and opportunities, women in business encounter several roadblocks on an almost daily basis. Let’s take a look at some of these factors and explore how to overcome these challenges.

7 Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face Every Day

  1. Lack of available funding. Even after demonstrating their ability in running a business, women entrepreneurs often encounter difficulties in securing financial support for their ventures. There are even some instances where they are denied loans due to gender and social biases. Because of limited funding, some are forced to bootstrap their business, raise capital using their personal savings and credit cards, and even ask for financial assistance from family and friends.

  2. Inadequate support system. When establishing a business, you need all the help you can get. Unfortunately, this is a rarity in a woman entrepreneur’s world. Most female business owners have limited connections, mentors, and sponsors who are willing and capable of leading them in the right direction. Aside from affecting their professional growth, the lack of a strong support system causes most women entrepreneurs to delay starting their businesses.

  3. Suboptimal business network. Compared to men, women entrepreneurs find it more difficult to establish or be a part of a credible business network that can help them find customers and build more connections to grow their business.

  4. Conflicting responsibilities and social expectations. No matter where you are in the world, women entrepreneurs are expected to perform a delicate balancing act: that of managing and organizing their homes while running a profitable business. Being a career woman doesn’t give them any leeway. They are expected to carry out all their personal and professional responsibilities with the same level of commitment. Needless to say, this situation normally causes undue stress and stretches them to their limits.

  5. Gender inequality. It is interesting to note that gender inequality is still very much alive in the business world. As mentioned earlier, women entrepreneurs generally have limited access to funding, have smaller networks and support systems, and are expected to conform to outdated societal expectations while male entrepreneurs are afforded more opportunities and an overall better business environment. While strategies have been formulated to address the prevailing gender disparity issues, women entrepreneurs are yet to experience the full effect of these measures.

  6. Low self-confidence. Women entrepreneurs often lack confidence and gravely underestimate their contributions and value to the organization. Even some of the more successful women in business don’t usually flaunt their accomplishments and keep everything low-key.

  7. Fear of failure. Most women are afraid to fail, especially if the people around them are not supportive of their vision and don’t believe in their capability in running a business.

Beating the Odds: 5 Power Tips for Female Business Owners

The business world is a male-dominated society and the odds are clearly in their favor. While this may be the sad, unfortunate truth, you can still do something about it. You may not be able to counter cultural bias but you can definitely and successfully rise up to the challenge, narrow down the gender disparity gap, and claim success by following these simple tips.

  1. Be passionate. If you love what you do, it will definitely show. You’ll have more energy and enthusiasm to do the things that need to be done. More importantly, your joy and optimism will rub on to the people around you and create a better work environment.

  2. Strive for customer satisfaction. Your customers and clients are the lifeblood of the business so aim to deliver the highest quality products and service at all times. Provide personalized work, be generous with your time for clients, and go the extra mile whenever possible. These small things will surely make a great difference.

  3. Build your network. Timidity wouldn’t get you anywhere so gather up your wits and start networking harder than you ever thought possible. With a clear business agenda in mind, start participating in relevant industry networking events, make connections, and keep the relationship going. You can also use social media to further expand your network.

  4. Hire the right team. Surround yourself with hardworking and intelligent people who share the same vision and are committed to working towards attaining a common goal. A flourishing business is the result of a collaborative effort so hiring the right team is crucial to your success.

  5. Maintain work-life balance. No matter how much you love your business, don’t forget that nothing is more important than your family. You can still work on your business and drive it to success without losing sight of what’s more important.

Given the chance and the right opportunity, women can be great entrepreneurs so keep working for your dreams. Success is right in the offing and all you have to do is take the first step toward the right direction.

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