Today is a great time to become a woman entrepreneur. Women are starting businesses in increasing numbers because they are leaving the corporate world and choosing not to participate in its politics, glass ceiling, gender discrimination, and work-life unbalances. Their frustration with the gender gap, pay inequality, and advancement issues has driven women to become independent actors on their own.
Women entrepreneurs have different motivating factors when deciding to jump into business ownership. Take a look at these five specific factors why some women branch out and become entrepreneurs:
1. Financial gain
2. Creativity and the need to put their ideas into practice
3. The ideas of the ease of starting a new venture
4. The desire to be their own boss
5. Independence-the desire not to work for someone else
Whatever their individual motivation, millions of women are making the decision to become entrepreneurs. Let’s talk about a few more points about why it is an exciting time for the woman business owner.
Good News for Women in Business
The forecast looks great! Women are succeeding and thriving in business on their own terms. According to a Forbes article, “2014 will be a stellar year for women entrepreneurs.” Illustrating this point further, the National Association of Women Business Owners has stated that more than 9.1 million companies are women-owned and expected to generate $1.4 trillion in sales in 2014. Now that’s a great forecast showing the potential and the huge impact from women on the nation’s economy! What’s more impressive is that there is a diverse universe of businesses being created and run by a mosaic of women. Are you in this number and ready to dive in? If so, there is nothing but continued opportunities on the horizon for the woman business owner.
The time is right and the climate is right for you to become an entrepreneur. The opportunities are there and the landscape is diverse. This includes all types of businesses from high tech companies to mompreneurs to recent college graduates choosing to create their own destiny. While women are succeeding across the board, certain industries are benefiting. One example is the technology industry. Women are major players in starting high tech companies and have consistently outperformed their male counterparts, which puts to rest a number of myths and stereotypes about the longevity of women-owned businesses and the lack of appeal of “non-traditional” industries to women, including alcohol sales, service, construction, and manufacturing.
How Women Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Their Skills
The success rate of the woman entrepreneur can also be attributed to her ability to navigate and fully utilize social media. Women have been able to integrate their business skills with social media as a critical tool in the marketing mix of their marketing plans. And what’s ironic is that women entrepreneurs have become successful at doing what women have done for ages – share information with each other. By doing this, they have changed the face of business and the way business is conducted. Many women create businesses around their needs, such as flexible schedules. In addition, they make businesses work for them instead of them working for the business.
Another skill that women have used to increase their success is the power of their relationships. In other words, networking. Women are utilizing networks to knock down doors and create opportunities. Women business owners are using a variety networking activities to increase their success. Some good networking activities may include entrepreneurial workshops, networking groups, business incubators, and business mentoring. As a woman entrepreneur, surrounding yourself with other women entrepreneurs is important to your business’ growth and success. Developing and maintaining sound business relationships should be important to you as a business owner. Therefore, networking is a key tactic women entrepreneurs must employ in their marketing strategies to increase their business’ longevity and success.
Funding for Women Small Business Owners
As in the case of their male counterparts, business funding is crucial for growth in any business. It can be a scary process for any entrepreneur, man or woman. You may ask, “Where can I obtain funding? How do I go about getting capital?” Or you may have other daunting questions about how to begin their own business. But it shouldn’t be. As a woman entrepreneur, you are in a great space. Lenders and investors are focusing more on women-owned businesses, and this is emerging as a great opportunity for women because targeting women-owned businesses make them money. According to research conducted by Dow Jones, “Venture-backed companies that include more women on their executive management teams are more likely to succeed.” So there you have it. There’s data to back up the notion that women entrepreneurs rock and that there are funding choices for your business.
Today in addition to traditional business loans from financial institutions, there is a myriad of innovative and interesting financial alternatives. Make sure you conduct your research as to which type of funding is a good fit for your business goals. Let’s take a look at a few options.
- Lines of Credit – Accessing a line of credit for your business will assist you in managing your cash flow. This type of funding is useful to businesses that have seasonal cash flow challenges. Companies such as Kabbage provide access to capital through a business line of credit. In most cases, you are able to access cash instantly.
- Crowdfunding – This type of funding has become a popular innovative alternative to seeking a traditional business loan. It allows you to raise money via the internet for projects and/or small business financing. Although this type of funding initially emerged for creative projects, there are crowdfunding sites that now exist to fund different types of small businesses. Some crowdfunding sites include Kickstarter, Rock The Post, Indiegogo, and Angellist.
- Angel Investors – An angel investor is an individual or group of individuals who use their resources to fund a business in return for a stake in the company. This practice has recently become one in which the investors form groups in order to utilize different resources for lending.
- Woman Owned Business Grants – There are several grants that have been allocated for women in business. You can access a list of grants through the Small Business Administration using their Loans and Grant Search Tool. You can view a list of grants available here: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants
In addition to the funding alternatives listed, there has been a recent push for lenders to invest more with women. Financial institutions and alternative investors realize that in most cases women control the bulk of consumer spending. This is true in both their businesses and personal life, so it makes sense to include women-owned businesses in their portfolios.
The Changing Face of Women Entrepreneurship
So there you have it. The playing field has been made easy for you. The climate is in your favor as a woman entrepreneur. It’s time to create your destiny and turn the dream into a reality. The future for women entrepreneurs is a bright one. This is in part because women are optimistic about their chance in business as well as that of their peers. This is also because with the advancement of technology. There are opportunities that exist for women that did not previously exist. This is evidenced with the growth of the internet. Home based businesses, mompreneurs, and women-owned sole proprietorships have become the majority. Because of this today, women exist as the face of entrepreneurship. As a woman, you can create the work-life balance you desire along with unlimited earning potential. By becoming a woman entrepreneur, you can take your skills, marry them with your ambition, and create the life you want.
This article was written by Chantal Towles, President of Creative Business Assistants, LLC, provides dynamic, customer-focused, small business incorporation services, as well as compliance and virtual business support services. To learn more about Creative Business Assistants visit www.cbadirect.com or view Chantal’s profile on LinkedIn.