While it’s true that more women than ever are starting a business, the challenges women face remain daunting. Money Examiners talked to three female business owners to find out about the unique hurdles faced by females who want to open their own shop. We discovered eye-opening facts, and we knew we had to share them with you.
1. Limited Funding
A huge percentage of female entrepreneurs are forced to bootstrap their ventures or raise their own funds because a venture capitalist isn’t about to walk through that door. Not to mention one dirty little secret that many folks don’t know. It is very common for females to experience a “no” to a loan request because of gender bias. Not to mention the cultural bias in their numbers. Suffice it to say, combine a female face with a foreign accent, and the too many times, the question is answered without being asked.
2. Balancing Responsibilities
A woman is many things. She has a family, a spouse, and perhaps other responsibilities outside the office. The family unit expects a mother and a wife. The business requires a committed leader. Too many women find themselves overwhelmed, and step away from one role or another. In any case, this is a difficult, gut-wrenching, choice.
3. Fear of Failure
Social scientists tell us that fear of the unknown is a bigger issue for female entrepreneurs than it is for their male counterparts. This is toxic because confidence is a foundation stone of a successful startup, whether online or brick and mortar. A lack of confidence, especially when accompanied by doubt from her family and friends, can thrash an otherwise successful business model.
4. Inadequate Support System
A failing business can be caused by the owner’s sense of abandonment. An entrepreneur, regardless of gender, needs mentors to guide them on this new pathway. Men, by their sheer number, have somewhere to turn more often than not.
5. Limited Knowledge
It is said that Graduation Day from college is the first day of wisdom Kindergarten. All of life, whether you are an entrepreneur or not, is a learning process in which each morning dawns bearing some new information. A female entrepreneur must gain this wisdom with fewer examples from whom to learn.
But, here is the good news and the light at the end of the tunnel. Your business success as a female entrepreneur doesn’t only motivate you to work smarter and achieve great things. It’s inspirational to everyone around you. Just like Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook has inspired other women to take their rightful place in the corporate boardroom. Just as the international force of nature we call Oprah Winfrey and former First Lady Michelle Obama are leaders and entrepreneurs, who motivate other women to achieve their dream. A woman’s success is a beacon of growth and prosperity. When a successful business is led by a woman, others follow.
Money Examiners is grateful to the three female entrepreneurs who gave of their valuable time to talk with us. They chose to remain anonymous, but we gained great insight from our time together.