Around 50 years ago, gender discrimination was at an all-time high. The idea of women starting and heading their own companies was just that--an idea that seemed overambitious at best.
But times have changed.
American Express, women started an average of 1817 new businesses each day of 2019. These startups brought the number of women-run businesses in the U.S. to nearly 13 million--representing 42% of all American companies. And while the numbers look promising, women-owned startups need more to thrive. Here are 4 things women startups need:
Every startup needs capital to get off the ground. And the pitching process isn't child’s play. Raising money may be even more difficult for women-owned startups as most venture capital companies are male-dominated. And in the words of Bonnie Crater, President of Full Circle Insights, "Venture capitalists fund startups run by their own tribe."
You may need to look for other ways to fund your startup, like crowdfunding, grants for women entrepreneurs, and funding programs by other successful
female founders. Of course, you can also tap into your savings, sell an asset, or get a bank loan. Or you can simply use your car as collateral for a loan. Finding a good lender can be as simple as googling “title loans near me
2. Defy Social Expectations
Although the world has become accustomed to women running businesses, men still dominate the business world. To survive in this extremely competitive industry, women are expected to adopt a "male" attitude of competitiveness, harshness, and unusual aggressiveness. We’re not here to shove that same advice down your throat. Don’t let societal conditioning or people’s expectations get the best of you.
According to Hilary Genga, the CEO of Trunkettes, “Being yourself is better than going with social expectations. It gives you the confidence you need to compete with others.” Don’t seek people’s approval, just work hard and have all the qualities of good leaders
3. Build a Support Network
The entrepreneurial journey is lonely and difficult. And just as you needed help growing up, you’ll need a robust support network to succeed in business. Most high-level business networks are male-dominated, but with a little research, you can find the right network.
Some good places to look include the
eWomenNetwork, and online. There are online communities created for women in business, like
Ellevate Network. Once you find the right support network, make the most of the opportunity and follow the advice you get to succeed.
4. Own Your Accomplishments
Taking the time to recognize your accomplishments, both big and small, fosters positive emotions such as self-respect and confidence. It also helps you believe that you’re worthy of your own approval. As Molly MacDonald of The Mobile Locker Co. notes, “Many women find it difficult to convey their own value as leaders in business."
It's common to find many women not wholly owning their accomplishments as society didn't prepare them to be in control. And that's not good for your business. The only way you’ll be seen as an authority in your industry is if you own your successes.
Women-owned startups can thrive just like men-owned startups. But it’s a little harder for women, and more effort is required if you want to make your startup great.