Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the following article are those of the guest author and do not represent or reflect Mentor Works Ltd.
It’s no secret that there are a set of specific challenges related to being a small business owner, but even more so for women in business. Women have come a long way from the days where entrepreneurial territory was considered an ‘old boys club’, but as more and more women find themselves in startup situations, they begin to struggle with business issues that their male counterparts do not face. If you’re a woman who’s come up against challenges in your business journey, here are some tips that will assist you to overcome such concerns.
Finding investors isn’t an absolute necessity when starting a business, but for many entrepreneurs it is a valuable startup consideration. With this in mind, it’s important to note that women-owned startups are statistically less likely to receive funding than those owned by men. In order to counter this, the best defense is a great offence; investors are looking for a sure-thing. Make the effort to ensure that your team consists of people who can strike confidence into the hearts of those you’re presenting to. A strong team and well-prepared business plan are the two elements that will give investors confidence in your idea and make them driven to invest in your business.
In contrast to men in business, women tend to have a more tender, emotionally driven side that can impact decision making and communication styles. In some ways, women are hardwired to nurture, which can stand in the way of making tough business decisions. Women and men handle business in different ways, but women tend to focus on personal relationships within business. This is an excellent method that offers us an advantage, as long as we are business-driven in our focus.
Stop Thinking Like a Man
Understanding that men and women approach business differently isn’t enough to guarantee success as a women entrepreneur. One challenge which many women face in business is the idea that we must behave the same way as a male counterparts would. While being a woman inherently means that we’ll value different things and make different decisions in business, that’s not always a bad thing. Your approach to business issues is going to be unique, and that’s a good thing. Be yourself, and don’t be intimidated when the men outnumber you. Let intuition guide your initiatives and you’ll do great.
Not all women in business are married or have children, but for those who do, it can be a major challenge finding a balance between business success and home life. It’s not impossible to achieve balance between family and business, but there is a perception within the business community that women without families are less distracted and better able to focus on business. The key to success is finding the time for both, and creating boundaries which work for you. This is especially true if you work from home.
Believing in Yourself
One of the hardest aspects of being a woman entrepreneur is to believe in your own achievements. We worry that we’ll sound arrogant or boastful if we have something positive to say about the things that we’ve done. Keep in mind that you are your strongest advocate. If you won’t sell your business by sharing your expertise, no one else is going to do it for you. You are a worthwhile investment, and you need to believe it!
About the Author
Leigh Mitchell is a passionate social marketer and storyteller with 20 years of marketing and community development experience, specializing in helping brands to share their story and create deeper connections with their customers. She is also the founder of Women in Biz Network and is most proud of her work creating the Mentor Her Biz and Social for Good movements. Her career has led her to successful work with major brands such as GM Canada, Microsoft Canada, TELUS, Johnson & Johnson, Maple Leaf Foods, TD Canada Trust, Staples Canada and Random House. Leigh has been featured on CBC Radio, Canadian Living Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and has been a featured speaker at the #SocialforGood Conference, Blissdom Canada, The Wellness Business Summit and has served as a judge for UPS and Microsoft Small Business Contests.
About Women in Biz Network
Established in 2010, Women in Biz Network mentors, encourages and supports women in their pursuit of achieving a happy, healthy and financially successful lifestyle. We offer weekly co-working and wellness meetups in Toronto and Vancouver with on-site skills mentorship.
Our point of difference is that we connect a growing network of over 32,000 women from across the country. Our training and mentorship services (coupled with monthly challenges, action plans, templates and tools) are both online and in-person to provide our busy members with flexibility and choice. Our annual sell-out national conferences make a fabulous opportunity to network and learn from other women in business. We also promote our members’ talents to a wide audience (members and non-members alike), making it easier for others to find and connect with our talented group of women. The Women in Biz Network web site hosts member-generated content focusing on helping business women to lead fulfilling lives without limits. Articles are geared toward style, health, business and travel. We also encourage members to post announcements, job postings, blogs they love, testimonials, and advice to create an online hub of inspiration and empowerment.
Learn more about becoming a member now! Mentor Works’ blog readers can save 50% off membership using the code WIBN50.