Challenges Female Entrepreneurs Face : Who comes to your mind when you think of successful entrepreneurs? Perhaps, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates? Despite the leading trend of workplace diversity, there are still very few successful female entrepreneurs.
Although women have established businesses in the past decade, so lack of female entrepreneurs is not the issue. Few female entrepreneurs reach the top because they face unprecedented pressures in the industry due to gender bias and stereotypical mindsets. However, despite such challenges, women continue to provide excellence.
Today, one in every three businesses in the world is owned by women. However, the battles women face in pursuing entrepreneurship are plentiful, and their journey is full of obstacles. Preset notions make it arduous for women to step into the business world, not just in conservative societies but even in developed countries. If you wish to know more, continue reading to shed some light on the challenges women face in the business world.
Getting People to Take You Seriously
Female entrepreneurs often get to hear “I don’t get what you’re doing” or “I don’t see why there is any need for it.” Between 2014 and 2019, businesses owned by females have increased by 21%. Despite these growing numbers, female entrepreneurs don’t receive the same recognition as other entrepreneurs. They don’t get enough attention from potential partners, approaching customers, or even their connections. Mainly because people think women aren’t serious enough about their work.
Facing frequent criticism and knowing you are getting judged based on your gender instead of accomplishments can be highly frustrating. However, you need to stay optimistic, keep your cool and stand your ground. Use your incredible entrepreneur skills to walk potential clients and investors over your ideas and suggestions. Do not be rude or bossy; try explaining in a polite and friendly manner.
Duties and Social Expectations Balance
A person plays multiple roles throughout their lives, and each part comes with some responsibility and expectations. Many women entrepreneurs have families, husbands, and duties along with the pressure to be successful businesspeople. The constant demands on their time and juggling around tasks often put women under a lot of stress, leaving them with what is generally considered only two options: give up their company or home. However, there is a third option. It might be challenging and demanding, but if you master it, you will have a life free from regrets. Maintain a work-life balance. Start prioritizing tasks — pick what is essential and cut out everything else. Setting your personal and professional goals will allow you to distribute your time accordingly and create a well-strategized plan. All you need to do is stick to that plan instead of devoting yourself more to one aspect of your life. This way, you can be a proactive boss who manages their company without missing out on those special moments with family.
Difficulty in Accessing Funds
Most female entrepreneurs start their businesses by draining their lives savings or taking on a full-time job to fund their venture. While this may seem like something most entrepreneurs do, it is especially applicable for women as they fail to receive funding from external sources. Banks are often hesitant to give loans to female entrepreneurs as they consider them high-risk clients.
Not getting enough capital to invest in their business continues to be an issue for female entrepreneurs. As a result, many female entrepreneurs opt for high-interest loans given by FinTech companies, but that’s not a viable option. Thus, it is crucial that you find the right investors who believe in you and your idea. Similarly, you can look for female-run VC partners who are likely to invest more in women-owned enterprises. Lastly, explore crowdfunding forums and generate some funds from the public.
Being Labeled as Too Emotional
A common stereotype about women is that they are too sentimental and thereby weak. This presumption often drowns female entrepreneurs into self-doubt. Being labeled as emotional plays out differently depending on the situation. Some male investors might recognize women as not stable enough to run a business. In contrast, potential employees might prefer having a female boss, thinking they will be able to get away with not working hard or meeting their deadlines.
How can female entrepreneurs overcome this? Keep a level head on your shoulders and make decisions based solely on practicality. However, this does not mean you should bury your emotions; learn to embrace them. For instance, if you hear feedback like you are too empathic, think positively about it; it might allow you to build a solid and hardworking team. If you treat your workers humanely and they feel that you care about them, they will put extra effort into their work.
Troubles in Finding a Supportive Network
A healthy support network is essential for entrepreneurial success as most companies today are still ringing true with ‘it is not what you know but who you know. Since men still own the majority of high-level businesses today, it’s hard for women to find their place. 48% of females report that a lack of available guides and mentors limits their professional development.
Some females are forced to work on a small scale due to movement restrictions, as they find it tough to become a member of various organizations or social groups, which also restricts their access to new markets. Finding a solid support network isn’t easy, but you can start with women-focused networking events. Besides that, you can join online forums and groups created exclusively for women and participate in seminars being held to encourage future female entrepreneurs. But above all, let your work speak for you. Providing the best products or services will open many doors for you and will get you access to people who respect, admire and support your efforts.
Entrepreneurship is quite unbalanced and troubled with unpredictable situations. Nearly all female entrepreneurs have to fight several doubts on a daily basis. On top of it, there are uncountable challenges they have to face, making it more difficult for them to thrive. However, no challenge is too big if you are willing to fight. The best way to break the stereotypical mindsets and achieve the success you deserve is by trusting yourself, staying focused and keeping at it. Remember the Latin phrase ‘Vincit qui patitur’ (translation: he who suffers conquers).
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