In virtually every industry, women are taking the leap and putting their own unique stamp on the professional arena. According to the recent U.S. Census report, the number of women-owned businesses grew by approximately 30% over the past decade. Just in my own small network, over the past month alone, three women have announced their plans to begin an entrepreneurial venture. But, although today women launch at a faster rate than men, they face unique challenges when it comes to growing their business beyond the starter phase.
At the onset, it is access to funding that presents the biggest hurdle. But taking it further, there are other often deep-rooted challenges that can impact women’s ability to grow their ventures. For example:
- Women are less likely to tout their own horn than men, doing less marketing and advertising which can have a detrimental effect on the bottom line.
- Women’s networks, and thereby the support they receive, are typically more limited than men’s.
- Women continue to be primarily responsible for family caretaking activities, and have to find a work-life fit that balances both responsibilities.
Finding ways to overcome these challenges takes dedication, clarity of vision, confidence and persistence towards goals despite failure and obstacles. It takes individual grit. But it also takes a community of support.
It’s that outside support that can make a difference, both on the emotional level and for the bottom line.
With the holidays upon us, I ask that you look around and see where you may be able to make that difference today. We all have a friend or a neighbor that can use our help. Whether it’s an on-line jewelry making business, a clothing shop down the street, a bookstore, or a social capital venture, they can not do it without you.
If you are curious how you can support them, there is always something you can do, and it usually doesn’t require a lot of time or effort, or even money.
- Promote the business within your circles of family and friends.
- Shop local. Every bit of business helps to take it to the next level.
- Make introductions at parties and events to help expand and grow the business owner’s network of support.
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!