If there’s one thing that you can’t deny, then it’s the absolute facts. Statistics show that women-owned businesses are on the rise (58% increment from 2007 to 2018), but this is often misinterpreted without any context. While the statement, in itself, is true, it’s also good to know that these businesses account for only 4% of overall business revenue. The majority of them (roughly 90%) generate less than $100k annually and employ ca. 8% of overall employees in the U.S.
Female entrepreneurs can safely be compared with startups in that they face, more or less, the same kind of obstacles. For one thing, attracting funds is tremendously difficult, and for another, fighting establishing biases is a tiring job.
As the 2019 Columbia Business School study points out,
While efforts to help existing women entrepreneurs are important, two-thirds of the issue is that we do not even see the women become entrepreneurs in the first place or start companies with the right underlying characteristics for attracting VC financing.
Still, women entrepreneurs have learned a thing or two and, more importantly, started implementing and sharing their wisdom. Let’s dive into some of the most precious insights!
Seize the day - every day!
The key is focusing on the right things. We all know there are too many distractions, and many entrepreneurs often fail to stick to the bigger picture trying to do everything right. Everything will never be perfect, and you have to accept that and learn to move on towards your goal.
To do that, you need to assess where your business stands presently and where you see it in the long run. Anything in between is less important; it’s the goal that you should keep in mind at all times.
Simply put, all your strategies, trials and errors should bring you one step closer to your goal. Stay focused on the main thing, much similar to the way that you’d stick to your exercise regimen or vow to be more eco-friendly.
Mistakes are part of success
Mistakes are only wasted if we fail to learn from them. This applies to entrepreneurship no less than to other aspects of life, so don’t get discouraged easily.
Not only is making mistakes in human nature, but it’s also expected in entrepreneurship. Keep in mind the parallel with the startups.
Embrace the differences
While it’s true that great minds think alike, it’s also true that listening to different opinions is the fastest way to success. It’s only to be expected that people with diverse backgrounds and life experiences will have different ways of looking at things.
Let’s consider startups for a moment. They function as families rather than as colleagues simply because success of a startup is shared success. Everyone involved stands to gain from its success and everyone involved loses everything should it fail.
We all stand to learn much from one another if we join forces and direct our efforts towards success.
Let’s face it - failure is discouraging. Quite often, it can be crippling to the extent many people fail to make a full recovery. It’s how we deal with failure that defines the success of our business.
The simplest way to cope with this is to acknowledge that there’ll be failure. Every failure is a lesson and every new attempt will be better for the acquired knowledge. Don’t get discouraged: keep moving on, retaining that goal in mind at all times.
Overthinking would seem to be a trait of intelligent people. However, it’s one of the most efficient success killers, especially in the context of the fast-paced business environment of today.
Learn to accept that there’ll never be “the right timing.” Risks are inevitable; that’s why risk-takers are, as a rule, more successful entrepreneurs than “scaredy cats.” If you wait for better timing, the chance will have been long gone by the time the situation appears more beneficial. Think about it (but don’t overthink!).
Because at the end of the day, it’s connections that make or break a business, it’s important to keep networking.
In the context of female entrepreneurs, it’s even more important than it usually is. Because women often have to look for alternatives to get the chance to be heard (let alone attract funding), constant networking is highly recommended.
Look for funding elsewhere
Venture capital (VC) is rarely the right choice for female entrepreneurs in a much similar way it rarely is for startups. Stats show that only 0.05% of startups manage to raise VC, and this only accounts for the startups we’ve heard of. Obviously, they’ve found some sources along the way, but where?
Usually, funds come from the most unexpected of sources, such as are project fans or customers. If people who can afford to help you financially like your idea and think it might become successful, they’ll invest in it. In that way, you’ll get so much more than just funding - you might get valuable partners.
Women entrepreneurs have evolved far beyond business as usual to become successful. They have it more difficult than men in that they’re crippled in the very beginning - they rarely get the chance to be heard.
To overcome that, they rely on networking, customer relations, and their self-esteem. They also listen to different opinions and make their collaborators part of their success stories. The approach is fundamentally different from the traditional business model in which only executives stand to profit.
Because of all of these reasons, female entrepreneurs often apply startup methodology to reach their goals to bring success to their businesses. This appears to be a good approach, as it’s both inspiring and less stressful. The bottom line is - keep trying and don’t get easily discouraged! Only in that way will you manage to succeed.