The biggest roadblock to starting a new business for anyone—even if the idea you have got is viable—is money. When it comes to women entrepreneurs, the challenge is increased multifold. Women still face a lot of issues in today’s world, where the lines between man and woman have been blurred ever so slightly.
Entrepreneurship was once considered a man’s realm, but now, the tide has turned: there are a lot of women entrepreneurs today at the helm of their business. Although more and more women are embracing business ownership, they often face challenges that are not typically faced by their male counterparts. The following are some problems faced by women entrepreneurs, today.
1. Social Expectations
Society’s expectations have still not changed—that a woman should be the nurturer and the man, the provider. This, by far, is the biggest challenge faced by any woman in the entrepreneurship world. But they are managing to break the glass ceilings and pave a way for themselves. Lots of women come out successful, despite having faced oppositions and challenges.
Usually, women feel that if they assume a stereotypically aggressive male attitude toward business, they will be protected from the harsh world. But successful female entrepreneurs have time and again proved that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice is the key to rising gracefully above all the preconceived notions.
2. Working Alongside Men
While female entrepreneurs are rising in number every year, most would still consider the business scene to be male-dominated. A challenge arises when you are a female giving directions to males who may not want direction. Female entrepreneurs might have to deal with subtle ego politics when it comes to conducting business because society is structured so. And while the scenario is changing, there is still a long way to go.
The best way to overcome this would be to find yourself a mentor and learn from them. An outside perspective and experience can help you grow and learn.
3. Lack of Funds
Funding is the most crucial aspect of any business. Any founder who has tried to look for investors know how difficult the pitching process can be. Raising capital is even more difficult for women-owned enterprises. According to experts, venture capitalists tend to invest in their own “tribe”, which means having more female investors to support one another can be a way to work through the challenge.
4. Finding a Support Network
Building a support network is important for any entrepreneur—be it man or woman. Alack of mentors limits their professional growth over time. The ever so popular business saying is that “It’s not what you know but who you know”, can be a huge factor in your ultimate success. Know where to find the right mentor/support network. This could include women-focused networking events as well as online forums and groups targeted at women players in the business field.
5. Balancing Business and Personal Life
Perhaps, one of the toughest challenges faced by women not only in India but all over the world—women are traditionally expected to look after the household and cater to their children’s needs.
The desire to achieve a work-life balance is the ultimate goal of any entrepreneur regardless of their gender. But female businesswomen have it rough as they are expected to simultaneously run their families and as well as their enterprise. Even though society has progressed, gender expectations still prevail.
6. Overcoming and Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Famous and top women entrepreneurs have overcome the glass ceiling despite having faced numerous challenges and setbacks. The glass ceiling is very real. But there are many famous female entrepreneurs who have broken it. It is not impenetrable—as many would believe it.
Women-run ventures are gaining traction as more and more women-founded companies are sprouting by the day. Running a family is not coming in the way for women looking to start their own business. More and more investors are looking at the viability of the business idea rather than the gender of the founder of the co-founder.
If you are a woman entrepreneur looking for success, hear this—all it takes is hard work and having the smart work ethic to overcome the barrier. You could approach a business plan consultant if you are in the early phases of setting up your company. A business development consultant would help you with the nitty-gritty while you stay focused on your actual business.
OurBusinessLadder is a business consulting company, specializing in market research and business advisory. We are one of the best business plan consultants and aim to help people with business ideas and turn them into entrepreneurs.