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Overcoming issues facing women business owners

Published on December 6, 2023 | Webster Bank

While women are taking the business and entrepreneurial world by storm, they are still faced with inequalities and obstacles that their male counterparts are not. Here are four challenges women business owners are facing today — and ways to overcome them.

Challenges

1. Access to funding.

Women may own 42 percent of U.S. small businesses, but they continue to face challenges when it comes to obtaining funding. Even though the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 affirmed equal access to capital, men are still 3 times more likely to get a business loan than women — and frequently, women receive smaller loans than men.

2. Equal sales.

On average, women-owned businesses make less money. According to Biz2Credit’s 2022 Women-Owned Business Study, women-owned businesses brought in an average annual revenue of $475,707, whereas men-owned businesses brought in an average annual revenue of $675,643. This, in part, may be due to the lack of outside funding obtained by women entrepreneurs to propel their businesses forward.

3. Equal respect as a CEO.

Women often face more scrutiny and less opportunity in the workplace than men —especially as a CEO. In addition to gender stereotypes still permeating everyday interactions, we see this directly in hiring practices, which provide women with less opportunities in leadership roles. For every 100 men promoted to manager positions, only 87 women — and 73 women of color — receive the same promotion. Consequently, managerial roles are more dominated by men, leaving fewer opportunities for women to eventually reach senior leadership positions.

When owning your own business, these unfortunate patterns can still impact daily operations, whether with employees or external partners.

4. Maintaining self-confidence.

When impacted by inequal opportunities, it can be hard to maintain self-confidence. Women have fewer CEO role models who look like them. Many workplace cultures have told them they don’t belong at the head of the table. This often leaves women business owners with fears of failure or inadequacy.

Solutions

1. Find a bank that prioritizes equality.

When looking for funding, women entrepreneurs can look to banks that prioritize specific solutions for minority and women owned businesses. This provides access not only to capital lending programs, but also Small Business Administration (SBA) programs and access to small business solutions from checking and savings accounts to credit cards and more.

2.Get certified.

When hoping to increase sales, it never hurts to become certified as a woman-owned business. Many corporations and government agencies specifically look to work with women-owned businesses — and becoming certified will widen your net and tell them you’re a viable option.

3. Show you know.

Commanding respect is often about demonstrating confidence and expertise. Show you know your industry. Show you know what you’re saying. And show you know you belong in the room as much as your male colleagues.

One great way to show you know your industry is to know how your brand fits into it. Do your research, know the industry landscape, hone your business’ identity, and determine how to speak to it. Remember, how you say it is how you sell it.

Confidence often powers success. Train yourself to eliminate uncertain phrases such as, “I think,” or apologetic preambles like, “Maybe this is just how I see it but…”. Believe that your ideas are valuable. Stand tall. And remember, if you can build a business, you can build self-confidence.

4. Network with allies.

Owning a business comes with a multitude of challenges that can erode confidence — it helps to have a support system. Find professional groups for women business owners for support and idea sharing. When you connect with others who can relate firsthand to your experiences, it builds self-assurance.

Pay it forward. Mentor young professional women to build a culture of confidence in your company. Instilling confidence in others often leads to self-confidence.

Ready to take the next step?

Find a trusted ally, like those at Webster, who will work with you hands-on to reach your goals — with a team who understands the complex lending needs of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE)1, Webster can help with SBA-guaranteed loans and lines of credit in multiple forms and terms.

Connect with Webster Bank today.

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The opinions and views herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. Please consult professional advisors with regard to your individual situation.

All credit products, pricing and overdraft protection are subject to the normal credit approval process. Some applications may require further consideration and/or supplemental information. Certain terms and conditions may apply

1Also referred to as Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWOBs) and defined by the FDIC as companies which are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more minorities or women.

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