Seven significant challenges women entrepreneurs face

Are you considering starting a business? or already running one? Discover seven significant challenges women entrepreneurs face.

Most Americans see men and women as equally capable regarding some qualities and behaviors essential for top leaders in business and politics. Although more women are taking up space in senior management and leadership roles, they still make up a small share in both fields.

Women running their businesses, no matter their industry, still face challenges despite the growing number of female leaders. Even the most successful female entrepreneurs with billions of net worth have had to overcome particular career obstacles.

As a business owner, whether beginner or seasoned, being a woman in your respective industry comes with hardships that might affect your confidence and self-image. You must understand these issues so you can address them better and critically.

This article will discuss the challenges you may encounter as a women entrepreneur. We will also highlight how you can overcome them.

What challenges do women entrepreneurs face, and how can you overcome them?

Every business owner has their hiccups in running and maintaining their business. However, specific issues are more common and significant among women. Fortunately, you can triumph over these problems.

Let’s examine the challenges you could face as a female entrepreneur and the tips for overcoming them.

1) Battling social expectations

If you attend a professional networking event, you might count the number of women in the crowd with just your fingers. This struggle can affect your social expectation that more women would be in the event. Concurrently, the atmosphere can be intimidating when you talk business in a male-dominated gathering.

This situation may prompt you to adopt a stereotypical masculine business attitude: being competitive. While this attitude can help establish your name in your industry, many successful female entrepreneurs believe that being yourself and having your own voice are the ways to overcome your social expectations.

Be confident because you achieved your position through hard work. Don’t conform to the masculine ideas of what leaders should be. Make authoritative impressions by introducing your name and your business straightforwardly.

2) Struggling to earn respect or be taken seriously

At one point in their careers, many female entrepreneurs worked in male-dominated workplaces that didn’t want to acknowledge their leadership. On some occasions, people may not take you seriously. 

This disapproval can leave you struggling to earn respect. For instance, if you inherit a family business, people may assume you live off of your father’s and grandfather’s names. This negative perception may hinder you from reaching your full potential.

You can build your confidence by joining support groups for women business leaders to combat this. These groups have peers and mentors who can inspire, guide, and help you recognize your capabilities. Consequently, you gain insights from different perspectives and experiences that can enrich your career.

3) Limited access to funds

Most female entrepreneurs have difficulty in raising capital and acquiring new funding models. Many investors are more likely to back startups within their network. Conversely, venture capital (VC) firms with female partners will more likely invest in women-led companies. However, the share of female investors in VC firms is still small.

If you’re looking for investors, build your company’s confidence with an excellent team and proficient business plan. Create strategies proving your team can execute your operations and grow your valuation to over $1 billion. This way, investors can be confident that their investments will be fruitful in your company.

Another way to overcome this challenge is by getting support from women investors. Look for women-led investor groups that provide funding and strategic educational workshops that can help grow your startup.

4) Owning accomplishments

Most young girls are taught to connect with others and make decisions together. While this is great for building a sense of teamwork, it may hinder you from speaking up and owning your achievements because you don’t want to sound boastful. Consequently, you might not recognize your abilities and share how valuable you are.

To overcome this issue, find ways—no matter how simple—to recognize the value of your knowledge and creative ideas. Don’t settle for less and provide too much expertise without financial commitments from potential clients. 

Additionally, support your initiatives with solid strategies so you’re always prepared for clients’ and investors’ questions.

5) Work-life balance

If you’re a mother, you have other responsibilities to juggle. Dividing the time between your business and family may be challenging. It can feel like your time is constantly being stretched in different directions simultaneously.

You can establish a proper work-life balance by creating systems and schedules. Follow and stick to your working hours. Once your shift ends, focus on your family and personal endeavors. Allow yourself more freedom, and don’t let your job disrupt your time outside work.

6) Establishing a professional network

Professional networks are essential for business growth, but women don’t always get full access to them. No matter the field, you may not access every network, compromising interactions with mentors and capital knowledge that can support your company.

Attending women-centered networking events is an ideal way to augment your professional network. Examples include leadership conferences and training led by agencies like the Center for Creative Leadership

Not only do these provide insights into effective leadership, but they are also great networking opportunities to meet and connect with like-minded female entrepreneurs.

7) Fear of failure

Failure is inevitable in any business. If you experience failure, encourage yourself to continue with your goals. Understand what went wrong and perceive it as a teaching moment. Failure shouldn’t necessarily be seen as detrimental, as it may even open opportunities you haven’t tapped into yet.

Business ventures are filled with errors, losses, and slumps, but you can still succeed when you learn from your mistakes and remember your purpose. Never give up on whatever you do.

Turn challenges into opportunities

The growing number of women in senior management and leadership roles is a testament to their hard work and perseverance. Like them, you can be an entrepreneur who triumphs over challenges and uses them as opportunities to learn, grow, and stay grounded.

Turning these challenges into opportunities can amplify your goals and further establish your name in your industry. Although progressing in a male-dominated landscape can be challenging, showcasing your unique attributes and being yourself can make you successful in your field.