How Female Entrepreneurs Can Bypass Funding Barriers That Still Exist
14 Mar 2020
It can be a struggle for female entrepreneurs to get their business recognized, even at a time when there is more awareness of systemic sexism such as the wage gap. As recent data shows, 98% of venture capital funding goes to men, meaning female entrepreneurs are being increasingly forced to turn to alternative methods such as crowdfunding, female-focused accelerators, grants, and even self-funding or loans. While there is serious change needed within the entrepreneur funding world, there are certain ways women can be taken seriously and allow themselves to be recognized in the business world:
Find a Support Network
Make sure you have a strong support network by attending women-focused networking events as well as visiting online forums and groups created for women in business. You can become inspired by other female entrepreneurs who can provide help, advice and support and can offer inspiration and feedback on your own business. This, in turn, can help you to grow and reflect on your own success as well as learn from other people and their experiences. Ask specific questions to gain useable responses.
Know Your Worth
Always be yourself and have confidence in who you are and what you want to achieve. Keep working hard and find your own voice. Reflect on your skills, abilities and ideas and consider what you have accomplished so far. Keep this in mind to help you promote your business and your vision. Don’t be afraid of failure. Most entrepreneurs have accepted and experienced failure and use it as a learning curve and are more determined to succeed in their chosen venture. Keep your goals in mind and continue to work towards them. As a parent, work-life balance is key to ensure you make time to give both work and family the time they deserve.
Find Suitable Funding
You may need to find investors to help get your business up and running, but the pitching process can be extremely difficult and often, raising funding for female-owned businesses is even trickier. A strong business plan is essential, and you need a good team around you who operate your business smoothly to give investors confidence in them. Female entrepreneurs should ask for more than they need as male business owners often do this, so investors are used to providing funding at lower levels than requested.
Invest in promotional merchandise
This is such an easy and effective way to raise your brand’s profile and thank existing customers for their business. Don’t go too cheap as this will reflect on your brand, so try to be creative and create a more personalized gift that will get your brand recognized. You could produce embroidered hats with your brand name on which will hopefully be worn with pride and promote your brand. You could ask for posts on social media to increase your brand’s reach and offer them as competition giveaways to get a more national reach.
Get a Google business listing
Most people ask Google for places near them on Google Maps or via an internet search and if your brand is not listed you will miss out. A listing on the first page of a search is important to gain recognition and only takes a few minutes to set up. It is a free service that not only promotes your business effectively but also improves your search engine optimization.
While there is much change needed within the business world, we are starting to see more opportunities for female entrepreneurs that are slowly eroding gender barriers. In the meantime, taking on board some of these simple tips can help propel your business forward.
Originally published at GIRL TALK HQ on 24 February 2020.