CHALLENGES

Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face

Defying social expectations

Most female business owners who have attended networking events can relate to this scenario: You walk into a crowded seminar and can count the number of women there on one hand. When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving.

limited access to funding

Not all startup founders look for investors to help get their businesses off the ground, but those who do know how difficult the pitching process can be. Raising capital is even more difficult for women-owned firms. A 2014 Babson College report found that less than 3 percent of venture-capital-funded companies had female CEOs.

Your accomplishments

The communal, consensus-building qualities encouraged in young girls can leave women unintentionally downplaying their own worth. Molly MacDonald, founder and CEO of The Mobile Locker Co., a startup that provides personal storage for events, said she has always found it difficult to convey her own value as a leader.

Building a support network

With the majority of the high-level business world still being dominated by men, it can be hard to blaze your own path and facilitate the introductions and connections into some of the more elite business networks,” said Hanson. “As most of business today still rings true with the philosophy that ‘it’s not what you know; it’s who you know,’ this can be a huge factor in your ultimate success.

Balancing business and family

I knew that if I had continued working in the corporate world that I would have had to make a lot of choices I didn’t want to make,” said Garrett. “I do think the culture of work is shifting to allow women more flexibility, which is a good thing. But working for yourself will probably always allow more freedom than working for someone else.

fear of failure

Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture, but Kristi Piehl, founder and CEO of Media Minefield, advises women to not let their insecurities keep them from dreaming big. She encourages women to work through the moments of self-doubt that every business owner faces and not wait for perfection before starting their business or taking on a big promotion.

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