In the News

Ways to combat common problems for women business owners

Women-owned businesses are growing at a rapid pace. The Small Business Association reports that 9.9 million businesses in the United States are owned by women, and they generate more than $1.4 trillion in sales. But women-owned businesses still produce less revenue than their male counterparts — 1.86 times fewer.

A 2018 study by Plan Beyond — results were released earlier this year — detailed some of the struggles women face in small business ownership. Here are three standout problems and how to combat them.

Marketing is missing

Of those surveyed, 39% of women said they believe marketing skills are missing from their organization. Just 32% of men answered the same.

Marketing is usually the first duty put aside amid the myriad other tasks small business owners need to finish. But it’s also one of the more important aspects in growing and creating a healthy business and image. Back in January, we wrote a blog about four easy-to-implement marketing tips for small businesses. You can read that here.

Beyond those tips, it’s also helpful to gauge what your bigger competition is doing and try to emulate them. If you’re a garden center, what is Earle May, the Central Iowa-based nursery, doing down the street? Look at social media campaigns, website presence, etc. Then take what you’ve learned and put a unique spin on it.

You can also take advantage of marketing conferences or events, which can teach you best practices and how to implement them. If all else fails, perhaps you can find a consultant or agency that can reach your marketing goals. 

Access to funds

Women continue to worry about access to funds. When listing reasons for pessimism about business performance in 2019, 37% of women cited limited access to money/funding as the No. 1 concern.

Iowa has a bevy of organizations that are geared toward helping women plan and find ways to access capital. Here’s a list of three prominent ones.

It’s also important that you just take the time to apply for as much funding as you can. The worst they can say is no, and you might be surprised by how many funding organizations are interested.

Confidence!

We’ve broached this subject before, but this study brings up the point again: women are less optimistic about their business then men. According to the study, women are 21% less likely than men to feel very optimistic about how their business will perform in 2019.

This entrepreneur.com article from Sona Jepson gives three great ways women can close the confidence gap. Give it a read, and see what tips you can implement into your professional life.

Another good way to gain confidence is to find other people to advocate for you. Join local and trade organizations, like NAWBO Iowa. Grow your network and learn from other experts. You’ll feel more at home and continue to hone your craft.

NAWBO Member Q&A: Cynthia Lande

Cynthia Lande, who goes by Cindy, is a partner at BrownWinick and serves as co-chair of BrownWinick’s Business and Corporate Law Practice Group. She also co-chairs the firm’s Women in Business Group. Her main areas of practice are taxation, employee benefits and general business transactions.

Outside of work, Lande is a member of the Polk County, Iowa State and American Bar Associations and a member of the Polk County Women Attorneys. She also serves on various boards, including Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, Metro Women Connect and NAWBO Iowa.

Can you take me through your personal background?

I grew up in Ankeny, Iowa. I received undergraduate degrees in accounting and finance from Iowa State University. After graduating from Iowa State, I attended the University of Iowa College of Law. While in law school, I successfully completed the CPA exam.

After graduating from law school, I practiced law for a couple years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My now-husband was working in Des Moines at the time, and I moved to Des Moines and joined the BrownWinick Law Firm shortly before we got married. I have been with BrownWinick for seven years now and have been a partner with the firm since the beginning of 2018.

What is your profession/business?

I am a partner with the BrownWinick Law Firm, practicing primarily in the areas of tax, employee benefits and business transactions. I help small and large employers design and administer executive compensation, retirement and health plans, and I assist employers with plan compliance, audits and investigations.

I regularly advise clients on business and individual tax issues and counsel clients with respect to general corporate and business matters. I help clients form new businesses, identify and create contracts to grow their business, expand their business through acquisitions and mergers and maximize profitability through a final sale or other exit. Lastly, I represent clients in audit and collection matters involving personal and business income tax in front of the Internal Revenue Service and Iowa Department of Revenue.

What is the favorite part of what you do?

My favorite part of my job is helping my clients resolve problems that are interfering with their business or working to identify ways to increase efficiencies and maximize profitability in the operation of their business.

What is your unique talent that people might not know? 

When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy training for and running marathons. My first marathon was the Quad Cities marathon in 2012, and my most recent marathon was Green Bay in 2018.

If you could meet one person — living or dead — who would it be? 

I would love to meet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I admire all that she was able to accomplish at a time when it was so unusual for women to pursue advanced degrees or professions, as well as her lengthy career in public service. I think it would be fascinating to listen her to tell all of her unique experiences along the way.