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.