Many universities may offer you a degree that boasts a competitive edge in business and entrepreneurship, but seldom can prepare you with hands-on experiences and challenges that you may face in the workforce. This is especially true for women deciding to make their mark in specific industries. One may think that business shows no bias towards gender, but the truth is that women face a variety of challenges that surpass the usual roadblocks experienced by their male counterparts.
At NCU, we strive to educate and prepare our students for all kinds of obstacles in the business world, but a certain amount of consideration must be extended to women participating in this endeavor.
Becoming an entrepreneur and owning your business will no doubt have its difficulties, but to make the journey a little easier, here are four things that business owning women should know before taking their first step toward success:
1. Build a Solid Network
According to an article by Fast Company, women are getting less out of networking opportunities than men. This isn't necessarily due to their inability to seek out and receive assistance, but rather, it's a fundamental issue that tends to favor male candidates. Unfortunately, this bias stems from common workplace stigmas that are used to write women off in a bossy or uptight way, and in doing so, it overlooks their accomplishments, while simultaneously lowering their desirability. It's a challenging cycle that women endure, but a great way to bypass the drama and ridicule is to form quality relationships with professional contacts that will serve as your sponsor, rather than someone who only offers advice. This means that you should surround yourself with individuals who have your success in mind. They are willing to extend opportunities, drop your name into valuable conversations, and advocate for your personal growth in a desired field. Minuscule contacts for the sake of networking will most likely lead to nowhere, so instead, try to form meaningful bonds that serve a worthwhile purpose.
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2. Be Aware of the Funding Gap
A recent study by 99designs has revealed that a major funding gap still exists between male and female business owners. In a global study of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, it was discovered that men are twice as likely to raise $100,000 or more for their startup than women. A second survey conducted by the 2nd annual International Women's Day Entrepreneurship Survey also found that 28% of men were able to receive funding of $100,000 or more compared to a modest 15% of women. These findings come at a time when the challenges for men and women are repetitively the same when it comes to starting a business, but somehow, a major discrepancy still persists. Unfortunately, not much can be done to balance this issue, but it's something to consider when developing proposals and securing partnerships for substantial investments. Once again, it all comes down to the caliber of relationships you form during the networking stage. If you're able to find someone who believes in you and your idea, then the right funding will come naturally.
3. Your Personal Life Matters
One of the biggest hurdles that women face in business is the balance between their career and personal life. When you're single, it's easy to make decisions and put all of your eggs into one basket of success, but as you get older and find a partner, your priorities can start to change pretty quickly. Before you know it, you have to weigh your career against your partner's, juggle household responsibilities, and perhaps dive into motherhood before you're ready to slow down. Many women get caught up in the whirlwind of changes that life creates, so taking the time to consider long-term goals for yourself can help prioritize your future and set you up for the best possible outcome. Also, it's worth mentioning that women who do have children are more likely to be discriminated against in the professional sense. Studies show that women with children make less money and are considered to be less focused and driven at work.
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4. Women Entrepreneurs are On the Rise
In the 2017 State of Women-owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, there were nearly 12 million women-owned businesses operating within the U.S. alone. These entities employed close to 9 million people, generating over $1.7 trillion in revenue. From these statistics, it was also discovered that women are forming new businesses more than twice as fast as the national average. These projections prove that women are making a huge impact on the economy, disrupting markets with 114% more businesses than there were in the U.S. 20 years ago. This rate of innovation should serve as a message to women everywhere that progress is needed, not just on a national scale, but global one.
Grow Your Professional Career with NCU
The School of Business at NCU can give entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their own business or take their current operation to the next level. Whether you're pursuing a Bachelor's degree or an MBA, you can trust that our faculty will provide you with specialized courses that will enhance your knowledge of running an organization, while helping you cultivate a competitive edge. You'll gain first-hand experience in a variety of business environments, and you can save both time and money by taking advantage of accelerated programs.
NCU understands that your main objective is to run a successful business, so contact the admissions office today to see how you can get started on the right path.