Article courtesy of Member One Federal Credit Union
It will come as no surprise to Bella readers that women are a significant driver of entrepreneurship and independent business growth in the United States. Here are the stats to prove it: over the past two decades, the number of women-owned businesses has jumped 114 percent, with 39 percent of all U.S. businesses having majority women-ownership. (That’s according to the 2017 “State of Women-Owned Business Report,” commissioned by American Express.) But just because we ladies are crushing it, doesn’t mean it’s easy out there for a girl boss. Female business owners still face a unique set of challenges on their way toward success, so this month we’re talking about four powerful steps women in business can take.
Get the Funding Your Business is Worth
According to Experian.com, when women apply for business loans, they tend to apply for smaller amounts than men—possibly due to fear they will be denied. And indeed, investors statistically do tend to overlook and underfund women-led businesses. To help combat this inequity when it’s time for fundraising, be confident, know your business’s data backward and forward, and ask for what you know your business is worth—not what you might believe you “could” get. If you decide to apply for a business loan, work with the business services team at a credit union or community bank, one with an authentic interest in supporting local, independent business owners.
Find Your Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is elusive for any independent business owner, but women are often also handling increased family responsibilities. Remember that if you don’t take the time you need to reenergize, it will be harder to give your best to your business or your home life. Committing to healthy habits, delegating or outsourcing work where feasible, and following a consistent schedule are all good tips for work-life balance, as is blocking off one “un-bookable” catch-up day each week.
Get Certified as a Woman-Owned Business
This step is especially worthwhile if you plan on doing business with a local, state, or federal entity — though it can be positive for your brand image even if you don’t work with government agencies. As a certified woman-owned business (WOB), you could have increased opportunities to work on government contracts. You can choose to self-certify your business or go through a third-party certifier. Learn more about either option at certify.SBA.gov.
Build Your Network
Much is often made of the generalization that women are more inherently relationship-focused than men. While we’re always cautious of generalizations, if this one is true then it’s a strength to play up! Building your network and making valuable connections is always good for business, especially when you can connect with fellow female business owners. Women helping to build each other — and their businesses — up are a force to be reckoned with. Even better if you connect with inspiring and successful businesswomen who may become your mentors.
Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.