Tag Archives: women in business

3 Ways Women in Business Can Overcome Challenges and Get Ahead

Did you know that more than 9 million firms in the United States are women-owned? In fact women business owners have close to 8 million employees and generate over $1.5 trillion in sales, as per the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Although more and more women are venturing into entrepreneurship the challenges they face are often not the same as their male counterparts entering the business world.

Here are 3 ways women in business can overcome challenges and get ahead:

1.Get over social stigma

When you walk into a crowded networking seminar and you can count the number of women there on your fingertips it can get intimidating. However, you’ve made it this far so being true to who you are and believing in what you have to offer and what you bring to the table can give you the boost of confidence you need to find your voice in situations where you might feel singled out. Also, understanding that if you don’t speak up for your business and make it known, no one else will.

Build a support system.

According to Inc. close to fifty percent of all women entrepreneurs don’t have mentors that can help propel their business growth. When you’re trying to blaze your way in the world of male-dominated businesses, having the advice of a woman mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ can be extremely helpful. But the challenge is in finding a reliable support system. Certifying your business as woman-owned can not only help you get found by procurement officials but also directly enroll you to attend conferences designed to get you networking with other like-minded women owned businesses and find promising mentorship opportunities.

Find work/life balance

Whether you’re a man or a woman, finding work-life balance is no doubt hard, however in the case of women and especially mothers who venture into entrepreneurship most would agree that dealing with the business would get a lot easier if you didn’t have the kids to deal with! The key is to not beat yourself up or sweat the small stuff and come to terms with the fact that you got into this knowing that your responsibilities will be shared between the family and the business.

WBEC-West provides an excellent platform for your business to grow, connect with other businesses in both your local community and nationwide, and be a mentor to other women businesses. Learn more.


Are You the Next Rising Women Business Owner?

Are you thinking of leaving your full-time job to start your own business? Many women today are considering starting a home-based business, and there are many who started out this way and now run full-fledged companies with employees and revenue in the millions. So, yes if you’re willing to take a risk and work hard, it can be done.

How do we know this? Well, many of the women-owned businesses that attend our WBEC-West annual conferences and even serve as mentors for our Ambassador program started out this way and have never looked back.

If you’re not sure how to start out here are a few business ideas to get your creative juices flowing and get you inspired:

  1. AccountantBookkeeping for small businesses can be a great way to start an accounting business. With some experience behind your back you can move on to higher accounting levels and work up balance sheets, income statements, financial reports and more depending on the needs of the client. With the right licensing, tax accounting is also a huge area that offers a lot of potential. As you bag a few good clients and they’re happy with your work you can look forward to repeat business from them and once you get to the point where you feel the workload is overwhelming it’s time to start hiring help and growing your business.
  2. Consultant 

    To be a consultant, you need to be an expert in an area. Perhaps you did marketing for many years for an apparel company or you were a top project manager for an IT firm, or maybe cooking or photography has been a long-time passion of yours and over the years you’ve garnered a lot of good experience. You could use this expertise to either start your own business or consult and help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.

  1. Event Planner 

    The first step to good event planning are good business relationships. You’ll need to visit every potential location and work with the manager or person in-charge to tour the site and learn what’s available and what’s not available at that location. For example, how many people can the site accommodate, does it have AV equipment. catering options etc. By creating a database of key features you’ll be able to pull up a few locations and recommend the right venue to potential clients. You can start with smaller events like parties and as you gain more experience move up to corporate events and even full-fledged conference event planning by when you’ll have an entire team of staff working with you.

 Some more business ideas you can look deeper into:

• Catering
• Printing and Design
• Cleaning Business
• Freelance Content Writing
• Interior Decoration
• Keynote Speaking
• Property Manager
• Web design and development
• Online Marketing business

The possibilities are endless…

Another major advantage to starting your own business is that federal and corporate entities are looking to do business with companies owned by women. By certifying your business you can qualify for procurement opportunities only available to certified Women Business Enterprises or WBEs. Learn more about the many benefits of getting certified today!

Three Challenges Facing Women Entrepreneurs Today

No doubt, women are crucial to economic growth around the world. Unlike men women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens. For example, in the case of Coco Chanel, she learned to be a seamstress at a very young age or Oprah Winfrey for instance, whose media business aims to help women reach their full potential.

However the numbers speak a little differently. As per the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are 126 million women operating new businesses and another 98 million running established ones. Yet, around the world there is a major gap with only  7 countries where women partake in business at rates equal to men.

Here in the United States women own 3 out of 10 firms, yet only employ 6% of the nation’s workforce and account for only 4% of business revenues.

That’s actually not that surprising since it’s no secret that women in business face many obstacles, from finding work-life balance to securing financing to start or grow their company.

There are three priorities that need to be in place to support women entrepreneurs.

1. Access to capital from financial institutions or micro-finance providers, as small loans can make a big difference.

2. Support from experienced mentors and trusted advisors to share industry insight and provide guidance.

For example, at WBEC-West, we’ve seen firsthand that women entrepreneurs  will often network with other women at our quarterly matchmaking events – it doesn’t matter if one woman runs a printing business and the other is a contractor – most of us face similar challenges and we can all learn from one another.

3. Business Education and entrepreneurial learning is critical to give women the confidence to see large-scale ideas through and learn the skills they need to manage their business and in turn pay it forward by becoming mentors for other women.

To assist women business owners procure more business from corporations and Federal agencies, WBEC-West provides certification for women-owned businesses, helping them get ahead of the game. Want to learn more? Click here.

Top 10 Productivity Tips for Really Busy Business Women

Have you ever felt this way?  To be super excited at the beginning of a project, only to lose steam to another cycle of busyness, stress and overwhelm?

Most women in business experience this, leading to half-done projects and unreached milestones.

The following 10 Steps to Productivity can help you get moving and flowing in the direction of completion – and in doing so, achieve you goals:

Step 1: Connect to your why

“Because I have to” is never a compelling enough reason to stay motivated and on task.  Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”.  Write it down and post it on your office wall or make it your screensaver.  It will give you a deeper sense of commitment, ‘pull’ you through the project and keep you focused – especially when the next shiny object tries to seduce.

Step 2: Small step your way to completion

Breaking projects down into smaller pieces makes it easier to work with and helps build momentum because of your small wins.  This will contribute not only to your productivity but also to your overall happiness with the entire journey – and that’s what life is about.

Step 3: Schedule it

Just like seeing your yoga class scheduled in iCal is a visual reminder of your goal to get fit, blocking time in your calendar to work on this new project will help you instantly re-focus your attention to your new commitment when it wanders off to ‘what shall I do now’ land.

Step 4: Make a progress list

Happiness research shows that more than getting something done, it’s seeing that we are getting things done which contributes to our overall mood.  Write down your steps and checkmark the completed ones as you go along.  Be sure to celebrate and acknowledge yourself too!

Step 5: Create Your Space

Create an environment that you actually WANT to work in.  You can do this by placing fresh flowers on your desk, or having inspirational quotes around you.  Find a way to create a workspace that supports your productivity, creativity, and motivation.

Step 6: Let the music do the work

Speaking of creating your space, listening to your favourite tune before you tackle your list can get your creative juices flowing because it boosts your mood.  Getting into this happy zone will not only feel better, but it will give you a productivity bump. 

Step 7: Use the one in, one out policy

Just like managing your wardrobe, a one in, one out policy for your to-do list is a great way to reduce overwhelm.  If you add one item, take one item off, so that your mental space stays as clutter free as possible.  Hint: Connecting to your ‘why’ from step 1 will help you decide which task can hit the road.

Step 8: Personalize it

Are you someone who loves to work on paper?  Do you like to use colorful sharpies and create mind maps?  Find a way to personalize the process so that it works for you.  If excel spreadsheets put the lid on your creativity, then find another way. 

Step 9: Schedule your breaks

Studies show that taking a lot of mini breaks, even as short as 30 seconds to 5 minutes, reduces mental fatigue and leads to greater productivity.  These micro breaks are most effective when you take them before you actually need it, so do yourself a favor and schedule your breaks! Try this: I’ve started working in 20-minute increments, followed by 10-minute breaks.  It keeps me focused because I know that when that timer goes off, I’ve got full permission to scan the social media scene, call up a friend or take a walk (all guilt-free!).

Step 10: Permission to choose again

Have you ever been halfway through a project when you suddenly realize that it’s not actually going to help you accomplish the outcome you’re after?  Give yourself permission to change your mind halfway through, if it is no longer serving you or supporting your goals.  We are no longer in school, so exercise your right to choose again.  Your goal: guilt-free, flow-filled choices that bring a smile to your face.

Now it’s your turn.

Which step from the list above did you like the most? As a woman business owner what productivity challenges are you facing?

We’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below!

via 10 productivity tips for really busy women


Flexibility or Higher Pay? See What Women in their 30s Want

Flexibility or higher pay? What would you choose?

“I’m really happy to put career first,” say many women like Betsy Oyler who would like to see women fight for better pay and the jobs they really want.

Business leaders think women change jobs for greater flexibility – but for Betsy Oyler that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“At this point of my life I am happy for career to take the front seat,” she said. “I am not looking to start a family any time soon.”

She changed jobs eight months ago to move ahead in her career, to find bigger challenges and to learn more in her late twenties.

Betsy Oyler changed jobs for a bigger challenge – not greater flexibility.

Researchers have found that while employers believe women around the age of 30 are leaving jobs for flexibility and because of family demands, the women themselves say the main reason is pay.

As a woman business owner, the best (or worst part) of running your own business is most likely the flexibility you get to work on your own terms, be your own boss, work the hours you want to work – meaning you get the flexibility but many emerging WBEs are lead by hardworking women who work well into the night and the weekends trying to manage different aspects of their growing business.

Lauren Noel and Christie Hunter Arscott from the International Consortium for Executive Development Research said they were surprised at the results of their new survey, which challenges assumptions that women want a better work-life balance in preference to higher pay.

The survey of organisational leaders and men and women aged 22 to 35 found that pay, followed by lack of learning and development opportunities and a shortage of meaningful work were the primary reasons women had left jobs.

The research, which features in the Harvard Business Review, found men and women left jobs for similar reasons.

“In fact, women are actually more likely to leave because of compensation [pay] than men,” Ms Hunter Arscott said. “Not only are women’s reasons for leaving misunderstood, differences between women and men are overstated.”

Ms Oyler, who married last November, works for a Sydney advertising agency after leaving a management role at a marketing agency.

“I was looking for a new challenge, a stimulating working environment and exposure to a new set of skills and clients,” she said.

While the pay was slightly higher in her new job, it was not her “number one priority”. But she would not have been happy to settle for a pay cut.

In its survey of 4198 employees and 3793 employers in Australia, the Hudson recruitment company has also found the top three reasons professionals gave for leaving their current job was boredom, followed by lack of career progression, followed by disappointment with salary.

Simon Moylan, head of talent management at Hudson, said only 3 per cent of 706 Generation Y women surveyed said they were changing jobs to work closer to home and 7 per cent were looking for a better work-life balance. But almost a quarter were bored and wanted a new challenge and 21 per cent left jobs because of a lack of career progression. And 15 per cent were disappointed with their salary.

“Generally what we find is women in that demographic are trying to set up their career. Logically you have to get yourself promoted to get to a level where you are senior enough and earning enough before you can get the flexibility you are after.

“It is almost like a race against the biological clock for some to achieve that level of seniority and level of salary.”

Of the 2100 women of all ages surveyed, 4 per cent wanted to work closer to home, 8 per cent wanted a better work life balance and 15 per cent were disappointed with their salary.

Marian Baird, a professor of gender and employment relations at the University of Sydney, said it was not surprising that women ranked pay as important when many were paid less compared to men.

“Why shouldn’t women see pay as important as men do?,” she said.

But pay and flexibility were not mutually exclusive.

“It is possible that many of the women surveyed had not yet faced the real trauma of work, motherhood, inflexible work, no child care and a pay gap in the one hit,” she said.

Barbara Pocock, emeritus professor from the school of business at the University of South Australia, said people often changed jobs for a “basket of reasons”.

“Not a single thing. A mix of pay and conditions like flexibility,” she said.

“Flexibility will trump money by a long shot when you have a young child or a personal health issue or you are caring for a frail parent. But if you are a young engineer setting out at 25 or 30, money may well be the most significant thing.”

Adam Shapley, regional director at Hays Recruitment said the US research was an “oversimplified”.

Hays research from 2013 had found most job seekers were looking at an organisation’s vision, culture and values. Their second priority was work-life balance and salary came fifth.

Professor Lyn Craig, director of the University of NSW social policy research centre said it was not surprising men and women without children in the US would rank pay as their top priority.

American women were also more likely to be working full time because they would not receive health benefits if they worked part time.

Diversity Council chief executive officer Lisa Annese said money was a factor for women because of the gender pay gap.

As a business woman, would you want to sacrifice work-life balance over a challenging contract that promises a hike in your revenue? Let us know in the comments below.

via Women in their 30s want higher pay over flexibility