Women constitute around half of the total world population. So is in India also. They are therefore regarded as the better half of the society. In traditional societies, they were confined to the four walls of houses performing household activities. In modern societies they have come out of the four walls to participate in all sorts of activities. The global evidences prove that women have been performing exceedingly well in different spheres of activities like academics, politics, administration, social work and so on. Now they have started plunging into industry also and running their enterprises successfully.
Women entrepreneur is a person who accepts challenging role to meet her personal need and become economically independent. There are economical, social, religious, cultural and other factors existing in the society which responsible for the emergency of the entrepreneurs.
Al through small businesses owned by women have traditionally focused on fashion, fond and other services sector, but recently women entrepreneurs have been moving rapidly into manufacturing, construction and other industrial filed. Women owned business are lightly increasing in the economics of almost all countries. The hidden entrepreneurial potential of women have gradually been changing with the growing sensitivity to the role and economic status in the society. It means women have the potentials, skill, knowledge and adaptability to run a business successfully.
Five Business Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them
The first entrepreneurial challenge women entrepreneurs face is that of cultural value or tradition. This challenge is more profound on women entrepreneurs in some areas; where the cultural value entails that the man/husband be the bread winner. A woman exhibiting her entrepreneurial prowess is presumed as wanting to take over the leadership role of the husband. This challenge also surfaces in families where the husband/father is an entrepreneur. The male children are usually groomed on running the family business and carrying on after the demise of the father while the female children are usually left out of this entrepreneurial grooming process.
To overcome this entrepreneurial challenge, you must be prepared to breakthrough this limiting tradition; you must stick to what you believe in.
The next challenge women face in business is societal discrimination. Most people still live with the mentality that certain businesses or tasks are better handled by men. Have you ever come across a female auto mechanic, plumber, mason or welder? What was your first reaction? You must have screamed “what the hell is a woman doing with such occupation.” The truth is that we often assume women are generally incompetent in certain fields of life. People would rather deal with a business man than a woman. Why? The reason is because it’s believed that the men are born to do it.
You might think this challenge is uncommon; wait until you lose a business deal or contract just because you are competing with male counterparts. The only solution to handling the challenge of societal discrimination is to develop a tough skin towards criticism. Stop seeing your feminine gender as a weakness; see it as a strength, and prove yourself by striving to outperform your male competitors.
Lack of Investor’s Confidence
The third challenge women entrepreneurs face when starting a business is the challenge of raising capital. Investors naturally give less consideration to business women. It’s easier for business man to raise capital than a woman; except such a woman has proved her competence and credibility over time. Women entrepreneurs generally find it difficult to raise capital or obtain a bank loan because investors and bankers would rather risk their venture capital with male entrepreneurs than females.
Now how do you overcome such challenge? The answer is persistence. You must keep asking for what you want; irrespective of the amount of rejections you get. You must press on while selling yourself on why you should be trusted.
Balancing Business and Family
The fourth business challenge women entrepreneurs face is that of balancing business and family. Women naturally are the backbone of the family; they lay the building blocks on which the family foundation is built. So often times, women entrepreneurs usually find themselves torn between commitment to the family and business.
Now how do you handle such challenge? The answer lies in time management and delegation. These two keys are essential to balancing your act and building a successful home alongside a family.
Stress Due to Competition and Business Routine
The last but not the least challenge women face in business is the stress and stiff competition associated with running a business. The entrepreneurial process of building a business from scratch entails hard work, commitment and persistence. Business is a game of dog eat dog; to survive, you have to be tough.
As a woman in business, you might find yourself going head to head with competition and fulfilling your business tasks; and this might lead to fatigue. When confronted with such challenge, you have to use the art of delegation and time management to your advantage. Get the tedious business tasks off your neck and concentrate more on the core issues at hand.