Three Tips to Help Women Entrepreneurs
Continue Succeeding in Business
October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and it is a great time to highlight the many contributions and achievements made by women, as well as to celebrate those who have successfully started businesses that are making a significant, positive impact to our nation’s economy.
According the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, women-owned businesses are among the fastest growing segment of businesses in the U.S. having increased by 83 percent from 1997-2012. As the number of woman-owned businesses continues to grow, there are more opportunities for women to succeed and thrive than ever before.
To help women continue on the path of success, here are three tips to help them expand networks and grow their businesses:
Build a strong support network: Having a support system to lean on is a huge asset for any business owner. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a network of more than 100 women business centers across the country aimed at helping women who own small businesses. Another great resource for women business owners is SCORE, which offers online newsletters and webinars in addition to an extensive database of female mentors.
Women business owners should also consider joining the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), which has chapters across the country that offer peer-to-peer professional development programs for members. These organizations are dedicated to helping women find the right financial tools to successfully run and grow their businesses.
It’s also beneficial to have a strong relationship with a business banker as it can help facilitate a greater understanding of the business when it comes time to consider business financing options.
Learn more about business financing options: According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup study, 85 percent of women reported initially funding their business with personal cash or savings, and another 37 percent turned to a personal credit card. Today, business owners have many business financing options to consider. When used responsibly, credit can provide a business the necessary capital to manage fluctuations in cash flow, and the ability to pursue opportunities to improve and grow the business.
To help educate business owners on the credit application process, and what it takes to get credit ready, Wells Fargo recently introduced the Business Credit Center. The site provides free financial tools and resources that will help business owners navigate the credit journey and help determine what may be right for their business.
Seek support from institutions with strong commitment to women business owners: It’s a competitive market for small business loans, and that’s good for women business owners. Lenders want to make every responsible loan they can to creditworthy business owners. When choosing a lender, you should consider financial institutions that have demonstrated a commitment and track record of working with women-owned businesses, as well as a lender who may have implemented programs focused on women-owned businesses. Many states have programs for women entrepreneurs, so it is worth investigating the opportunities in your area.
There’s a lot to be learned from the many successful female entrepreneurs who are finding success in today’s ever-changing and challenging business environment. There is no single “recipe for success” so to speak, yet the three tips outlined above will certainly lead women down a successful path.