How to Improve Finances and Boost Growth in a Woman-Led Startup? 

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Have you recently opened a startup in a male-dominated industry? In that case, you’ll need strategies to foster growth and improve your finances. 

Women represent one in four high-growth entrepreneurs globally. Approximately 252 million of the 585 million entrepreneurs in the world are women. Even then, research has shown that female chief executives usually have a shorter tenure than males.

As a female startup founder, you’re bound to face networking and mentorship challenges when you run your business. That’s why you must leverage every possible solution, even ways to improve your personal finances, to grow your brand. You must also challenge stereotypes, implement inclusive policies, etc.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper to understand the challenges women entrepreneurs face, ways to improve their finances, and much more.

What Challenges Will Women Face When Running a Company?

Being the new owner of a woman-led brand, you’ll encounter challenges that are mostly rooted in societal biases and inequalities. According to Business News Daily, the most common hiccup faced when launching or maintaining a company is the need to defy social expectations. Women often struggle to be taken seriously and own up to their accomplishments in this patriarchal industry. 

Other than these, you might face the following challenges specific to women in business:

  • Funding: Women-owned companies often struggle to secure financing from investors due to gender biases.
  • Mentorship: Most women entrepreneurs might have limited access to networks and mentorship, leading to career advancement and business growth hindrances. 
  • Discrimination: You might encounter skepticism and prejudice for your business operations, making it hard to gain respect from investors, clients, employees, etc.
  • Perception: Many won’t perceive your leadership or recognize your talents until your business succeeds. 
  • Work-life Balance: Women often find it hard to balance childcare and household responsibilities with running a company.

All in all, you will have to navigate the male-dominated industries and succeed by overcoming the barriers. You must also deal with stereotypes about your leadership skills and capabilities. 

How Can Women Entrepreneurs Overcome These Challenges?

Hult International Business School wrote in a blog post stating that women are vastly underrepresented in various industries. These are the finance, engineering, and technology markets. 

If you’ve opened a startup in any of these industries, there’s a possibility that you’ll face the aforementioned challenges. Thankfully, women have managed to adapt to male-dominated industries and have come up with some strategies to overcome the pitfalls. These include the following:

  • You should seek mentorship from women in business to gather support and access valuable networks.
  • Try to build assertiveness and become a subject matter expert to develop confidence in your abilities to navigate the challenges of the industry.
  • Advocate for practices and policies in your brand that focus on offering gender equality, diversity, equal pay, etc.
  • Be strategic while planning your business growth and address potential challenges women entrepreneurs face. 
  • Keep learning and developing your skills to enhance your professional capabilities with the evolving industry trends. 

All these help foster business growth as you fight to address the systemic inequalities women face when leading a business. 

3 Underrated Ways Women Can Improve Their Startup’s Finances

According to the Harvard Business Review, 2/3 of startups never deliver a positive ROI to investors. Usually, most startups fail in the first few operational years because of financial issues and a lack of investment opportunities. 

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, securing investments can be extra hard. Hence, you must have a unique approach. Take a look at the three underrated ways women can improve their startup’s finances. 

#1. Improve Your Personal Finance

All around the world, female founders are missing out on funding due to gender bias. That’s why you should look at improving your personal finances as a foundation for business growth. With this, you no longer have to wait around for third-party investments and financial backing.

Having a solid personal finance foundation enables you to invest in your business. It can also allow you to attract investors, secure loans, etc. With this, you can reduce financial stress, build creditworthiness, plan business expenses, and maintain stability. 

Invest in Precious Metals

One way you can improve your personal finances is by investing in precious metals. Let’s say you buy gold as an investment. Doing so can help provide female startup founders with a diversified asset base. Consider this a long-term strategy for wealth preservation. 

You can also hedge against economic uncertainties in the industry. Investing in precious stones like gold and silver can help female startup founders enhance financial security and usher in flexibility to navigate business challenges. 

But how do you invest in precious metals? According to OWNx, you can follow these steps:

  • Find an online investment platform that offers control and flexibility over current market prices and trends.
  • You can either open an individual account or a business account by selecting the type.
  • Choose an automatic purchasing plan to buy precious metals and spread the purchase cost over time. (at only USD 25 per month.)

Once you buy gold and silver from an investment platform, the company will store the assets in secure facilities at a cost of 0.05% per month. 

When you need to withdraw and invest in your business, you can simply sell it at a live price. You can use this to enhance your company’s finances and boost growth. On average, the rate of return on gold investments was 4.09% in 2023. 

This approach can also help diversify your retirement portfolio through tangible assets. For instance, female entrepreneurs can access precious metal Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) at zero minimum investment or premiums. But you must remember that this is a volatile market, and the prices might fluctuate. 

#2. Get Investments From Venture Capitals (VCs)

Women-founded startups accounted for less than 2% of all venture capital funding in America and Europe. Only 11% of the investing partners at VC firms are women. Hence, there’s an unconscious bias where investors prefer and trust male founders more. 

However, securing VC investment can fuel growth for any woman-led startup. With their help, you can get vital capital to scale your business operations, develop new products, and expand in the market. 

How Do You Build Relationships with VCs?

As a woman entrepreneur, you must first build a strong relationship with VCs to secure funding. Take a look at some tips for this:

  • Be persistent (even if you face rejection), nurture the relationships you already have, and put in enough effort and time.
  • Strategically network at industry events, gatherings, and conferences to find VCs willing to invest in a woman-led company.
  • Demonstrate your expertise to showcase industry knowledge by participating in relevant discussions, engagements, hosting events, etc.
  • When pitching, ensure it’s compelling, clear, concise, and has a unique value proposition.
  • Be authentic, reliable, and transparent when communicating with the VCs and delivering promises.
  • As a female startup owner, you must emphasize diversity and highlight the importance of inclusion.

You can also seek feedback from the VCs to refine your pitch and business strategy. This will help you showcase your business potential and create a growth strategy.

#3. Seek Business Loans

Research shows that women usually have fewer assets than men. That’s why business financing can be a challenge for many female startup founders. Industry leaders believe that women aren’t taken as seriously as men and that they have low personal credit scores.

All these prove that you should have strong personal finances if you want your startup to succeed. On top of that, you need a robust strategy when seeking loans from lenders, organizations, etc.

How Can Women Secure Business Loans?

As a female startup founder, you must go the extra mile to find the right business loans. Take a look at the tips to help you with that:

  • Ensure you have a solid business plan that outlines the market potential, repayment strategy, and the venture’s viability.
  • Build a strong credit history (both personal and professional) to establish a positive relationship with lenders who prioritize diversity. 
  • Network with other women entrepreneurs and seek mentorship to gain valuable insight into business loans. 

The best way would be to explore government-backed loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. These will specifically grant women entrepreneurs the finances they require to succeed in the market.

How Can Women Boost Their Business’s Growth?

As mentioned earlier, you can boost business growth through effective execution of strategic planning and innovative thinking. A woman’s diverse perspective and fresh leadership styles can bring unique creativity and insights to business development. 

To succeed in this men-led entrepreneurial ecosystem, women must follow these growth tips:

  • Create an inclusive workplace culture that attracts diverse talent to bring innovation to your startup.
  • Leverage networking opportunities and mentorship to access valuable guidance, connections, and resources.
  • Invest in top-notch branding and marketing initiatives to help attract customers, raise visibility, drive revenue growth, etc.
  • Prioritize customer feedback and improve your services or products based on market competitiveness and relevance.

You must also stay agile and be adaptable to industry changes. Seize new opportunities that enable you to sustain growth momentum, leading to long-term success.

The State of Women Entrepreneurs in America

According to Forbes, women are stuck in a vicious cycle of underrepresentation in the small business industry. Thankfully, things are slowly changing. 

In 2022, women created half of the new firms established in America. This was the third consecutive year when female entrepreneurship thrived. Before the pandemic, they only comprised 29% of the business landscape.

Another survey found that 27% of women small business owners were mostly motivated by being their ‘own’ boss. Moreover, 22% of female startup founders were dissatisfied with corporate America. Among them, 55.7% of entrepreneurs were Gen X females. Another study showed that 64% of women entrepreneurs started their businesses because they needed flexibility. 

Evidently, women need better access to mentorship and capital to foster business growth. With the right guidance and financial backing, there’s no telling where a woman startup founder can go.

Conclusion

Women entrepreneurs will encounter distinct obstacles in any country. For instance, only 3.6% of adult females were involved with entrepreneurial activities in Japan in 2022. The percentage is low because most women shy away from starting a business because of the challenges they face. Examples include lack of finances, discrimination in the industry, and much more. 

That’s why women entrepreneurs must follow the tips shared in this blog post and take proactive measures to enhance financial improvement and growth. Remember to nurture a supportive network, set attainable goals, challenge patriarchal biases, and advocate for equity. 

With continuous learning and strategic planning, female startup founders can overcome potential barriers. Always be resilient when navigating the competitive industry landscape while thinking about broad societal progress. 

With this, your startup will become an environment for empowerment with a vibrant, inclusive, and innovative work culture.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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