(BPT) - While opportunities continue to grow for female entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses are still in the minority, and women still face many challenges when embracing the entrepreneurial life.
Starting a business is far from easy, and can be even more difficult for women, as they are often kept out of financial conversations, impacting their financial confidence as they age and preventing monetary discussion within their communities. While women face many obstacles in business, there are several powerful solutions that can take you far down the path of creating your own business.
Here are some of the common challenges women in business face and tips to help throughout the process.
Challenge 1: Work-life balance
Work-life balance can be a challenge for men and women alike, especially parents, who juggle both family and career responsibilities. Striking a healthy balance between business and family life may be one of the biggest barriers to success for many.
Solution: As an entrepreneur, creating the right balance is all about flexibility. Your schedule may look different than a typical nine-to-five job, and that's OK. Focus on achieving balance - not perfection - and remember to ask for help and delegate tasks when necessary.
Challenge 2: Lack of funding
Lack of funding is one of the biggest issues facing entrepreneurs, especially those that are female. Sourcing capital is the first step to getting your business up and running.
Solution: Funding programs for female entrepreneurs are helping women break down the financial barriers to owning a business. The #DOVEInstaGrants program by Dove Chocolate is working to foster true financial equity and agency for women everywhere. Through the program, three women will be awarded a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to fulfill their small-business dreams.
For the past five years, DOVE has worked with CARE, an international humanitarian agency, and the DOVE InstaGrants program aims to expand these efforts to the U.S. The partnership with CARE empowers women in West African cocoa-growing communities through financially empowering Village Savings & Loan Association programs. In fact, 80% of members are women who lend and borrow microloans to build their own small businesses and define their financial voice.
To learn more about the DOVE brand's partnership with CARE, visit DoveChocolate.com, or visit InstaGrants.DoveChocolate.com to submit a small business or entrepreneurial idea.
Challenge 3: Building a support network
In the U.S., despite undeniable commonalities in experiences with money, female entrepreneurs often lack a financial community where they can seek inspiration or counsel from other women like them. In fact, 58% of women report that they do not currently have another woman in their life to talk with about finances, according to an NBC news survey.
A robust network of supporters and connections is crucial for success as an entrepreneur. It can be difficult to forge a path through business networks, especially when success can be dependent on who you know.
Solution: Start by finding and attending women-focused networking events in your area. You can find in-person conferences as well as online forums created specifically for women in business. Once you've built your network of supporters, don't hesitate to reach out for help.
Challenge 4: Lack of role models and representation
Although representation is growing when it comes to female entrepreneurs, it is still a male-dominated field.
Solution: Find women you admire and take inspiration from them. You can search for books, blogs, virtual talks, podcasts and so much more to learn about females in business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, work to build your network of women to help you feel more connected and supported.
By overcoming these challenges, women can feel empowered to define their financial voice and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Learn more at InstaGrants.DoveChocolate.com.