Thursday, November 22, 2012

Obstacles for Female Business Owners

Despite the many advances that women have made in the business world there are still many obstacles standing in their way. This is especially true for the entrepreneur who is starting up her own business. None of these obstacles are insurmountable, but they should be taken into consideration when approaching the idea of starting a business.

1.      Discrimination

You wouldn’t think discrimination against women would still be an issue this far into the 21st century. The fact remains that there are some investors and clients who still might give pause to a woman CEO. In some cases this discrimination can come from other women! This doesn’t mean that deals won’t get done with a woman in charge; it’s just that this entrenched perception is hard to shake. The good news is that the new generation of business professionals aren’t stuck in the past.  

2.      The Boy’s Club

Not every business deal goes down between the hours of 9 to 5. Relationships are fostered in all kinds of social situations like the golf country club or gym. In these cases, men gravitate towards men. It’s easy to imagine that a lot of business can be conducted over the course of 18 holes. Yes, women can play golf too but it’s an area that is dominated by men and unless you can play with the boys you won’t have that kind of direct access to potential new business relationships.

3.      The Family Issue

This is another of those entrenched perception issues. If a woman is a mother of younger children she is expected to make those children a priority. Forget the fact that she has a husband or a nanny; she’s still a “mom.” This is even more difficult to overcome with younger entrepreneurs who might start a family and require maternity leave. The truth is that ever since women have entered the workforce they have been fighting to strike a balance between work and family just as their husbands do. Hopefully, the woman business owner will have that support system in place to insure her success.

4.      Competition and Self-promotion

This is an area that could be more of a stumbling block on the part of women as opposed to an outside perception of them. Often, women have it ingrained in their psyche not to be competitive or to self-promote. However, both of those are important qualities for any successful entrepreneur. It’s important for women to move beyond “that’s how I was raised” and to recognize that the best approach to business is a level playing field. If the guys are going to be competitive, then you should as well. As for self-promotion there is nothing wrong with marketing yourself. Be proud of your accomplishments and share them with the world!