Despite there being a record number of women starting their own businesses in the U.S it’s no secret that they face a unique set of challenges in comparison to their male counterparts. For example, just this month it was revealed that venture capitalists are still far less likely to invest in women-led businesses than they are when men are at the helm.
Therefore it was refreshing when a new study exploring the growth strategies of successful women entrepreneurs was published highlighting some of the different ways women business owners are overcoming gender-related challenges.
One-to-one interviews were conducted with 30 women entrepreneurs for the Beyond the Bucks report conducted by Bank of America and Babson College. Each of the women who took part run a company that makes more than $5 million in revenue annually (the businesses generate an average of $43 million in annual revenues).
After the interview transcripts were assessed, three key barriers were identified:
- Market misperceptions
- Network exclusion
- Managing expansion with underfunding
In response to this the report describes the ‘successful, often novel, pathways’ that women have developed in order to conquer the above obstacles. It highlights seven ‘actionable’ strategies that other women entrepreneurs can integrate into their businesses to increase their chances of success, as listed below.
- Explore various capital alternatives
- Build for the long term
- Develop a sustainable and talented workforce
- Buy from and fund women-owned businesses
- Be a mentor, seek a mentor
- Join or create new networks
- Capitalize on personal insights and experiences
Additionally, the report says that we can support women entrepreneurs by buying from their businesses, funding them, including women in our networks, introducing women to our contacts and mentoring the rising generation of women entrepreneurs.
What do you think about the results from the study? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.