When we think about women owned businesses, we automatically think small. This is an issue for us. When we think small we stay small. However, what happens when women think big? Usually we are told that we are, “out of line, unrealistic or crazy.” It’s difficult to hear this from men, especially those we love, but it’s devastating to hear it from other women. While we realize they are trying to “protect us from ourselves” it can stifle our growth, personally and professionally.
The #1 Challenge for Women
In a recent interview on Spot-On™, Marnie Ochs-Raleigh identified the number one challenge women business owner’s face is getting funding. Marnie is CEO of Evolve Systems, an international technology firm in Roseville, MN. As past president of the Minnesota Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Marnie helped women face business challenges daily and is certain that the vast majority of them are rooted in money.
Keeping Us Small
The real challenge for women is that even if we get beyond those messages designed by our loved ones to protect us, society also has ways to keep us small…. lack of funding for our businesses! This has been a very effective tool in keeping us in our place. Without money our businesses must remain small, we must think small and we must work even harder to stay in business.
The struggle of women in business has been a topic that is near and dear to my heart. You may know that I’m an entrepreneur and a champion of women. As a mentor to professionals and women business owners, I understand the challenges all too well.
Women Have Money
While many women struggle to get funding, some women do have money. And lots of it…. According to a 2014 report U.S. women exercise decision-making control over $11.2 trillion. That’s a whopping 39% of the nation’s estimated $28.6 trillion in assets that can be invested. And nearly half of that amount—$5.1 trillion—is managed solely by women.
Share the Wealth
Taking a look at the ten richest U.S. women, I notice that most of them inherited their money. This may influence their decisions on how they invest. While I don’t know how their money is used, what and whom they are investing in, I’m pretty sure they could make a huge impact on female owned business. If they set aside a tiny portion of their resources to invest in women, we might not have such a hard time getting financing!
Still We Succeed
Research shows that women are outdoing men. According to First Round Capital, companies with women founders performed 63% higher than management teams solely made up of men. However, businesses with women on the executive team received a lowly 7% of venture funding between 2011 and 2013.
In my eyes, women are staying small because we are being strangled. Lack of funding is killing our opportunities to grow but there may be ways to get the resources that we need. The following list just might help you think BIG.
Venture Capital vs Angel Investors
Many people are confused by the difference between Venture Capital and Angel Investors. Here are simple definitions that give clarity.
Venture Capital – Companies or firms investing other people’s money.
Angel Investors – Individuals investing their own funds.
Female Focused Venture Capital
There are many female focused venture capital funds that have sprung up to help fund your start up, mid-level and even buyouts. Not only are these organizations offering money to qualified women, some of them are also offering education and support. You might want to check out Halogen Ventures, BBG Ventures and Hypatia Capital to name just a few.
Female Friendly Funds
While this list doesn’t only focus on women, this might be another way to start thinking about getting the funding you need. Consider Intel Capital Diversity Fund (the largest fund ever created to assist diverse entrepreneurs), Cowboy Ventures or Starvest Partners.
Since you’re dealing with real people who have generally been successful already, an Angel Investor might be more valuable for business owners who need a more hands on approach. Consider Broadway Angels, 37 Angels and Belle Capital USA.
Other ways to fund your company and your dream might include grants, sponsorships and equity shares.
Get the Flow in the Right Direction
I hope this has helped you think beyond the way women usually fund their business which is private funding, personal loans and credit cards. While lots of money is flowing out there, maybe this list will help get it flowing your way.
- Posted by Regina
- On November 9, 2017
- 0 Comments