Managing Your Business
Celebrating Business Women's Week
If you're a female entrepreneur, then this week is all about you! The third week of October is National Business Women's Week, which means it's time to honor and recognize hard-working businesswomen all over the U.S. and their accomplishments. Here are five hot business tips for starting and growing a business as a female entrepreneur to celebrate the national holiday.
1. Network, Network, Network
Networking has always been the backbone of business. Expanding your circle of who you know, especially in the professional space, can impact your success significantly. One of the greatest benefits of an extensive network is the ability to quickly share your business with your community.
Don't limit your network to your friends and family. Use your resources to help grow your circle. LinkedIn is a great place to start forming those professional connections. You can connect with people you know, reconnect with fellow school alumni or past co-workers, and share professional insights with your community through the platform. Plus, you can connect with other women-owned companies. Every person you know is an asset, and with LinkedIn, you can build up those connections to use when you need them.
You may also want to look into some professional organizations that support women business owners. These organizations are purpose-built for networking and career growth. They typically hold networking events and workshops multiple times a year, giving you the chance to continue to grow your network over time. The American Business Women's Association (ABWA) and National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) are national business organizations that offer networking opportunities, educational resources, and support for working women.
There are also national organizations tailored for specific business sectors, such as the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The Small Business Association (SBA) even has Women's Business Center programs that offer training and counseling to help support women-owned small businesses.
If you want to network with a smaller, more tight-knit group, there are likely professional organizations in your own community. With a quick google search, you can find one that can help you grow professionally and connect you with other female entrepreneurs.
2. Have a Mentor and Be a Mentor
No matter where you are in your career, you can benefit from having a mentor and being a mentor. Mentors are a great way to share job-specific knowledge, receive words of encouragement when times are tough, and gain a trusted ally.
Female entrepreneurs who are looking to maximize their success should look into mentorship. Through a mentor with specialized knowledge in your field, you can gain invaluable information and become more motivated to achieve your business goals.
On the other hand, it's incredibly beneficial to be a mentor to another female entrepreneur. No matter what stage you are at in your career, you have information that can open a door for someone else. These types of mentor relationships also help to expand your network. It's a win-win!
3. Look for Women-Specific Grants
It's normal for small business owners to struggle with managing finances and qualifying for loans. Fortunately, women-owned business grants and resources make it a little easier for female entrepreneurs to get the money they need to start or expand their businesses.
Grants are the best route to go, as unlike loans, you do not have to pay them back. It's money provided by the government or corporations to help you succeed financially. The Amber Grants for Women is a monthly $10,000 grant designed to help women reach their entrepreneurial dreams. Similarly, the SoGal Startup Grant provides $10,000 and $5,000 cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.
Some grants even include career advancement programs, such as the Fellows Program by the Tory Burch Foundation. This program offers for-profit, women-owned businesses a year-long program with virtual education and networking opportunities along with a $5,000 grant.
These are only a few of the many grants available to businesswomen to help ease any financial difficulty. Make sure you take advantage of these opportunities by applying to all that you are eligible for.
4. Apply for Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification
As you continue to grow your company, consider applying for women-owned business certification. The federal government and public organizations actively search for women-owned companies to award with government contracts. As a certified woman-owned business, you get more visibility for these lucrative awards. You can apply for Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification through the Small Business Association (SBA).
To be eligible for the certification, your business needs the following:
- Be a small business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has size standards to determine if a company is considered small, including annual revenue and number of employees. These standards vary depending on the industry.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by women who possess U.S. citizenship status.
- Women control the daily operations of the company and make decisions regarding the company's long-range plans.
- The highest officer position must be held by a woman who works full time for the company.
To learn more about applying for the certification, read our article on How to Get Certified As a Woman-Owned Business.
5. Support Other Women-Owned Small Businesses
One of the easiest ways to succeed as a female entrepreneur is simply supporting other women-owned small businesses. According to The Women's Business Enterprise National Council, 12.3 million women own their own business in the U.S. in 2021. Your fellow businesswomen need more support now than ever before, especially after the hardships so many business owners faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the easiest ways to show your support is by choosing women-owned businesses when you're shopping. Whether you're looking for a new red blouse or the best burger in town, spending your money at these businesses helps support female owners. If you don't have the financial means, or if you want to take an extra step, you can show support through your personal influence. For example, you can write a good review, share your experience with friends and family, and engage with the business on social media.
Whether you're just starting out or have a booming business, make sure to keep these tips in mind. And don't forget to celebrate you, your business, and all of your accomplishments as a female entrepreneur this week!
If you want to learn more, read our article on 10 Legendary Businesswomen Who Made American History.