There has never been a better time than right now to be a woman in business.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, women own more than 11.6 million companies (39 percent of privately held firms) in the U.S. This number has increased exponentially in the last several years, and it’s only going up.
A women-owned businesses is one in which 51 percent or more of the company’s ownership lies with one or more women.
But being a female-owned business owner is about more than just ownership. It means putting your best foot forward and getting the job done just as well, if not better, than anyone else.
Let’s look at the top five reasons that right now is an excellent time to be a part of a women-owned business.
1. Companies Are Seeking Female Leadership
It’s 2020 and it’s no secret that women continue to excel professionally. One main reason for this is that women make exceptional leaders.
Think about it… we all know at least one wonderful woman in our lives who has stood out in a professional setting or leadership role. Perhaps your mom owns her own company or your wife is a lead nurse at a local hospital. There is something to be said about women’s leadership skills and the unique dynamic that they bring to the world of business.
A great example of this is exemplified in a study conducted by Western Governors University. This exploration found the following to be true in regard to women as leaders:
- Women bring new and innovative ideas to the workplace
- Women are successful at promoting cooperation rather than competition
- Women are excellent at communicating
- Women use relational knowledge to problem solve
While some may think of these traits as being unconventional for a resume, these skills have become strongly recognized over the years as vital business best practices—keep it up, ladies!
“I don’t think of myself as a ‘woman in business.’ I just think of myself as a business owner.” -Deanna Scarpelli: CEO of Scarpelli Court Reporting Services
2. 2020 Offers Unique Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
There is an expansive collection of resources dedicated to women-owned businesses, which is a huge opportunity in itself. Different organizations provide different benefits, such as financial support, certification assistance, networking opportunities, and more.
One useful resource is the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This organization is dedicated to certifying women-owned businesses, as well as providing female entrepreneurs with information and advocacy.
Another opportunity unique to women-owned businesses is the current social push to represent minority groups in the market. This social development—in combination with the effects of COVID-19—have emphasized the importance of growing local and online resources for female business owners.
We are currently seeing this play out in a vast collection of blogs, podcasts, career coaching sites, and other outlets aimed at lending a hand to businesswomen everywhere. As the popularity of women-owned businesses increases, more resources become available.
Check locally to see how you can get involved with networking events, female-focused online resources, podcasts, and other tools!
Here are a few sites to help you get started:
- eWomenNetwork: Networking and Referrals for female entrepreneurs
- Ellevate: Virtual Networking and a community of women
- Women’s Networking Alliance: Network opportunities for women
- HeraHub: Workspace for women
- Small Business Trends: Advice for small business success
Bottom line? Today’s society is wildly encouraging of women in pursuit of business opportunities and ownership, so let’s give the people what they want—more women-owned businesses!
3. Funding Opportunities are Plentiful
Becoming a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) has its benefits.
In order to qualify for the designations, the entity must have 51 percent female ownership. The WOSB certification is overseen by the Small Business Association (SBA) whereas the WBE certification is granted by local, state, or other government agencies.
The most pressing difference is that a business must be a WOSB in order to participate in federal funding programs.
Once certified, a woman-owned business retains the advantage of receiving additional financial support and opportunities to bid on contracts. The SBA states that “the federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.”
Additionally, there are hundreds of private-sector companies that offer grants to women-owned small businesses. These grants range from $2,000 to $150,000, so they are often a viable option for female entrepreneurs.
Check out a few of these grant opportunities below:
- The Amber Grant for Women
- Ms. Foundation for Women
- Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
- Nav Small Business Grant
Many successful business owners have used funding opportunities, such as these, to get their company up and running. This is true for both male and female entrepreneurs.
The moral of the story is that there’s no shame in taking advantage of these funding opportunities to get ahead, especially if the survival of your business depends on it.
4. Women Are Experiencing Financial Success
According to Professor Mauro Guillen of University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School Leadership and Management Certification program, the fastest growing segment of high-net-worth individuals right now is… you guessed it—women.
Yes, you read that right.
As of 2020, women make up 27.9 percent of the total number of millionaires...and that number is projected to grow.
Out of the entire world’s population, the fastest growing demographic segment is high-net-worth women. High-net-worth individuals are defined as those with a total net worth between $500,000 and $1 million.
Meanwhile, Professor Guillen points out that “women of today enjoy better labor-market opportunities when compared to one, two, and three generations ago.”
This just goes to show that the success of these women in today’s marketplace should serve as an inspiration to women in business everywhere. Whether your company is large or small, female entrepreneurs are thriving.
5. Today's Top 5 Women-Owned Industries are Thriving
As businesses begin to reopen during COVID-19, many customers are eager to safely support them. This means that restaurants, stores, salons, and other local small businesses are finally seeing more foot traffic and consumers.
It just so happens that several of these sectors are also the most popular out of all women-owned small businesses. In fact, a study conducted by Guidant Financial shows the top five industries led by women are as follows:
- Health, Beauty, and Fitness
- Business Services
- Food and Restaurant
- Residential and Commercial Services
These industries were hit particularly hard in the beginning of 2020, and are now reemerging with the opportunity to reinvent themselves.
So for any women waiting to jumpstart their small business, trust that right now is the best time to make it happen. Start today and let us know how it goes.