Category: Marketing

Breaking Barriers: How US Womxn Entrepreneurs Can Overcome These 4 Common Business Hurdles

Hurdles are nothing new to womxn entrepreneurs in the US. While we’ve come a long way from challenges like needing our husbands’ or fathers’ signatures for loan or credit applications thanks to the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, we still have some ways to go to secure our seats at the table. Still, with passion and determination, womxn business owners can overcome any obstacle on their path to success.

Let’s look at four common hurdles that womxn entrepreneurs typically face in the business arena. More importantly, let’s examine how we can get over them

Hurdle #1: Lack of Access to Capital

One of the biggest obstacles to any womxn entrepreneur’s success is lack of access to capital. Without funding or resources, we can’t build, much less grow, a thriving business.

As of 2019, women-owned businesses have created 10.8 million jobs in the US. They’ve also generated $1.8 trillion in earnings. And yet, in 2022, some 25% of women entrepreneurs have had their business loan applications denied compared to 19% of men. In 2023, only 28.4% of loans backed by the US Small Business Administration went to women-owned companies. As for venture capital funding, women-owned businesses received only 2% of the total capital invested by the end of 2023. 

We’re clearly looking at a considerable gap in capital access for womxn entrepreneurs here. This is why many opt to self-fund their businesses by dipping into personal savings, using their personal credit cards, or with the help of family and friends.

But self-funding isn’t a choice that everyone can make. If that’s your case, here are options you can explore to raise capital for your business:

  1. Check out resources like Access to Capital Directory for Entrepreneurs by Bank of America.
  2. Set up crowdfunding campaigns through sites like Kickstarter and IFundWomen.
  3. Find women-led investment groups like Broadway Angels and TrueWealth Ventures.
  4. See what funding avenues are available at your local SBA Women’s Business Center.

 Nina Vaca: Starting a business with $300

As the CEO of Pinnacle Group, Nina Vaca is one of the rare Latina leaders in the male-dominated IT industry. Her father’s death in the late 1980s compelled her to take over his travel agency at age 17. In 1996, when she was 25 years old, Nina started Pinnacle in her living room with only $300 in her pocket as a way to expand her family’s network. Today, Pinnacle is a billion-dollar company and one of the biggest workforce solutions providers in the world. It’s also one of the fastest-growing woman-owned businesses in the US.

 

Hurdle #2: Gender Bias and Stereotypes

Getting funding is challenging for women business owners because of two huge factors: 1) the prevailing stereotypes our society has formed for females and 2) the gender bias that grew from these stereotypes.

A 2018 study showed that white male-dominated investing companies tend to look at the applicant’s gender when considering business pitches. These investors often see women-owned businesses as riskier. They also judge female applicants based on the quality of their pitches and their confidence in delivering them.

Another 2018 study found that male investors usually perceive that the venture has a higher risk of failure if a woman’s business is in a male-dominated industry.

And then, there’s the age-old debate about women and emotional labor. Women are expected to bear the brunt of the labor at home. According to this article, traditional financiers are likely to deny loans to women business owners who are mothers and homemakers. The common belief is that CEOs who are also moms won’t be able to prioritize growing their companies. 

Lastly, we have the common gender perception that women are emotional and, therefore, lack the assertiveness necessary for leadership. While this characteristic is now seen as empathy, being more in tune with their emotions is still seen as a negative for women entrepreneurs in some circles.

Gender perceptions are learned, so it will take time for society to completely change how women are seen. We need to fight our small and personal battles in this arena. Here are some strategies we can adopt to win these battles:

  1. People don’t know what you know. Explore ways to position yourself as an expert in what you know.
  2. In a room full of colleagues and peers, don’t wait for others to introduce you as the expert in what you know. Introduce yourself.
  3. Surround yourself with a tight circle of diverse advisors and mentors, not just women. Having male advisors will give you an insight into why men in your industry behave the way they do. 
  4. Build your social capital and plug into business networks in your area, such as your city’s chamber of commerce or local NAWBO chapter. 

Mariyah Saifuddin: Setting the stage

Innovative Solution Partners CEO Mariyah Saifuddin often finds herself the only woman in the room whenever she meets with colleagues. The experience made her an expert at setting the tone whenever she enters a room. She does this by introducing herself as the owner of her company and showing what she brings to the table as an IT professional. She doesn’t wait for anyone else to make introductions for her.

 

Hurdle #3: Work-Life Imbalance

Prevalent gender stereotypes also contribute to another hurdle that women business owners typically experience: the lack of work-life balance. As mentioned earlier, women are expected to shoulder the brunt of emotional labor. They’re traditionally seen as the primary caregivers for their families and households.

A San Diego, CA-based study in 2023 found that the participating women struggled to balance the demands of caring for their children and running their businesses. This was especially true during their early years of operations. Ironically, the participants shared that they started their own business to have more time for family.

Why do women business owners need to balance their personal and professional lives? For one, it helps us stay healthy physically and mentally. It’s all too easy to get caught up with the demands of running a business. If we don’t keep this balance, we’ll soon be headed for burnout.

Another is it gives us a sense of fulfillment, especially regarding relationships. Maintaining balance allows us to strengthen and enjoy our relationships with family and friends. It also makes space for us to relish the fruits of our labor.

Yet another reason is it keeps us productive and creative. Time away from work helps us relax and recharge. We can do more when rested and process information more effectively when our minds have had time to unwind.

How can we create a balance between our professional and personal lives?

  1. Build a team to support you. Having a team to whom you can delegate tasks can free up much of your time and energy. This lets you focus on what matters instead of getting tied up with the day-to-day. Even hiring a part-time virtual assistant to, say, manage your emails and phone calls can make a difference.
  2. Explore childcare options. If you need to attend to tasks without getting distracted by your kids, check out available childcare options. Your spouse or a family member can look after your kids while you work. You can also sign up for daycare or get a babysitter.
  3. Set boundaries. Setting boundaries will prevent you from getting too caught up with the demands of your business. This can be as simple as limiting your work time to certain hours. On the flip side, you may need to impress upon your family that you can’t be distracted during your work time unless necessary.
  4. Schedule some me-time. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Keep your cup refilled by setting aside time for yourself – for meditating, exercising, working on a hobby, reading a book, or even lolling in bed and doing nothing.

Queirra Fenderson: Building your business around your life

Business coach and The Ambition Studio founder Queirra Fenderson talked about building your business around what’s going on in your life. She shared that when she and her husband were trying to get pregnant through IVF, she reorganized her work around her doctors’ appointments and prioritized self-care. She stressed the importance of identifying the life you want to lead and structuring your business around it.

 

Hurdle #4: Limiting Beliefs

Perhaps the biggest hurdle that womxn business owners face is their own limiting beliefs. If you see yourself in a negative light, you’re restricting your potential.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have faith in our abilities. When we have a strong self-belief, we empower ourselves to overcome the obstacles to our success. We become resilient enough to push against the challenges ahead. We can trust our judgment and decisions and take the risks we need to grow.

Plus, a strong self-belief negates the impostor syndrome that can keep you from celebrating even your smallest wins. When you believe in yourself and act on your beliefs, you win your team’s and peers’ respect, and you can inspire others with your story.

How can you overcome your limiting beliefs?

  1. Journaling. Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal can help you identify and question your limiting beliefs. Ask yourself why you believe or feel the way you do. Analyze your behavior and what triggers them.
  2. Reframe your beliefs. Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, find a way to reframe them into empowering statements about yourself. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” tell yourself, “I am capable of learning how to do this.” Also, list the values you want to believe you have, visualize yourself achieving success through them, and affirm yourself daily with them.
  3. Set smaller and achievable goals. While setting big and lofty goals is exciting, you may reinforce your limiting beliefs if you don’t achieve the expected results. Set the bar within your reach. Celebrate once you’ve reached the goalpost, and then take one step out of your comfort zone and set another goal.
  4. Get support. Having someone to talk to and be accountable for your limiting beliefs helps a lot in overcoming them. That someone could be your spouse or partner, a trusted family member, a close friend, or maybe your therapist or life coach. Hearing yourself talk to someone about how you see yourself can be enlightening. You can also gain perspective when you hear someone else’s thoughts about you and how you’re doing. 

Nicole Chamblin: Knowing your worth

Leadership and productivity coach Nicole Chamblin shared that doubt is the biggest challenge she must continually go through. She said it’s easy to compare ourselves with others and allow the negative voices to creep into your head because of these comparisons. Knowing your worth and reminding yourself frequently of your worth are powerful weapons against self-doubt.

Hurdles are nothing new to womxn entrepreneurs in the US. We’ve come so far, and we still have a lot of challenges along the way. But as long as we are determined to overcome these hurdles, we can achieve our success stories.

 


Innovate Like a Pro : Unlocking Business Success Through Cultural Diversity

These days, diversity has become even more important in the workplace. More companies are embracing a remote setup and hiring talented professionals from all over the world. Not only does this add different mindsets and backgrounds to a company, but may also contribute to improved productivity. In fact, McKinsey & Company has a report stating that companies that honor diversity are 35% more likely to be more efficient than their competitors. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to embrace cultural diversity in your business to develop more innovative ideas, have better problem-solving, and gain broader market appeal.

What does diversity mean?

It’s important that you understand what we mean when we say “diversity.” Cultural diversity in the workplace refers to the inclusion and representation of individuals from various backgrounds, demographics, and identities within an organization. It’s not meant to “check a box” in your organization’s “representation” quota but to encourage professionals from all over the world to contribute to your business regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status, among others. 

Cultural diversity in the workplace recognizes the unique perspectives and talents that individuals bring to the table and harnesses these differences for the benefit of your group. 

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

A diverse workplace encourages innovation, creativity, and problem-solving by bringing together a broad range of ideas and perspectives. It can improve employee engagement because people feel a sense of belonging and are more willing to be more authentic while working.

Diverse companies also have the unique advantage of understanding and serving a more extensive target audience, which could improve customer satisfaction and business success.

How having a culturally diverse workforce can benefit your company

The benefits of diversity are countless, but here are five benefits that could significantly impact your bottom line. 

  • It helps maximize skill.

With a culturally diverse workforce, you look for talent and talent only. By focusing on the person’s skill set, you empower individuals to bring their best selves to work. Your organization benefits because you have a team composed of skilled professionals who are confident in their abilities and the abilities of their co-workers. 

You also boost problem-solving capabilities in your team because you are fostering an environment where all voices are heard and valued. 

  • It helps you retain talents.

Aside from attracting a broader talent pool, cultural diversity is crucial to building respect between you and your employees. Your team understands that you trust them and value their skills, which makes valuable candidates want to join (and stay) in your company. 

  • It improves your team’s creativity.

Studies have shown that a culturally diverse company is more creative. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, you have more opportunities to have another pair of eyes looking at and solving an issue. Remember that having a more diverse workforce brings new ways of thinking into your business that can be applied in many ways. This way, you will not be pigeonholed in one direction. 

  • It increases employee engagement.

Even if your company operates remotely, something must be said about having a culturally diverse group. You can communicate directly with someone from a different culture or background and gain firsthand knowledge of interacting with someone different. Further, your team can also engage with different people for work. This helps build trust and can lead to greater motivation, collaboration, and loyalty. 

  • It boosts your company’s reputation.

A company that is known to employ people from all over the world is considered a good employer. Today, workers want to know they are valued for their skills and won’t be judged by arbitrary factors. This reputation will elevate your company’s standing and attract more people to come and work there. 

More importantly, having a good online (and offline) reputation can boost your credibility with your target audience. Your customers learn how to respect your brand for your excellent service and your dedication to your employees.

Conclusion

Maintaining a culturally diverse workplace can do wonders for your company. You benefit from having a talented pool of workers who appreciate and work well together. 

You also get to attract and retain top talent. Organizations prioritizing diversity and inclusivity tend to attract a diverse pool of skilled individuals seeking an environment that respects and celebrates differences. This, in turn, aids in retaining talent, reducing turnover, and creating a positive reputation as an employer of choice.

Ultimately, a culturally diverse workplace promotes a culture of respect, acceptance, and inclusivity. It sets the stage for mutual understanding, collaboration, and harmony among employees, fostering a conducive environment for personal and professional growth while contributing significantly to the success and sustainability of the organization. Embracing diversity isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage that paves the way for a brighter, more innovative, and prosperous future.


Top 10 Branding Must-Haves for Holistic Health Practitioners

As a business owner, you must know how to market your brand to gain new customers, build visibility, and maintain a good reputation across the board. But you may be struggling with finding the right branding strategies for your company, especially if you are part of the holistic health industry. 

Having a well-informed and multi-faceted marketing plan can make an enormous difference in your success – while also adding credibility to your brand, whether you’re a Reiki master or yoga instructor! 

Here are 10 branding must-haves you can consider to help you get started or improve your current marketing plan. 

1. Show your credentials, if you can

Your credentials matter. Having a state license can add credibility to your brand and attract more customers to your business. You can also post any licenses or training certificates you may have or are currently taking to augment your “About me” page. 

If you plan to receive money in exchange for certain health services, it’s a good idea to look at your state’s laws on how you should proceed. For example, you may need to be accredited by the Professional Wellness Alliance (PWA) if you want to legally be able to provide services. 

It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have credentials yet, especially if you’re just starting. However, you should plan your marketing efforts to slowly build up your credentials. This not only gives you better branding but also provides peace of mind that you are operating in a safe, legal environment. 

2. Define what makes you different 

As with any good branding strategy, you need to know how to differentiate your holistic health business from your competitors. Identify and highlight your unique selling points and keep repeating them throughout your social media. 

For example, if your health business offers a combination of Reiki with sound healing and manifestation practices, your brand strategy should highlight this unique blend. You can showcase how this combination can provide potential clients with a comprehensive and holistic approach to their well-being. 

3. Know your audience

No two holistic health businesses are the same, so it makes sense that no two customers are, either! Based on what you offer, try to gather as much information as you can on your target customer. Think about their needs and preferences and build your branding strategy from there! 

During the early stages of your marketing, you can ask your potential clients what they want from their holistic health business. Keep track of this information so that you can easily identify trends. 

4. Make a plan

This is especially true if you’re a one-person business or just starting. You need to make a simple and realistic marketing plan that works within your budget, time availability, and skills. You may want to go all out with your marketing plan – but remember that it’s better to start small but efficient than have a grand plan that is all over the place. 

5. Use the right advertising mediums

It is a common misconception that all businesses need Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This is why it’s so important that you know your target audience. Are you looking to attract tech-savvy individuals or is your ideal client more interested in word-of-mouth? 

Choosing the right advertising medium ensures that you get the right attention from the right people. This also maximizes your budget as you use your money more wisely on advertising that will work best for you and your company. 

6. Join a professional organization

If you’re a holistic health business, you will inevitably come across people who will think of your company as a lot of “woo woo”. The best way to reduce this is to join a professional organization. Not only does this add credibility to your brand, but it also provides free promotion, as these organizations typically include you in their professional directory. 

7. Make a website

Make your website easy to navigate and understand. This is particularly true if your holistic health business is a little esoteric and may need some explanation of the services you provide. It’s a good idea to also include several media that show what you have to offer. 

If your budget allows for it, you may want to create a professional website on DIY platforms for a monthly fee. 

8. Use social media

Make a habit of regularly engaging with your customers. Not only will this help build better relationships with them, but also help you understand their needs better. Most customers are more honest about their experiences on social media – so it’s a great way to hear unfiltered comments about your business. 

9. Create an email newsletter

Consider creating an e-mail newsletter that you can easily manage and schedule. Remember to always ask permission from your clients before adding them to your newsletter list! A lot of people don’t want to receive emails, so make sure that you inform them if they will be added to any list. 

You can use your newsletter to alert your community about any upcoming events, promotions, specials, or discounts for your holistic health business. 

10. Ask for ratings and reviews

A great way to build your holistic health brand is to ask satisfied clients to write a review online. This also has the added benefit of improving your SEO ranking and boosting your brand on popular search engines. 

 

Conclusion:

Owning a holistic health business does not have to be difficult if you have a well-thought-out branding strategy. Keep in mind that the goal is to build credibility, so it’s okay to take things slow and steady at first rather than go all out but have a confused marketing plan.


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