The business world is in the middle of a shift: there are far more women starting their own businesses than ever before.
But despite this progress, very few of these businesses go on to massive success. In the UK, the top 10 most profitable corporations are all owned by men, and less than 10% of FTSE 100 boards have women in leadership roles.
‘Rich Woman’ author and entrepreneur, Kim Kiyosaki, has some ideas on why that is…
“Female entrepreneurs face an unfair number of obstacles purely based on our gender,” she says, “and these obstacles make it harder for women-owned businesses to succeed, let alone thrive.”
“While some would say that the deck is stacked against us from birth, I’m going to argue that there are also some things we women do to make the path to entrepreneurship and owning a multimillion-dollar business harder on ourselves.”
“More women try to bootstrap their own entrepreneurial endeavours than men,” says Kim.
“Studies show that only 25% of women were likely to seek financing for their businesses, compared to 34% of men.”
In fact, Kim says, women are much more likely than men to attempt to finance their own businesses themselves. But it’s not all our fault—women tend to receive smaller loans with higher interest rates, and get approved less often.
How do we start breaking down this barrier?
“I’d suggest seeking out female-centric investor groups who are particularly keen on supporting other women,” says Kim. “If you choose to go a more traditional route, make sure you aren’t being unnecessarily conservative with your projections. And, don’t hesitate to negotiate for the capital you need.”
“The majority of entrepreneurs don’t have a four-year degree, regardless of gender,” says Kim, “yet you sure don’t see the lack of a diploma holding men back!”
It’s important not to let a lack of confidence hold you back. If you’re struggling to feel like you’re up to the role of entrepreneur, Kim suggests seeking some help.
“Maybe you need a coach to help you see the potential you have. Maybe you need to call your best friend and get a pep talk.”
“Or maybe you need to sit down for a couple hours and write out all the great wins you’ve had in your life and wonderful blessings you enjoy. Each will help you gain more confidence. And you’ll need that confidence to raise capital, make your first sale, overcome your first failure, hire the right people, fire the wrong people, make tough decisions, decide which advice to take and which to ignore, and take your business to the next level.”
Being confident doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers—but you have to trust in yourself that you’ll know where to find them. -Kim Kiyosaki
Much of the business world still privileges men—and that includes the kind of men-only networking that often happens at the bar, or over a round of golf.
Add to that the lack of female role models and mentors at the top of the chain, and it’s no wonder women end up feeling less supported than men.
“How are you supposed to build a network in a world where it’s less about ‘what you know’ and much more about ‘who you know’ when you don’t have a seat at the table or a role model you can access?” Kim points out.
“While the old boys’ club may never die, there are female equivalents that can give you the support you desire. Look for women-focused networking events, online groups dedicated to female entrepreneurs or women-owned businesses, or ask those in your inner circle for introductions to strong, successful women.”
Read our article on why professional women need to support one another for more ideas!
While these three factors do mean that women face a tougher road to the top than men, they aren’t blocking the path completely. With a little self-reflection and hard work, women can make that climb up the ladder!