Women entrepreneurs face a much tougher world when they begin or try to flourish in an otherwise male-dominated industry. From social challenges to personal hardships to funding obstacles — there are a whole lot of difficulties that welcome a businesswoman when compared to her male counterpart. As a result, women entrepreneurs are far more vulnerable to situations than the men and need to put up a far bigger effort to overcome them.
Women are facing a bigger difficulty in times of the pandemic as well. While more than 36 million people in the US have lost their jobs in a matter of months, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown that it is the women who are feeling the losses more. More updates on women losing jobs say in the month of April, women accounted for 55 percent of the 20-million-plus jobs getting wiped out. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the number of women who lost jobs in April is more than the number of women who gained jobs between the Great Recession in July 2010 and the start of the coronavirus crisis in 2020 (over 11 million). Around the world, women entrepreneurs who worked hard to begin their own businesses that not only fed their own families but of others and helped them make an identity of themselves, have faced a major challenge because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Are there ways by which women entrepreneurs can minimize the impact of the blow that situations (like Covid-19 or other extreme challenges) can deliver? Just as they face more fundamental challenges than their men counterparts, are there also ways that could help them avoid getting hit worse than the men? Surely, there are.
Make the human touch more intense:
Success in business is not just about monetary profits and losses or the expansion of the venture’s scope. A success entrepreneur is also one who puts a lot of emphasis on the ‘human touch’ factor. By human touch, one means looking at subordinates or co-workers and their problems through the lens of humanitarian considerations. Women entrepreneurs are known to have a better grip on this soft skill and they must make use of it when facing a low in business. The ‘human touch’ in times of challenges can also see extending free services to people which will keep the customers’ trust on the service provider strong. Of course, this is something that a male entrepreneur can also do but one believes women have a more effective way of handling inter-personal relations, especially with women clients. Pooja Cariappa, a 42-year-old yoga instructor based in Mumbai, India, initially decided to hold free sessions after her business got closed because of the pandemic and after some time, she started charging a fee. People enrolled from all over the world for the online classes just through the word of mouth.
Build a woman community:
It is always a wise step for the women entrepreneur to build a community with fellow businesswomen. The community can include not only women doing similar businesses but also those who are in other businesses but have a same story of struggle to offer. By establishing a women-only or women-majority network, women entrepreneurs can always find a support system in times of need. A good network can provide the women entrepreneurs access to role models or mentors and by sharing each other stories and finding possible solutions to mutual problems, they can minimize chances of getting hit in hard times.
Go for that worthy mentor:
Alison Koplar Wyatt, the former president and CEO of Girlboss, once said women businesspersons go more after mentors while their male counterparts prefer sponsors more. Mentors are people to whom we go for advice while sponsors are those who trust our potential and advocate for us when we are not around. According to experts, women too need to go after sponsors who would work as their ears planted on the ground and help them go closer to their goals. While this bit is true when it comes to making profits in good times, women entrepreneurs can also hope to benefit from having a mentor more than a sponsor when times are not so favorable. Mentors can be more handy in challenging times as they can guide us on ways to handle tough situations in life through their rich experiences. Running after profits and money can be done latter as well but when hard times hit us, survival remains our topmost priority and by having the right mentor by their side, the women entrepreneurs can expect to minimize the impact on them.
Be absolutely confident, get the money:
Often, women entrepreneurs are accused of not being confident enough when it comes to fundraising. Put in another way, women are considered more honest when assessing a risk and as a result, they trail men who are more affirmative about the potential results. Since women raise their funds less aggressively than men, focusing on their need than what they can get, it is natural for them to face a bigger hit than men in times of adversity. It is therefore very much necessary for the women entrepreneurs to show the confidence and bag as much as funds they can so that it comes to their own aid in times of crisis or general need.
Get rid of the ego, listen to feedback:
One area where women entrepreneurs can do well than the men in business ventures is to get rid of the ego easily. This is a very effective way to minimize setbacks in business. It is always advisable to listen both positive and negative feedback. While positive feedback helps boosting the confidence, negative feedback, if taken seriously, can improve the overall running of the business. Moreover, if a woman businessperson can set these examples before her workforce, their admiration and respect for her will grow. The client and customers will also find such a personality more trustable. In a world dominated by males and their infallible egos, such a flexible personality can create a possibility where a low in the business can be tackled with less pain.
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