Nationally, women own more than 9.1 million firms generating $1.4 trillion in sales and employing nearly 7.9 million people, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners. Needless to say, women are a force to be reckoned with in the business world! Time to admit the boardrooms are no longer just a boy’s club.
But before her dream of owning a business becomes a reality, a woman founder must first garner enough funding to get the business off the ground. Funding for small business owners — especially women business owners — can be quite the challenge. Recently, new headlines about women-owned tech companies encountering discrimination and unequal opportunity when it comes to funding appear to pop up every day. After all, there are still only 3% of women CEOs receiving venture capital money.
Because of these extra obstacles that come with starting a woman-owned business, women founders need all the help they can get. Sometimes this help comes in the form of awesome mentors and angel investors, while other times it means taking advantage of easily accessible resources.
There are both online and offline resources and communities ready to assist with small business loans for women, grants for women in business and other types of business-related items. Here are some great resources specifically for woman-owned businesses that you should utilize if you are starting your own company.
1. Funding for Women
There are several funding and investing resources specifically targeted toward women starting their businesses and fostering business growth. Resources like the Women’s Venture Capital Fund and the Female Founder Fund invest in women entrepreneurs and can assist you with your funding. Entrepreneur magazine also broke down 50 funding resources for women that you should keep handy as a reference when you need a new funding source.
Keep in mind that when you are asking for funding, you should have a clear business plan ready. And in order to get ready for this critical step, the SCORE Success Blog offers information on running a woman-owned business; they even offer a mentoring program.
2. Forming Your Business
Forming your business can be challenging, especially since you may lack the financing and consulting to hit the ground running in the beginning stages. This is where awesome companies like Incfile can assist you in forming your business entity, understanding your state filing fees and taxes, provide you with business license research and much more. Incfile has registered agents and tools to help you successfully form your business and maintain daily operations.
Other important initial steps you may need assistance with include state tax registration, obtaining a business license and acquiring an employer identification number. If you are eager to learn more about everything related to your new business, click through the Learning Center — it's jam-packed with useful information for every challenge and business type.
3. Strength in Numbers
It takes a village to make a business successful, and women entrepreneurs need to lean on each other for support and guidance through the triumphs and the setbacks. There are plenty of communities both online and offline that a woman business owner can and should join. Here are just a few to check out and see whether they're a good fit for you:
Joining one or more of these communities allows you access to some of the most powerful women who have deep pockets, excellent experience, top-notch connections and knowledge to guide you in propelling your business further.
Take the Leap
It is never going to be the “perfect time” to start your dream business. The reality is, you just have to dive in and work hard until you're swimming. This can be terrifying for anyone about to form a business, but women entrepreneurs have more to fear since the reality of receiving funding and other business assistance is statistically more of a challenge.
That said, the more resources you can take advantage of for your funding, business formation and networking the better. You can never receive too much help on the path to your dream! Just remember to pay it forward when your woman-owned business becomes a Fortune 500 company.
Ready to add your name to the growing list of women who have taken the leap and started their own business? You can do it today! Forming your dream business entity with Incfile is easy and will allow you to get the assistance you need without all the expensive costs.
Lisa Crocco is a marketer for an international food manufacturer by day and a freelance writer/marketer for startups and small businesses by night. She's written for outlets like USA Today College, Career Contessa, CloudPeeps and Fairygodboss.