Finding success in today’s competitive world as an entrepreneur is hard; a fact made even harder for women entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. Being no stranger to overcoming challenges, many women across the states have established their own companies and contribute an estimated $1.7 trillion to the economy according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.
With increased opportunities for female business owners, we are seeing a continued trend for women executives to create their own job by either buying an existing business or starting one from scratch. While this is undoubtedly an empowering move, it bears inspection to acknowledge the additional challenges that female business owners continue to face, as opposed to their male colleagues.
Despite recent strides made by businesswomen to level the playing field, the gender gap is still an obstacle that women are continually faced with, according to the World Economic Forum.
In the spirit with the upcoming International Women’s Day, we felt it beneficial to highlight in this article some of the modern-day challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and the collective need to overcome them.
Balancing Family and Business Life
Women also face challenges in finding the perfect balance between family and business life. Traditionally, women were forced to choose one or the other, but with economic times requiring that the majority of households in America need to have two incomes to operate, it is critically important to address the realities that women face when trying to juggle essentially two full time roles.
Efforts are still needed to make it easier for women to balance their business and private life. Acknowledging the fact that when both partners within a household have careers, it is only fair to spread the domestic responsibilities fairly between both is a critical step in obtaining a more equitable distribution of household and child rearing tasks. In these times, it seems that responsibilities are being shared more frequently and women are able to better gain the balance they need.
Struggle to get Acknowledged
Although the number of women CEO’s has risen drastically over the past few decades, many still face an uphill battle in getting recognized for their abilities by their male peers. At times, the biggest challenge is not to work harder than everyone else, but to overcome the negative stereotypes that many people still unfortunately assign to female professionals.
Many businesswomen in high positions report that the hardest part of the battle to the top was ignoring all the negative perceptions, and maintaining a laser focus on achieving their professional goals. This issue further highlights the need to create mentor-ship programs that aid talented women in recognizing their strengths and abilities and fostering their success in the corporate world.
Finding a Stable Support Network
Finding a robust and reliable support network is the backbone for entrepreneurial success. According to survey conduct by Inc, 48% of women business leaders felt their professional growth stunted by a lack of suitable mentors and advisors.
Unfortunately, most elite business circles are still male-dominated and entry restrictions for women make it difficult for them to form vital connections. In a world where knowing the right people is synonymous with success, it’s no wonder that women are still being left behind.
Women also seem to have a harder time reaching out to others and asking for help. In a survey conducted by 99designs, women entrepreneurs identified “getting out of their safe zone” as their biggest fear.
Encouraging and actively supporting female colleagues will help create a generation of strong women professionals that will be positive contributors to society at large.
International Search Consultants has been providing quality executive recruiting services since 1999.
ISC is proud to be WBE certified through the Womens Business Enterprise National Council ( WBENC). We actively support female professionals and proudly offer internships to diversity candidates including women that are interested in executive search opportunities. In addition, ISC’s team of executive recruiters proudly support women entrepreneurs through micro loans administered by Kiva. Please consider checking out www.Kiva.org to see how you can help make a woman entrepreneurs dreams into reality.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants and can be reached at 888-866-7276 or
Kara Onorato is in charge of ISC’s team of Software Recruiters and can be reached at 877-316-6249 or