Women entrepreneurs often have to face challenges that their male counterparts usually do not. These hurdles can be overcome by understanding the underlying causes and determining the right approach to take:
Being competitive: When starting out in business, almost every entrepreneur will have some moments of self-doubt, but men overcome this by being aggressively competitive, while women are inclined to worry about building good relationships and gaining approval.
You will succeed more as an entrepreneurial woman by being yourself. When you have put so much of yourself into starting up your own business, you can be confident about dealing with competition, knowing it is your hard work and personal commitment that will put you ahead of your rivals.
Being unused to self-promotion: Men usually feel more comfortable than women about self-promotion. Women tend not to brag about their accomplishments, skills and personal qualities and are more likely to focus on the needs of others.
Self-promotion is important in business. You have to draw attention to what you are capable of and how much you have already achieved.
Balancing business with family life: Many women in business are also mothers, but trying to get the right balance between the two roles can be very stressful. Pregnancy, childcare and cultural pressures can affect women entrepreneurs to a great extent and create conflicts that most men do not experience.
Technology is a great help in finding ways to achieve a better balance between being a good mother and a top business person.
Having fewer networking opportunities: Many business deals by men are made through networking and belonging to 'the club' or being 'one of the old boys'. Many of these opportunities are not available to women.
However, technology has made it less difficult for women to build business connections, to demonstrate strong leadership and to collaborate with others. Important networking events are promoted online and business connections can be strengthened through social media. Support is available through Internet forums for female entrepreneurs and in female-focused business groups.
Gender discrimination: Though gender discrimination is less widespread than it was in the past, sex discrimination still continues in less obvious ways and presents a real challenge for female entrepreneurs.
The best way to deal with this type of discrimination is by facing up to the competition, becoming more comfortable with self-promotion, balancing your family life with your commitment to business and making the most of new networking opportunities for entrepreneurial women.