Estimated reading time: 5 mins
The US currently has eight million businesses majority run by women. Needless to say, the economic impact of these enterprises is huge. In order to have more businesses launched and run by women, it’s important to offer the right kind of encouragement of young female professionals in the workplace.
Young women can change the world of business for the better. This change is already happening. In 2012, women owned 36 percent of all business in the US – an increase of 30 percent since 2007. While women are still facing some challenges, many have managed to demonstrate their expertise and establish their positions in the tough corporate world.
To help young women grow professionally, it’s important to groom young female leaders. A few strategies have already proven to be quite effective.
Turning a Talent into a Business
Johan Collins, a content strategist at Top Aussie Writers, shares the intricacies of how to transform the talent into a profitable business: «It’s the responsibility of managers and supervisors to identify the passions and talents of their employees. These passions can be nourished and expanded until they materialize themselves in a viable business idea».
Many women have managed to set up a successful business at a relatively young age. Ashley Qualls began her business at the age of 14 and today her company Whateverlife.com has been valued at about 1.5 million dollars. Catherine Cook set up a highly successful website at the age of 22 and today it’s revenue is 24 million dollars.
It’s not difficult to come up with an idea. It’s much more difficult to turn that passion into a business that will sell products and services. This is where guidance will come into effect, helping young female professionals translate their dreams in an actionable business plan.
Focus on the Development of a Leadership Style
The development of a leadership style is equally crucial for a young entrepreneur.
A leadership style can easily develop when a person who’s just making their first steps in the world of business has a role model. In the past, a shortage of female role models made it difficult for young women in business to get inspired. Things have become much different today.
Leadership is quite often learned through the observation of others. This is why young professionals need someone who has the right style and who knows what it takes to guide a business to success.
Encouraging young women to join professional associations that bring together female entrepreneurs is an excellent idea for a workplace that doesn’t have a big number of female leaders. These organizations are also an excellent choice because they give young professionals an opportunity to test their own leadership skills out of the workplace.
Having a mentor at the workplace is the next important step towards the development of entrepreneurial skills.
Putting Emphasis on the Acquisition of Funding
One area that’s still problematic for many young entrepreneurs is the acquisition of funds for the realization of a business idea.
An experienced professional should focus on helping a young woman in the workplace to identify and seize opportunities as they come along. Someone who has been there can pinpoint the practical aspects of starting a company – from having a viable business plan to identifying the best sources of funding (from loans to angel investors).
Sad as it may be, female entrepreneurs still have a hard time acquiring funding for their projects. Statistics suggest that businesses owned and run by women get only seven percent of venture capital investment funds. Loan approval rates for women also tend to be lower than those for men.
Business stereotypes are still at play here. Many see the successful entrepreneur as an alpha male. When female entrepreneurs approach investors, their skills will often times be questioned. On top of that, venture capitalists have their own “circle” and they’re more likely to fund projects of people in their own circle.
A mentor will have to guide a young female professional through this maze and help her pinpoint the best funding opportunities for a business idea. It’s very important to give her ideas about suitable loans, competitions, grants and startup initiatives that could potentially result in sustainable funding. There are many opportunities created for the needs of female entrepreneurs and with a bit of guidance, a young professional could easily qualify for some of those.
Identifying and Overcoming Other Common Challenges
Entrepreneurial women are likely to face an array of additional challenges along the way.
For a start, there are social expectations that women in business need to defy in order to be successful. They may feel like adopting a stereotypical “male behavior” is the only way to go in the corporate world. It’s crucial to teach women the importance of being themselves and standing firmly for what they believe in.
Next, women will often have to establish themselves in a male-dominated world. Coming in as a female and having to act as the leader for a male team is going to be even more challenging. Thus, mentors and supervisors have to teach female professionals how to show their expertise and earn respect right from the start. Very often, women will have to put in much more work and prepare thoroughly to avoid dismissal and be heart in the cutthroat corporate world.
A few other challenges that the mentors of young female professionals will have to focus on include knowing one’s own worth in the business world (many women are guilty of putting themselves down), finding the right balance between business and personal life, overcoming the fear of failure and building a reliable support network.
Do you have some experience with being a young female professional in need of encouragement? Have you ever been the supervisor of a woman who is making her first steps in the entrepreneurial world? If so, we’d love to learn about your experience.