Why So Many Women-Led Businesses Fail and What Women Can Do About It

The business of running a profit-making venture is not for the faint-hearted. Like any goal of significance worth pursuing, careful consideration is necessary before deciding to own or run a business of any kind. Having said that, running a business can be both rewarding and fulfilling especially if you engage in creating and delivering a product or service you not only find interesting and enjoyable, but that is also relevant and solves an urgent problem in the market place.

Women have over the years steadily and surely made their mark in what is deemed “a man’s world”. Jenna Goudreau of Forbes.com says, 

“Women are now the majority of global graduates, earning 58% of the world’s college degrees. And in an economy in turmoil, women dominate growing industries—fields like health-care, education and personal services—and are responsible for starting two out of every five small businesses.”

Formal women-owned businesses represent approximately 37% of enterprises globally, a percentage forecast to continue growing. If both public and private sectors paid more attention to tackling gender inequality, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 – according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. However, even with the continuing rise in female entrepreneurship, the failure rate of women-led businesses is a concern. Want to guess the survival rate for your business based on data? Have a look at the Ormsby Street business Survival Calculator.

Leading global consultancy, Deloitte, undertook a project to assess the impact of women entrepreneurs on the UK’s national economy. In their research and assessment of female entrepreneurship they found that longevity rates of women’s businesses are lower than those set up by men, and that ambitious and talented women entrepreneurs need more collaborative ecosystems to provide leadership and network development opportunities.

  • Confidence – in themselves and their products or services
  • Capability – the skill-set and expertise required to succeed in their chosen field
  • Capital – funding to start or grow

In my own experience helping new businesses start-up and grow, there are 4 areas I believe women entrepreneurs can focus on to help maximise their potential to succeed in business.

  1. Effective communication
    Objections in business can be overcome by learning the art of effective communication; both verbal and non-verbal. Without a doubt, communication can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker. The ability to build rapport quickly and find common ground increases the chances of converting a complete stranger or an opponent, into a valuable contact, client or investor. This a skill that one needs to invest in honing regularly.
  2. Confidence
    Founder of The Confidence Factor for Women and leading global advocate for women in leadership, Carol Sankar, says:

    “We consistently discuss the importance of gaining access to professional mentors, but there is also a fear of seeking mentorship outside of one’s comfort zone…

    There is something to be said about delivering a sales pitch, or a product or service with calmness, clarity and confidence. Loud and aggressive does not always equal persuasive. In the same vein, being a wallflower won’t make you profits. Negotiation is an art and those who are confident go much further than those who are not.

  3. Consistency
    Repetition is the mother of mastery. It is true that women have to work hard to prove themselves in a world where they experience ageism, sexism, racism and other ‘isms’. The world has a long way to go in squashing gender inequality. Even with the best skills in the world, without consistency there can be no progress or growth. Becoming influential in your field doesn’t happen overnight. It takes continuous personal and professional development, staying connected with your target market, building strong business relationships and learning to communicate your value proposition effectively.
  4. Self-empowerment
    Self –empowerment for women is vital when navigating what can be rough business terrain. Whether through common-interest groups, success networks, reading, listening to audiobooks, prayer or meditation, self-empowerment helps women stay balanced and grounded. It reminds them to have and keep well defined personal values and sound business principles as well as maximise their strengths without being overcome by their shortcomings. Self-empowerment helps women understand and remember that perfection is a myth, growth is a process and life is a journey.

Registration for the next CONNECT . CONVINCE . CONVERT Masterclass on 16th June 2017 is open. Learn secrets to sales conversations that will help you attract more clients, more sales and increase your influence in your business.

The Motivational Listener

Noreen is a Business Advisor, Brand Strategist and Leadership Consultant with years of experience coaching, training and consulting for businesses keen to boost performance, productivity and profits. She helps mission-driven Visionaries, Leaders & Creators take their ideas from-concept-to-reality faster and get paid to serve the world doing what they love.

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