In recent years, women-led small businesses have become more commonplace. In fact, a study from the United States Census Bureau shows an increase of 0.6% in women-owned firms from 2017 to 2018. In the same study, it’s been reported that female-led small businesses had nearly $1.8 trillion in sales, shipments, receipts, or revenue and employed over 10.1 million workers in 2018. At of the end of 2020, reports show that 12.3 million, or roughly 40%, of U.S. businesses are women-owned.
October is National Women’s Small Business Month. As we recognize the significant contributions female business leaders make, it’s equally important to provide some insights for the next generation of aspiring leaders to help foster their growth.
Here are four considerations for aspiring women business leaders.
1. Don’t be afraid to make your voice heard.
As a female business owner, you may experience business meetings as the only female in the room. Despite the possibility of being outnumbered, it’s important to ensure your voice is heard. Aside from new ideas, you can also shed light on new perspectives as a female leader. Businesses cater to many different customers and geographic locations, and it’s valuable to hear multiple ideas and perspectives to help the company become better suited to serve its broader client base.
2. Prioritize networking.
Networking is one of the most important, if not the most important, area to consider for new business leaders. Start making connections with other professionals in your industry early and grow those connections. Find networking events or groups to participate in, attend conferences, or participate in webinars. The more connections you foster and grow, the more opportunities you will have to learn and grow in the industry as a female leader.
3. Find a qualified mentor.
Entering the business world as a new leader can be daunting, especially as a minority in the space. There may be things that you don’t fully understand yet or that you have difficulty achieving. Lean on a seasoned expert that you’ve networked and connected with for advice. They’ll be able to guide you through any challenges or obstacles you might face, as well as teach you the ins and outs of the business in your industry. They can also provide insight into what their experience has looked like, what worked for them, and provide helpful feedback.
Interested in starting your own business? Read Women: What You Should Know When Starting A Business.
4. Don’t be afraid to fail forward.
Failure doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative thing. As a business owner, you’ll want to ensure you’re spending time on what’s best for your business. Often times, failure can help you identify what won’t work for your business so that you can spend time on things that will work. Your mentor can help you work through your failures, offer advice on solutions that may be better suited for your business, and provide support as you work through them.
As you look ahead with aspirations of becoming a female business leader, it’s ideal to take steps now to help prepare yourself for future leadership. Networking and finding a mentor can help you become familiar with other leaders in the industry and enable you to gain valuable insight and advice. For more information about the First Bank Circuit, a financial empowerment group, designed especially for women business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives, reach out to Carla Jackson or Trish Turner.
|Carla Jackson, Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager for First Bank Wealth Management, works with individual clients, families, and charitable foundations as an investment advisor for their trusts and investment management accounts. Carla may be reached by phone at 314-889-1047 or via email at Carla.Jackson@fbol.com.|
Trish Turner, Senior Vice President and Trust Regional Director for First Bank Wealth Management, focuses on helping clients with their personal trust, investment management, and estate settlement service needs. Trish may be reached by phone at 314-889-1031 or via email at Trish.Turner@fbol.com.