Show Me The Money: Tips For Women Entrepreneurs During Small Biz Week

During Small Business Week, women business owners can benefit from new research on financing.

During Small Business Week, women business owners can benefit from new research on financing.

During Small Business Week we can salute women entrepreneurs and business owners in this country who have done more than a small favor for the economy overall.

According to an American Express OPEN-commissioned report, there are more than 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., with revenues of $1.5 trillion and employing about eight million workers.

“Without women starting businesses, we’d all be in much tougher shape. Women launch 1,000 new businesses every day,” writes Rhonda Abrams in USA Today. “Women would do a whole lot more to save America if only America would return the favor and treat women small business owners equally.”

During #SmallBusinessWeek, women business owners can benefit from new research on financing

Even with so many women entrepreneurs in business, securing the financing and funding can be tricky and less available for women in business.

“Women receive a much smaller share of financing from all funding sources.” Abrams writes. “Venture capital levels are almost laughable for women: Less than 3% of venture dollars went to women in 2016 and 5,839 male-founded companies received VC funding compared to a measly 359 female-founded companies, according to venture tracker Pitchbook, as reported by Fortune.  When funded, they get less money: an average of $77 million compared to $100 million for males, according to Bloomberg. Similar disparities exist with angel investors and with lenders from all sources. According to lending site Fundera, women business owners get offered smaller loans for shorter terms at higher interest rates than men.”

For women business owners looking for lines of credit and what credit cards to secure, a series of new studies on best business credit cards and best business bank accounts  by WalletHub can be helpful. They have done all the research on best bonus, best rates, best financing and best legal protections. So you don’t have to.

“If this is your first business, you’ve had some credit, but not a lot of it, so you can get a card with no purchase intro, no annual fees and rewards,” says Jill Gonzalez, analyst for WalletHub.

The lines of credit can run from $5,000 to $10,000 and that can be enough for a startup entrepreneur to purchase equipment and other needs for a company, Gonzalez says. Some cards have 0 percent interest for 21 months on new purchase and are well-equipped, so you can make smart financial decisions.

These products can help women entrepreneurs in small businesses, perhaps those who are not starting up as founders of companies needing hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover initial costs.

Securing financing & funding can be tricky & less available for #WomenInBusiness

“When you are first starting out, there is so much to think about,” Gonzalez says. “If you do the research, you are well-equipped to make smart financial decisions,” she says.

WalletHub is also out for helping women entrepreneurs decide where to hang their business signs.

“To help women find the most fertile ground for their enterprises, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas across 10 key metrics indicating friendliness toward this group. Our data set ranges from average revenue growth of women-owned businesses to presence of women’s business centers to industry variety for women-owned firms.”

Many of those women-owned firms are small businesses.

To celebrate Small Business Week this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded the 2017 National Small Business Week resource partners, including the Mi Casa Resource Center, or Denver Women’s Business Center.

Elena Vasconez, Director of Business Development, has been at the center since 2010, and she “leads a team of eight, helping startup and existing businesses through entrepreneurial and computer training, micro lending, financial literacy, legal support and business counseling.  Mi Casa’s full-time staff counseled over 700 clients, providing more than 2,200 hours of counseling during fiscal year 2016,” according to the SBA.  

A new survey commissioned by Fifth Third Bank shows that small business owners may not be taking advantage of resources available, said Kala Gibson, head of Business Banking for Fifth Third Bank.

According to the study, “Thirty-two percent of small business owners reported lack of funds as an obstacle. Following closely behind, a market or product offering that was too niche was identified as an obstacle by 21 percent of respondents, and lack of non-monetary resources was an obstacle for 17 percent of those surveyed,” according to Business Wire.

“While lack of funds was identified by more small business owners as a growth obstacle than any other topic, 45 percent said they wouldn’t consider loans offered by the Small Business Administration for any reason,” Business Wire reports.

“But, whether you’re the owner of a micro-business with two employees, or a small business with revenue in the millions, you can employ strategies to make growth a reality that aren’t often considered, including a loan offered by the Small Business Administration,” Gibson said.

Finding the money to fuel a small business is on every entrepreneur’s checklist.

About the Author

Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon