Can you imagine this:
Here are American Express’s incredible stats for women-owned businesses:
Oprah Winfrey probably said it best when she said:
If you want to, have or are considering starting
a new business, then please continue reading!!
The list of great successful and impactful women entrepreneurs could go on forever. Here are a few inspirational examples:
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a website that helps connect consumers with local service providers. She started the business back in 1995 and has since grown it into one of the most recognizable sources for finding service providers.
This female entrepreneur created an online presentation tool that’s popular with a lot of small businesses — SlideShare. She’s now one of the most powerful female entrepreneurs in the world.
Debbi Fields is the female entrepreneur behind Mrs. Fields Cookies. Debbi’s father made $15,000 per year as a welder for the United States Navy and her mother stayed home raising five children. “I realized I wanted to be somebody” says Debbi. “I could hear my father’s voice telling me that wealth was doing what you loved, and what I loved was cookies.”
Further, the motivations for women to starting a business vary widely:
When it comes to millennial women, 27.8% of them do so because they see an opportunity. An almost identical number of baby boomers, 28.2% said they started a business out of necessity. For 25.8% of Generation Xers, family consideration was the biggest reason for starting a business.
And, your older age does not matter – it’s actually an asset!!!
Here’s why: A recent study of 2.7 million startups by the MIT, Northwestern and the U.S. Census Bureau shows that entrepreneurs over 50 are 2.8 to 3.0 times as likely to be successful as entrepreneurs half their age. 2.8 to 3 times as likely to succeed!!! The key is that entrepreneurs over 50 have incredible life and business acumen and experience, great ideas and boundless energy and drive.
(BTW - If you need some help with understanding or catching up to the Digital Age, then please visit my web site: www.digelearn.com and we can help you!)
Now, these successful women, and so many others like them, provide great inspiration in a great time for female entrepreneurship. For some women, access to capital could pose an obstacle. Not long ago, it could take millions of dollars to start a new company. Now, one-third of all businesses start with less than $5,000 and almost 60% of all new businesses start with less than $25,000.
How is this possible?
A cloud-based Startup Ecosystem has emerged that lowers the cost of starting a new business by several orders of magnitude. Expensive staff and resources devoted to creating data centers, obtaining legal advice, developing a web site, creating graphics and leasing office space are replaced or minimized by services such as AWS, Rocket Lawyer, Fiverr and WeWork. For a quick guided tour of 65 cloud-based services that empower startups, please watch my free short video “How To Start A Business For Less Than $5,000.”
So, what great advice is there for women entrepreneurs of all ages and colors?
You have to move outside of your comfort zone.
Feedback is critical to validate your business. Competitive research can also help you understand what your customers want.
The key to growth, innovation and success is knowledge. Every successful entrepreneur is an avid learner.
The marketplace has shifted, but people still value authenticity and expertise.
As you navigate through your business, you will come across resources that you need ranging from capital to knowledge. Figure out what you need at each stage and ask everyone.
You will meet a lot of doubters and people who do not get or understand your vision. Try to avoid these people or at least any work conversation with people that do not inspire you to move forward.
If you want to build a large and successful business, you cannot do it alone. The amount of collaboration and connections that can be gained by a large but close network is invaluable.
Women often underestimate their own potential and fail to dream big enough. It is important to tap into the inner reason behind your business and really think about the legacy you want to leave behind.
Female entrepreneurs can shorten the path to success by learning from the success and failures of others.
Believe you can do it and you are most of the way there. Entrepreneurship does not follow any "hockey stick-like" projection and looks more like a staircase at best. It is important to maintain confidence and believe that the rocky journey is worth it, because the world needs your impact.
Sometimes, however, finding a great idea is an obstacle.
Here are 40 great ideas for starting a business. Other times, creating a business plan is an obstacle. There are some great resources to help you: The U.S. Small Business Association has a great guide. Other free resources to help you create a business plan include Entrepreneur magazine and Forbes.
Other great resources for women entrepreneurs include:
37 angels is a community of women investors with the mission to educate early stage investors and train more women to become investors. 37 angels was founded by longtime entrepreneur, Columbia business school adjunct professor and Pipeline alumna Angela Lee.
The BOSS Network
BOSS, "Bringing Out Successful Sisters," is a networking platform and membership organization for primarily African American women entrepreneurs and professionals.
Digital Undivided leads high potential Black and Latina women founders through the startup pipeline. Their programs include a 26-week incubator program, #ProjectDiane (a research initiative focused on women of color and tech entrepreneurship), and networking events.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women
The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program helps women-owned businesses with $2M in revenue or above scale quickly. It’s a national competition and executive education program (includes year-round education, networking, and events).
Female Founders Fund
Female Founders Fund launched in 2014 to invest in early-stage female-founded technology companies. Areas of focus include e-commerce, web-enabled services/products, marketplaces, and platforms.
SoGal Ventures calls itself the first female-led millennial venture capital firm. They invest in pre-Seed to Series A startups in the U.S. and Asia with female founders or otherwise diverse founding teams.
Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation aims to empower female entrepreneurs through capital, education, and fellowship programs. Their capital program with Bank of America helps provide access to affordable loans through Community Lenders. Through a partnership with Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Small Businesses, the foundation provides women small-business owners with business and management education. And, the Tory Burch Fellows Program includes workshops, a year of support, a $10,000 award, and a chance to pitch for a $100,000 grant.
Women’s Business Center
There are over 100 Women’s Business Centers located throughout the US to help women start and grow small business centers. These educational centers are run by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Their goal is to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs. Check out the SBA website to find a WBC near you.
Women’s Venture Fund
Women’s Venture Fund (WVF) is a nonprofit organization that helps women establish businesses in urban communities with business development programs, advisory services, technical assistance, and funding (in NYC metro area). To date, they’ve helped launched more than 3,200 small businesses.
Women Who Startup
Women Who Startup is a network of female entrepreneurs that are supported by accelerators and investors in Denver, Colorado.
With all of these great tools, resources and support networks, NOW IS THE BEST TIME EVER to be a women entrepreneur!!!
And, if you are over 50:
Please, please, please do not let age deter you!!!
NOW IS YOUR TIME!!!
In closing, the words of Shark Tank TV “shark” Lori Greiner sum it up best for women entrepreneurs of all ages:
Take Lori Greiner’s words and apply them to your new business! Become an entrepreneur and go after your dreams. Soon enough, you will find that you have changed both yourself and the world around you!!!
About the author: Allan Thomas Chiulli empower entrepreneurs and small business owners over 50 years old. Allan is the co-founder of DigElearn, an online digital learning experience for entrepreneurs and small business owners over 50 years old and the author of "Winning in the Digital Tornado", a book that empowers business people by helping them understand the Digital