Opinion

Overcoming the challenges unique to women entrepreneurs

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By Ngowari Diminas, CAFEW Founder

The word “Entrepreneur” comes with so many stories, myths, facts and tremendous responsibilities. The ability to identify and utilize any important information applicable to one’s startup is crucial. You have got to be unstoppable. Don’t wait to be big; you can start small. Every day counts towards your success.

Being a woman entrepreneur is exceptionally demanding and comes with a lot of challenges. These issues are typical but need to be pointed out and classified to produce rewarding assessments/checks required to work through efficiently.

UNIQUE CHALLENGES

  • The pressure to be modest: The inability to communicate the value of female entrepreneurs slows down that business/startup. In some cases, some women have displayed doubt when pitching to others and thus lose business investors or partners who were discouraged after seeing the lack of executive presence. It is good to be modest but better to exhibit creativity and showcase major achievements at all times even in subtle ways to authenticate one’s value. It is essential to reveal your capabilities always especially when meeting with prospective or existing clients or customers.
  • The “weaker sex” syndrome: Breaking that chain of the background opinion that a man can handle a role better than a woman is necessary. It is sometimes completely unavoidable when some women become targets for inappropriate behavior and this must be addressed accordingly. On the other hand, women need to maintain being high performers for their required roles and not play any games by bringing sentiments into whatever hindrance they face but rather try to have alternative options to resolve them in the future. Respect is earned by painstakingly building trust and credibility over time. This is where one needs be accountable and responsible for any assigned work with a high level of integrity and positive attitude.
  • Balancing work life and family: Managing business or full-time job with family and other personal commitments have to be done effectively. Most women usually derail from their dreams as entrepreneurs due to fear of not meeting up with family commitments. Clearly prioritize and plan at all times and ensure this is transparent to all family members that might be affected. Figure out ways to get things done in parallel and to delegate some household chores or even hire the labor for it.

 

  • Lack of active women mentors: It is imperative to stay far away from the norm to simply have a mentor for the sake of it but not really getting in depth to look for the appropriate one. This leads to lack of that connection with the mentor. Women need to have an immense level of participation in events, forums, sessions, trainings, and/or publications. It is important to be responsive thereby assisting with major inquiries; readily available often times to speak to their mentees; and reaching out to ask after general well-being. The ability to provide constructive feedback; guidance on changes; routine assessment of performance and skills in order to advice objectively where the area of improvement is required. Basically, active women mentors have to motivate others enthusiastically.

 

  • Emotional intelligence: A lot of females struggle with proving that they are capable to identify barriers that can cause confusion and distraction objectively. Most times people perceive women as very emotional or the inability to filter constructive criticism from general nonobjective comments. This impression needs to change by showing the ability to control emotions, which establishes a firm trust that women can handle enormous tasks. Being able to deal with problems thoroughly and professionally without including personal issues sets women aside as incredible leaders. This can eventually enable an excellent platform to achieve major milestones.
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