(StatePoint) The nearly 13 million small businesses owned by women nationwide are essential to the U.S. economy. Accounting for 42% of U.S. small businesses, they employ nearly 9.4 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue annually.
Healthy and growing women-owned businesses are vital to an inclusive economic recovery, yet women entrepreneurs face distinct challenges, including fewer resources and less access to professional networks, on top of having a greater share of caregiving duties.
“For many small businesses, having access to trusted experts in areas like marketing, business planning, technology and legal can be a critical turning point for getting back to growth,” says Jenny Flores, head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. Right now, the company is deploying over $55 million from its Open for Business Fund to 93 nonprofits across the country to provide more women and diverse entrepreneurs with resources.
According to Flores, these tips and resources can help entrepreneurs pivot from surviving to thriving as they recover from the pandemic and look to the future:
Connecting with mentors is a powerful way for women business owners to share best practices and learn from each other but it’s often hard to know where to find them or initiate those relationships. A new program between Wells Fargo and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center called Connect to More is giving women entrepreneurs complimentary support through its signature Milestone Mapping Coaching Circle. Born from the challenges of COVID-19, participants get hands-on help setting and reaching business goals from a network of peer mentors and industry experts.
“As a non-profit committed to access and equity in entrepreneurship, we are grateful to partner with Wells Fargo to help women business owners accelerate their personal and professional growth as leaders and gain support as they solve big problems that make their families and communities stronger,” says Nicola Corzine, executive director, Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
Networking is more than a buzzword. It can help open doors to growth. Check the local chamber of commerce or consider joining a well-known organization like the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Knowledge is power. Visit Wells Fargo’s Women-Owned Business Resources page for free tools to support critical business decisions. Also, female entrepreneurs should check out some of these women-specific podcasts to pick up new strategies from savvy leaders:
• Being Boss digs into the mindsets and tactics that can help women business owners make money doing what they love.
• She Leads features respected female leaders from all industries who let listeners know what it takes to rise to the top.
• The Center offers a playlist of workshops and classes for women-identifying entrepreneurs.
• Women at Work, hosted by Harvard Business Review editorial staff, features conversations about where women are and how they can move forward.
Having a concrete business plan is essential to running a successful business. During the pandemic, many small businesses had to create more online offerings, change relationships with supply chains or reduce hiring. Now’s the time to review which of these adaptions can be built upon in the future.
Running a business is never easy. But new resources and support can help women entrepreneurs overcome the distinct challenges they face and plan for growth as the economy picks up.