In the U.S., approximately 40 percent of small business owners are women. And they’re optimistic about the future. Sixty-six percent of respondents in a recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey believe that women will own more small businesses than men in the next 20 years. What can we do to get there? It may start with closing the confidence gap.
Says Margaret Donnell, chief marketing officer of Capital One’s Small Business Bank, “We have pretty clear evidence around us. We've seen studies out in media, I certainly have, that document a wage gap between men and women. It means that women don't always have as much money as men because of that earning power. It also means that their confidence could have been eroded over time, and so I think there's a lot we can do to lift each other up, and men as allies can lift women up, to help them feel confident and go after getting into business.”
A lack of confidence can play a crucial part in risk aversion, ultimately hindering our ability to not just strike out on our own and launch a new venture, but also do what it takes to grow.
According to Capital One’s Small Business Growth Index, 63 percent of female business owners report that current business conditions are “good or excellent,” up from 58 percent last year, whereas men jumped from 46 percent to the low sixties. But despite feeling more positive about their businesses than their male counterparts, female business owners are more hesitant to take big swings and heavily invest in their companies. According to the same Capital One report, 75 percent of men are likely to hire in the next year, compared to 63 percent of women.
So should we be swinging for the fences more? Donnell has a personal rule of thumb for major decision-making that forces her to reconsider risk-taking, and that is asking herself: “What would a male counterpart in my exact position do?”
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Getting your own business off the ground can be as difficult as it is rewarding. And when those inevitable challenges arise (or even before they do), it often seems that just about everyone — from your old coworker to your aunt who made it big in the tech boom decades ago — has some type of advice to share. But actually valuable, implementable advice? That comes from women who have started and run successful businesses in the last few years, turning one-person ventures into full-on enterprises.
In partnership with Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, TurboTax, Mint, and other programs that keep you in control of your personal and professional finances, we asked female founders and CEOs across fashion, food, communications, and other industries to share their single best piece of advice for starting a business — from pitching your idea to fundraising to just maintaining your cool while you turn your dream project into a reality.
Whether you want to open a restaurant, reinvent e-commerce, or use your personal experience and wisdom to inspire others, these crucial pieces of advice should help guide you from the get-go.
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“The percentage of the women entrepreneurs who have completed the lifecycle of entrepreneurship (in India) is a small fraction,” opined Padmaja Ruparel, president of the Indian Angel Network (IAN). She added that Meena Ganesh was one of the rare entrepreneurs she could think of who’ve gone through the entire cycle.
Although women entrepreneurs are trickling into the startup ecosystem of India in slightly larger numbers, this in Padmaja’s view, is an important factor that needs to change.
“These women have to go through a complete lifecycle of entrepreneurship: starting a venture, raising money, exiting it, giving in to healthy returns,” she said. Until this changes, the ratio of investments in female- and male-led ventures won’t change, and this topic will continue to dominate any discussion on women entrepreneurs,” she said.
She is not wrong. A study by Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has ranked India 52nd out of 57 countries judged on the basis of parity for women entrepreneurs. According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) only 14% businesses in India are run by women domiciled in the country. There are a total of 58.5 Mn businesses in India, but only 8.05 Mn are managed by women entrepreneurs.
Padmaja was speaking at the 2018 Annual Startup Conclave by Yes Bank on the topic of ‘Navigating the VC Landscape’ and the session was moderated by Vaibhav Agarwal, founder and CEO of Inc42.
The VC landscape is a tough terrain for women entrepreneurs to navigate, one that desperately needs smoothing, and women could do with all the help they can get in this regard.
The panel discussion attempted at gaining a better understanding of why there is there a dearth of women investors, how they can create scalable businesses, and also how they can bring consumer businesses under the lens of investors and try to leverage technology at the same time.
The panelists included Ritu Marya, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Media (India) and former editor-in-chief of Franchise India, Manu Shukla, a project officer in the IT department of the Government of Rajasthan, Dolly Bhasin, director of Incuspaze Coworking, and Nidhi Agarwal, EIR of YourNest Venture Capital.
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Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images The real estate and construction boom, as well as the talent pool, has boosted New York City to the No. 1 spot for starting a small business in the U.S.
For a second year in a row, New York City surpassed Silicon Valley to become the top city for small business, according to Biz2Credit's annual study of the Top Small Business Cities in America.
The Big Apple's dynamism and diverse industry base has helped fuel growth and make it a magnet for entrepreneurs. The city's booming real estate market and construction industry, banking and finance, tourism and technology sectors are major drivers of this trend.
New York City overtook small-business city leader San Jose, California, the hub of Silicon Valley, last year. The California city has the No. 2 spot on the list. While technology companies are thriving in Silicon Valley, the high cost of doing business and the high cost of living is taking a bite out of profits for many small firms. High taxes and commercial rents are a significant drag on small-business owners there.
As a result, the average annual revenue for small businesses in New York City is $1,016,446 compared to $748,529 in San Jose, the Biz2Credit survey revealed.
Rent the Runway is arguably one of the most successful startups we have seen emerge in the last decade (it started in 2009.) After all, it solved multiple problems. The first one it fixed was that young women have limited funds to spend on their wardrobe and at a time when they are making appearances at high stake opportunity events both in their career and social lives.
When social media exploded and became an outfit killer once your outfit was seen on multiple platforms, it let you never repeat an outfit again with the launch of Rent the Runway Unlimited. And, for anyone that doesn’t have a closet like Cher from Clueless (so the majority of us), this expanded our closet infinitely without having to build an addition on our homes.
With Americans experiencing “wardrobe panic” 36 times a year, an infinite closet is pretty darn smart. That is why this past February the company received $21 million from Blue Pool Capital, which is run by Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, bringing the company’s total venture funding to nearly $210 million, (they just had a $20 million investment), according to ReCode.
No network, many problems
Cofounders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss are now household names and startup legends but when they first launched their company, now dubbed “the Netflix of fashion,” fresh out of Harvard Business School they felt a bit lost as they didn’t really have that absolutely essential network of people you need for your career to succeed.
“At the beginning we had nothing! We had Jenny and I, who had limited work experience to start out, and there was really no entrepreneurial community in New York at the time. Every single question that came up we just had to figure out on our own, which we did but it just took us longer than it probably need to,” Fleiss told Ladders recently.