Did you know that October is Women’s Small Business Month? According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 11 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. That’s 38% of all businesses, supporting nearly 9 million jobs and generating $ 1.6 trillion. in annual income, something worth celebrating all year long!
But as the gender gap in business struggles to close, it’s important to take this month to reflect on how you can support the cause. Awareness and visibility are as important as concrete action. Fortunately, we’ve provided a list of thousands of ways you can fly your flags for women-led businesses and female entrepreneurship.
Take a look and see how you can help.
1. Get the facts.
Knowing what’s out there in the world of female-led businesses is a great way to ensure that you can make the most impact. A good starting point is the 2016 Status of Women-Owned Businesses Report. Key findings include:
- By 2016, there are an estimated 5 million minority-owned women-owned businesses (4,992,200), representing 44% of women-owned businesses. Collectively, minority women-owned businesses employ 2 million workers and generate $ 344 billion in revenue.
- Since the recession, the greatest growth in the number of women-owned businesses has been in the South. Eight of the 10 fastest growing states and metropolitan areas for women-owned businesses are in that region.
- Women-owned businesses can be found in each and every sector of the economy. Furthermore, in the last nine years the number of women-owned businesses has grown at a faster rate than that of all businesses in each sector. That said, 6 out of 10 (61%) women-owned businesses are in four industry sectors: personal and household services, health and social care, professional / scientific / technical services, administrative, support and waste management services.
2. Become a mentor for women small business owners or professionals.
Offer your professional experience to aspiring women or new entrepreneurs. Be proactive in getting the word out through professional organizations, your own newsletter, or flyers. There may even be an organization in your area that an entrepreneur such as We.NYC or the Women Mentor Association can find for you.
3. Promote women-led businesses on social media.
Take advantage of your online presence to promote women-led businesses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you share what interests you. LinkedIn would also be a great place to share content. Try posting a business or two a week, and talk about why you love them. Make sure to tag #WomenInBusiness to spread the word even further.
4. Be a sponsor of companies run by women.
Make an effort to buy products or services from businesses run by women. While exposure can be great for a business, there is nothing like your cash to ensure its success. You can find women-owned businesses through the SBA 8 (a) online directory.
5. Partner with a women-owned business.
Take your relationship with a women-owned business to the next level. Get in touch with one entrepreneur to see how you can mutually benefit from the other’s businesses, be it customer cross-exposure, product distribution, etc.
6. Gifts to organizations that promote women’s entrepreneurship.
There are dozens of organizations to help women-led businesses get off the ground, stay afloat, or provide services like mentoring and workshops for women entrepreneurs around the world. And they would love to take your money! Some options include:
- Womentum: A non-profit crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs from developing countries. Discover entrepreneurs on your platform, donate to their initiatives for as little as $ 5, and track the progress of returning projects.
- Women Venture: A Minnesota-based organization that has been helping women create and grow sustainable and profitable businesses for more than three decades. Your donations will go towards WomenVenture loans for women entrepreneurs and a network of volunteers mobilized to train and mentor current and future women entrepreneurs.
- WENGlobal: A global network of international women entrepreneurs. Members come together to share knowledge, best practices, contacts, and benefit from strategic partnerships. Your donation will support their events and activities to foster a community of women entrepreneurs around the world.
- The Tory Burch Foundation: The legendary fashion brand foundation works to empower women entrepreneurs. Every dollar you donate directly funds entrepreneurial education and mentoring programs for women who hope to one day own their own businesses.
- Women’s Venture Fund: Helps women’s businesses start, grow, and prosper through various programs, financial services, and beyond. A $ 50 donation provides access to a newsletter of tips and advice for 50 women’s businesses. See what other donation amounts they can provide.
7. Join a professional organization.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to be part of the female-led business community, see if there is a women’s business association in your city, such as the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs, the American Association of Women Entrepreneurs, or Catalyst.
8. Read a book by a businesswoman.
Many businesswomen have generously shared their advice, vision, and success stories in great detail – you might want to learn a thing or two from them! Suggestions include:
- Shark Tales: How I Turned $ 1000 Into a Billion Dollar Business, by Barbara Corcoran: The “shark tank” wonder knows all too well the mistakes women can make on their journey to business success, because she She walked that road herself. Corcoran guides you through your entrepreneurial journey, sharing life and business lessons along the way.
- Become an idea machine: Because ideas are the currency of the 21st century by Claudia Azula Altucher: More of a workbook than memoirs, this book provides months of daily instructions for “flex your idea muscle.” By completing these exercises, you will strive to think differently, expand your problem-solving ability, and meet any challenges that come your way.
- #GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso: A memoir from the founder of NastyGal sharing how her personal experiences led to entrepreneurship. An inspiring story for any aspiring female entrepreneur who wants to make bold moves from all walks of life.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert: The Writer of Eat, Pray, Love provides a way to unleash your creativity and help you produce quality work that interests you while overcoming your fears of being inappropriate.
9. Give an inspiring book to aspiring women entrepreneurs you meet.
Once you’ve finished with your own personal book club, lend our gift of your favorite book on female entrepreneurship to your current or future favorite businesswoman. This will help foster community and education in women-run businesses.
10. Share your story.
Do not be shy! If you are a woman who has started a business, be it a success or a failure, tell the whole world. The more women talk about issues and successes in running a business run by women, the more we can learn from them.
11. Offer workshops for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
You can be a super mentor by offering your professional expertise to a classroom or webinar filled with female entrepreneurs. Offer the class through an organization, such as Skillshare, General Assembly, or through your local learning annex, that you have access to a network of potential students and help you with publicity and enrollment.
12. Organize a panel on women-run businesses.
Gather businesswomen in a room to speak publicly on issues and success stories in running a business run by women. Advertise on social media, create a hashtag for the event, and watch the registrations flow. You can make the dashboard a general topic or something specific.
13. Hosting a networking event for Women Small Business Owners.
If the panels are not your style, simply gather a group of businesswomen and professionals in the same room for drinks, snacks and maybe some icebreakers for business networks.
14. Advertise the month on your own business.
Show your Business Woman pride with a banner or poster celebrating Women’s Small Business Month. Sometimes awareness is all you can do, and that’s okay.
15. Offer special offers, discounts or services.
A good way to support women in business is to make their lives easier in some way, even if it’s only for a month. With all the challenges women entrepreneurs face, a little something can go a long way.
16. Review businesses run by women online.
Show your support for your favorite female-run business by writing a positive note about your experience of working with or patronizing their business on a review site like Yelp, Angie’s List, or Foursqure. This will help boost your visibility on these sites, which can often come under harsh criticism.
17. Host your next event at a company run by women.
Have an event coming up? Use the SBA 8 (a) business directory to find a women-run business to host.
18. Send a personal note to a female entrepreneur.
Let you be the entrepreneur in your life and know how much you admire and appreciate your hard work. Send it by email or snail mail – helping brighten their day may be the nudge they need to tackle their next business problem.
19. Hire female professionals.
If you are in a position to make hiring decisions, try to go the extra mile to hire women in your workplace. Sometimes all it takes for a woman to foster an entrepreneurial spirit is to put her foot in the door. And then you can say: “I met her when …”
20. Being a businesswoman.
Easier said than done, of course. But if you’ve always wanted to own your own business, now is the time to be a part of one of the fastest growing business sectors in America.
As you can see, there are many ways to support women-led businesses.