COVID-19 affected all industries and business sectors, but one group has suffered a particularly huge impact: women-owned small businesses.
Despite females now having more power in business and other organizations, they’re still at a disadvantage against males when it comes to business health. A recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that the percentage of female entrepreneurs who had a “somewhat or very good” business health dropped 13 points during the pandemic. On the contrary, the number of males who reported a “good” business health status in the same period only dropped five points.
The prospects in 2021 for female-owned businesses aren’t looking the best either. Less than half of female entrepreneurs believe that their revenues will grow this year, whereas 57% of males believe the same. Regarding investments, only one-third of women plan to increase their business’s investments, whereas, among males, it’s 39%. And lastly, just 24% of female-owned businesses agreed that their staff size will increase, while 36% of males do.
This setback for female entrepreneurs may be bad news for new moms planning to start a business. Motherhood alone is already a tough job; tougher than any other job, in fact. If they have two babies to care for — one their offspring and the other their brainchild — how will they take their business to success if male-owned businesses are reigning?
Potential Challenges New Moms May Face in Starting a Business
1. Limited Growth Without Federal Help
Female-owned catering business in Salt Lake City, Cuisine Limited, has survived economic up and downs during its 40 years in business. However, its founder Maxine Turner isn’t confident that they can make it through the pandemic with federal support.
Turner told the U.S. Chamber that they desperately need another boost from the Paycheck Protection Program. They have already exhausted their funds, so they’ve run out of resources that will keep their businesses afloat until the pandemic is put under control.
2. Funding Prejudice
As unbelievable as it sounds, women still find it harder to obtain funding for their ideas than men. Lack of funding and lack of confidence and market saturation have been plaguing women in business ever since. And the pandemic has exacerbated those challenges. The ugly truth is that women need more government assistance if they want their businesses to survive the pandemic.
If you are pregnant or just recently gave birth, you may face even greater prejudice because lenders might think you incapable of working on your business. When you experience this, you can turn to crowdfunding platforms, which have proven helpful in raising capital for women entrepreneurs.
3. Tough Competition
Your brilliant business idea may not be original. That’s why it’s critical to conduct market research before obtaining funding. Even if you’re absolutely sure that every parent or baby needs your product or service, other parents may think otherwise. So, find out if that’s indeed the case early on. Before investing time and money into your idea, determine if there’s a need for it.
Analyze the competition as well. If you wish to create a natural baby product brand, for example, look up the best natural baby products in the market first. Chances are you’re also using one of those products, so why compete with it?
This isn’t to say that you should come up with a 100% original, unheard about the business idea. There are so many products and services consumers need. But if you’re creating something that already exists, ensure that it has a benefit no other similar product offers.
4. Too Many Tasks, So Little Time
Owning your business doesn’t automatically mean you can spend more time with your baby. As soon as you start creating your business plan, all of your time will be poured out into it. You’d barely get breaks. And once you’ve given birth, your time will feel too little.
The trick is to get as much done as possible while you’re still pregnant. Your newborn won’t sleep all day and give you time for work. Instead, they’d demand feeding every few hours, including overnight. So give everything you have during your pregnancy, so that you can divide your time more realistically when the baby comes out.
5. Growing Your Business
It’s not clear why male-owned businesses tend to be more successful than female-owned ones. But there are ways to be on par with your male counterparts.
Depending on where you live, your business might need to be certified as a woman-owned small business (WOSB). Getting that certification will make you qualified for certain federal contracts that are otherwise unavailable to other types of businesses.
Join a women-focused entrepreneurial group as well. They can give you resources and networking opportunities that will grow your business. Wherever you are in your business or business idea, seek providers that specifically support women entrepreneurs. Having a proactive role in managing your business or starting it can help break the vicious cycle of female entrepreneurs always falling behind their male counterparts.