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Did you know October is Women in Small Business Month? According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 11 million woman-owned businesses in the U.S. That’s 38% of all businesses, supporting nearly 9 million jobs and generating $1.6 trillion in annual revenue—something worth celebrating all year round!
But as the gender gap in business fights to close, it’s important to take this month to reflect on how you can support the cause. Awareness and visibility are just as important as concrete action. Fortunately, we’ve provided a list of myriad ways you can fly your flags for women-led businesses and female entrepreneurship.
Take a look and see how you might help out.
Knowing what’s what in the world of women-led businesses is a great way to make sure you can make the most impact. A good place to start is the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. Key findings include:
Offer your professional expertise to aspiring or new female entrepreneurs. Be proactive in getting the word out through professional organizations, your own newsletter, or flyers. There might even be an organization in your area that can match you with an entrepreneur such as We.NYC or the Women Mentor Association.
Leverage your online presence to promote women-led businesses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you share what you care about. LinkedIn would also be a great place to share content. Try posting one or two businesses a week, and talk about why you love them. Be sure to hashtag #WomenInBusiness to spread the word even further.
Make an effort to purchase products or services from women-led businesses. While exposure can be great for a business, there’s nothing like your cold hard cash to ensure its success. You can find women-owned businesses through the SBA 8(a) online directory.
Take your relationship with a female-owned business to the next level. Reach out to a female entrepreneur to see how you might mutually benefit from each other’s business—be it cross-customer exposure, product distribution, etc.
Dozens of organizations exist to help women-led businesses get off the ground, stay afloat, or provide services like mentoring and workshops for female entrepreneurs across the globe. And they would love to take your money! A few options include:
If you’re a female entrepreneur looking be a part of the women-led business community, see if there’s a women’s business association in your town, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners, American Business Women’s Association, or Catalyst.
So many female entrepreneurs have generously shared their advice, vision, and success stories in great detail—it might behoove you to learn a thing or two from them! Suggestions include:
Once you’re through with your own personal book club, lend our gift your favorite female-entrepreneurship themed book to your favorite current or future female entrepreneur. This will help foster community and education in women-led businesses.
Don’t be shy! If you are a woman who has started a business—be it a success or failure—tell the world all about it. The more women who talk about issues and successes in running a women-led business, the more we can all learn from them.
You can be a super-mentor by offering your professional expertise to a classroom or webinar full of female entrepreneurs. Offer the class through an organization, like Skillshare, General Assembly, or your local learning annex, that has access to a network of potential pupils and help with advertising and sign-ups.
Get female entrepreneurs in a room together to talk publicly about issues and success stories in running an women-led business. Advertise on social media, create a hashtag for the event, and watch the sign-ups come flowing. You can make the panel a general topic or something specific.
If panels aren’t yours style, just get a bunch of female entrepreneurs and professionals together in one room for drinks, snacks, and maybe some ice-breakers for business networking.
Show your Women in Business pride with a banner or poster celebrating Women in Small Business Month. Sometimes awareness is all you can do, and that’s OK.
A great way to support women in business is to make their lives easier in some way, even if it’s just for the month. With all the challenges female entrepreneurs face, a little something can go a long way.
Show your support for your favorite women-led business by writing a positive note about your experience working with or patronizing their business on a review site such as Yelp, Angie’s list, or Foursqure. This will help bolster their visibility on these sites, which can often come with harsh critics.
Have an event coming up? Use the SBA 8(a) business directory to find a women-led business to host it at.
Let you’re the female entrepreneur in your life know how much you admire and appreciate her hard work. Send it via email or snail mail—helping brighten their day may be the push they need to tackle their next business problem.
If you’re in a position to make hiring decisions, try to make the extra effort to hire women in your workplace. Sometimes, just getting the foot in the door is all a woman needs to foster the entrepreneurial spirit. And then you can say, “I knew her when….”
Easier said than done, of course. But if you’ve always wanted to run your own business, now’s the time to be part of one of the fastest growing business sectors in the U.S. You certainly won’t be alone in the endeavor.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to support women-led businesses. Take your pick and know that you’re doing a small part in closing the gender gap in business. Happy October!