Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Bobbi Brown, creator of high end makeup, Dany Levy, web based media pioneer, Jenna Jameson, porn princess to media mogul, Anita Roddick, The Body Shop, Madame CJ Walker, First female African American millionaire (hair care products), Coco Chanel, fashion and signature fragrances, and Estee Lauder, Beauty products. This is a very small list of a few famous female entrepreneurs throughout history. These women started their own businesses with the passion and desire to help others or provide a product they felt was needed. Females have difficulty climbing the corporate ladder and it is just as difficult, if not more, to open their own business. But clearly, as I will indicate, and history has presented, women have the vision, capacity, and perseverance to build thriving companies. Businesses owned by women are the fastest growing sector in new ventures in the United States. Compared to men, women tend to start their ventures with fewer resources, less reliable suppliers, and substantially less early stage capital. (Ewers) According to new research conducted by the National Women’s Business center and the center for Women’s Business Research, there are an estimated 8 million majority-owned, privately held women-owned businesses in the United States. Women-owned businesses contribute nearly $3 trillion to our national economy and create or maintain 23 million jobs. Women entrepreneurs play and important and much needed role in the US economy and programs and support are increasingly needed to help them start, grow, and maintain their businesses. Women-owned companies employ or generate 16% of the jobs in the country. (Meyer) Why do women choose to start their own businesses? They want flexibility; they are motivated by their desire for a challenge and self determination. They are motivated by their desire to help others. And, others have hit the glass ceiling in corporations; this is the wall that keeps them from being promoted or making more money as their male colleagues. Although women start businesses at twice the rate of men, many find it difficult to grow their companies and tap into venture capital networks. It is ironic that many female business owners credit their hard-working fathers as their sources of inspiration. Few can say that they were exposed to successful female business leaders in their early years and even today there is a lack of female role models. The Challenges and Some Wisdom
Margery Kraus, President CEO of APCO Worldwide, a global public relations firm that works with major corporations and governments to build public private partnerships to solve societal problems loves being underestimated, because it is a real competitive advantage. She advises entrepreneurs “to go in with your eyes wide open and don’t let perceptions or challenges stall your efforts.” The only way you will ever cross the entrepreneur threshold is to believe in yourself. You should know what you are capable of and what your abilities are. “Self-doubt is one of the main reasons business owners don’t achieve the level success they could”, says Dr. Rachna Jain, a Baltimore psychologist and business coach. (Zuckerman) Trust your judgments, decisions, and ideas. You get glory when you make good decisions and you get the blame when you make a mistake. Be able to make decisions without having to second guess yourself. Don’t take criticism personally and don’t let it slow you down. Don’t let old perceptions and labels (you being a female) stand in your way of building that dream of yours. “For me, getting my MBA was a wonderful thing because it gave me a credential that many people don’t have. It’s probably symbolic, but I think it shows you are qualified and helps give you confidence and helps others see you in a strong light,” says Ann Drake, CEO of DSC Logistics. When you first get started it is about as unglamorous as it gets. You make personal sacrifices, work...
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