The Gates and Clinton Foundations recently revealed that 41% of women in Nigeria are entrepreneurs compared to only approximately 10% in the US and 5.7% in the UK. While according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring’s annual report, women actually outnumber men in the entrepreneur space in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia.The world is focusing more on entrepreneurship to either change their financial situations,add value to people’s lives, or simply keep themselves busy pending when they get another job and women are largely not left out in this race. This trend is further emphasized by the reality that the average trader or store owner in Nigeria is more-likely to be a woman than a man.Setting up a small business is more common for women in Nigeria than men. In every marketplace, there’re more female traders than males. Whether they have jobs or simply stay at home, one way or the other, women are always trying to sell something, no matter how little.
While it may seem tedious for a woman to run a business, care for a family, and do more at the same time, success-stories of some African women entrepreneurs have exuded more than just a mere inspiration. What then does it take for women entrepreneurs to be successful? And how can women entrepreneurs go on to build successful businesses?
- Finance: Almost every new entrepreneur face funding challenges when starting a new business. Banks generally don’t like giving out loans to new business owners or entrepreneurs with a poor credit track record.Since these issues hinder a lot of small businesses from securing finance for their ventures, exploring other funding sources can be a great way to go for women entrepreneurs. You could focus on getting a loan from micro-finance banks.While getting a substantial loan from traditional banks to finance your small business could be a great way to secure an adequate capital to run your operations, you usually won’t be qualified at the first few instances.
- Networking: This is where your charm and personality comes to play. It’s important for women entrepreneurs to always be around people who share the same convictions and optimism as them, compliment their flaws, or can generally be helpful to them at some point in their business journey.While no single person can be an island, women entrepreneurs need to understand they have to mingle in the right circles of more successful entrepreneurs than they.You could meet great minds by attending conferences, networking events, registering in a country club, and more.Above all, you must grow your network.Your network is your net worth.
- Strike a Balance: Being a woman comes with a lot of responsibilities. If you’re already married, you’d have to battle with taking care of your kids, paying attention to the home, caring for your spouse, and more, alongside striving to build a successful business.While most women usually have a lot of responsibilities to carry, whether married or not, women entrepreneurs have to strike a balance with both their work and personal lives. A poor management of both can lead to a disaster in your personal relationships, marriage, and several other areas of life.
- Mentoring: Having someone who has successfully been through what you’re currently going through or similar to serve as a wise counsel is crucial for every entrepreneur.Mentors ease your stress and worry by advising you on the best course of action from their experience. They lift your entrepreneurial spirit, and their words don’t just give hope, but a plan.Mentors save you of many mistakes.
Lastly, clearly defining what value you want to create, the channel of getting this value within the reach of potential customers should keep an entrepreneur focused. A focused person has a higher chance of hitting a goal than a person chasing too many things at the same time. As a female entrepreneur, it’s up to you to ensure you always come out a winner, defy all odds, and constantly prove to people that “what a man can do, a woman can darn do better.