Succeeding as a female entrepreneur: Do you have what it takes?
Do women still struggle to be taken seriously in business?
The world of business is changing. But there’s still a lingering attitude that assumes that a successful business is owned by a man. Women, especially young women, often report coming away from meetings or pitches feeling patronised or not taken seriously. As an entrepreneur though, a thick skin is something of a necessity.
Claire Nicholson, co-founder of marketing agency More2 Ltd, finds her job surprises people even in a social environment: “When I meet new people in a social environment they often assume you are at home bringing up the children and not running a business. Age can also surprise people, we set up More2 when I was just 28 and so many people don’t expect you to have your own business.”
But many female entrepreneurs never experience any form of prejudice or negative reaction on account of their gender. Says Katie Allcott of FRANK Water :“I do feel that male/female prejudice is a bit of a red herring – the main problem with start ups is access to good advice and supportive subsidised incubators as well as government bureaucracy, anti-competitive practices from large incumbents.”
“I am aware of a few situations where it has taken longer for me to gain respect, but I think this is not just because I am a woman, but also because I am considered to be young and that I run a very ethical, values-driven company.”
It’s important to remember that every entrepreneur faces specific problems, and whatever you battle through will leave you even more determined to succeed. As Allcott articulates: “Varying problems exist for tall people, short people, thin people, fat people, men, women, young people, old people – if you look for them… But the important thing is to not focus on obstacles but on goals.”