Small business owners are the backbone of the American economy and, according to a report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, about 29 percent of those businesses are owned by women. That’s up from 26 percent in 1997, the report says. However, the increase in the number of businesses doesn’t inherently solve all the problems. A report from the Economic Policy Institute found that women-owned businesses make only about 25 cents for every dollar earned by a business owned by a man, a much bigger gap than the labor market.
So what can we do to help women in business be even more successful? At The Growth Coach, we think that all starts with having the right support and training. In fact, The National Bureau of Economic Research found that, when women lean on peer-to-peer relationships and receive business training with friends, they are more likely to report higher business activity and household income. So grab a friend and check out these seven women-in-business resources we find especially helpful:
National Women’s Business Council: This organization was part of the Women’s Business Ownership Act to identify the barriers to success for women-owned businesses. Since then the council has evolved to be a support system for women business owners, addressing issues, providing fact sheets and breaking research down to the nuts and bolts of what matters and how it will impact the future.
National Association of Women Business Owners: The NAWBO is a “one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide”. Their website is packed with resources, an e-learning series, advocacy information and more, and their local chapters host events, help with networking and are excellent local resources.
The Bringing Out Successful Sisters Network: The BOSS Network was founded by Cameka Smith to promote and encourage the small business spirit and career development of women. This is “an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking” and they have an especially powerful blog and success stories section.
The US Small Business Administration: This might sound obvious, but the SBA has a whole section dedicated to women-owned businesses. They have easy-to-find articles and information on financing a business, starting a business and growing a business as well as mentoring and training. They also have information and recommendations on SBA Loans, business and education centers, the women-owned federal contracting program and more.
The American Management Association: Although this organization is about women in leadership – not necessarily in business –their resources and training and are on point for business owners as well. Their Women’s Leadership Center offers webcasts (some free), training courses, workshops and a blog, all of which are specially-tailored for women.
Chic CEO: This website was built as a support network for women in business. They have tips, how to information, business plans, a blog, ways to connect with other women and more. The site says they provide the ground level information to get you started on the path to being your own boss and the rest is up to you.
SCORE: SCORE has been around for more than 50 years and they have a proven track record of providing small business advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners, including women. Although they aren’t specifically working with women, you can find a woman mentor through their mentoring service and they do have resources aimed at women.
Of course you can always contact your local Growth Coach for support.