Women-led businesses face many challenges, including BALANCING WORK and FAMILY life (40%), achieving CREDIBILITY for the business (37%) and a LACK of CONFIDENCE (22%). All of these are limiting women’s ability to run and grow their businesses… Even because of these obstacles, we, as you can see beyond this picture also, we are #WonderWomen! We are worth 425,000 UK new jobs and £10.1bn to the UK economy by 2020. We are here to support your ambitions and goals and develop #mentoring networks!

#WonderWomen in the UK

The UK has seen a sustained increase in the number of women in self-employment since the 2008 recession, rising by approximately 40% (or 427,000) from November to March 2008 to November to January 2016. This compares to 13% (or 358,000) increase in the number of men who are self-employed. As such, women now account for nearly a third (32%) of all self-employment compared with 28% of self-employment before the recession.

There are many reasons why women decide to start their own business. FBS’s survey of women business owners found that the most common reason was that they had experience of the sector (40%). Other popular reasons include confidence in their skills in their chosen sector or industry (37%), believed the work is interesting (29%), and a gap in the market (26%). The desire to achieve a good work-life balance was cited by a quarter (25%) of survey respondents, with flexibility and the opportunity to be more involved in childcare and family life an attractive proposition to many women.

Key recommendations: There are the most important recommendations for you, after so many recent surveys and based on my 21 years of experience:

! Improving access to finance

Awareness and take-up of alternative forms of finance are lower among majority women-led firms. Women need to be aware of the full range of finance options available to them, including alternative sources such as crowdfunding and angel investors.

!! Raising awareness of support

Visibility and awareness of resources, which provides access to business support in England, is low including among women entrepreneurs. Working with local business networks and key local stakeholders throughout networking is so crucial. Despite many women business owners in the UK accessing the advice and information they need to grow, FSB’s survey found that a third (33%) haven’t received the support of any kind!

!!! Increasing the visibility of #RoleModels for women business owners

Role models have an important role to play in inspiring women and demonstrating that entrepreneurship is a viable career option. These role models must represent the diversity of the business community, including small businesses, and be relevant to a range of sectors and businesses. Women have to support each other.

!!!! Skills and #Training

Having the right skills and understanding the need to continue developing and updating expertise are key to strong business performance at all stages of growth and can help firms to avoid current and future skills gaps. The most recent UKCES Employer Skills Survey highlighted the increasing impact of the skills gap in the business and organisational performance of smaller firms. 23% of employers with two to four staff reported experiencing ‘major impacts’ due to internal skills challenges. Other reported impacts include a loss of business or orders to competitors and delays to the development of new products and services. Encouragingly, a separate survey found that 59% of business owners update their business skills every 12 months, demonstrating that the majority of the small business community are aware of the importance of skills to a successful enterprise. Two in five (42%) of respondents felt developing their business skills would be beneficial, and almost a third (35 %) of women business owners believed improving sales skills would be an advantage.

!!!!! #Mentoring

Mentoring can play a key role in helping entrepreneurs to grow vital business skills, provide insider insight, support and guidance to business owners at all stages of growth and assist in building a network of business contacts. In addition, for women business owners, mentoring can be particularly effective in building self-confidence and challenging perceptions of their own skills and capabilities.

Evidence highlighted by the Women’s Business Council suggests that:

“…women are less likely than men to think they have the skills needed to start a business and are more likely to be prevented by a fear of failure.”

According to the Women’s Business Council, a key explanation for the gender entrepreneurship gap may be linked to wider issues of lacking self-confidence rather than an actual lack of skills. This assertion is reflected in the findings of FSB’s survey, with 22% saying a lack of confidence was one of the most significant challenges they faced when starting their business and 20% claiming their lack of self-confidence has restricted their ability to grow.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” by Tony Robbins and…me.

Now it is your turn! Let us start a discussion about you and your needs today. dorota@dm2agency.co.uk