Women seeking to start their own businesses or advance their careers in 2014 just received some welcoming news from the second annual State of Women-owned Business Report. The study, conducted by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Web.com, reported on March 12, 2014 that current women business owners polled are exceptionally optimistic about their expected overall business performance for 2014.
As many as 89 percent of respondents felt that they had good reason to be positive about the direction female-owned businesses were moving in the United States. And this year's statistic was eight percentage points higher than the 2013 study results, showing a marked upward climb in attitude.
Borrowing a term from Wall Street, these same female business owners say they feel bullish when it comes to new female entrepreneurs attempting to enter the business owner arena this year. But while they feel strongly that other women can and should do this in 2014, they also feel those women will need to understand the challenges currently being faced by their predecessors. And one of the greatest challenges is seeking a new customer base or growing the one you have.
Networking is a great way to learn how to grow your customer base and stay in-the-loop about technology and social media advances, which was also cited in the study as important. And one way to do both is to attend women's conferences geared to help the professional woman achieve her goals.
In Kennesaw, Georgia that means attending the annual Phenomenal Women's Conference, which will be held on March 21 of this year. For 14 years women have been coming together each March thanks to the Kennesaw State University Siegel Institute in order "to exchange ideas about leadership, motivation and progress in the world," as they also celebrate being a woman.
But according to one Forbes writer, women have little to celebrate when it comes to receiving equal funding for their new business projects compared to men. Females still fall behind men when it comes to gaining the necessary funding they need from venture capitalists, only securing 4 percent of it last year compared to their male counterparts.
But that's also why attending female professional events like the PWC can help, as it can connect you to other women who can point you in the right direction when it comes to learning how to qualify for (and where to seek) such capital needs for a first-time business or expansion.
Other concerns of the 600 women business owners polled in the study showed 90 percent of them felt that the state of the economy will be their biggest challenge in 2014, which is something that they cannot control, unless one considers the power of a vote locally, statewide and nationally.
80 percent of them felt business tax issues would be a major challenge this year, which could indicate the Republicans may gain more support for their desire to overhaul the IRS tax structure soon. And 71 percent of the women owners questioned cited healthcare cost and accessibility as their biggest challenge in the days ahead. But more than half (61 percent) agreed that access to capital would challenge them the most as they try to grow their businesses, according to Forbes magazine.
If you are a woman interested in starting your own business, and you live in Georgia, you have the perfect opportunity to network and learn from a group of other women who have already succeeded in that effort. And you have until Friday, March 14 to register for such an event: the Phenomenal Women's Conference.
Register online now for the March 21 event to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the KSU Center located at 3333 Busbee Drive NW in Kennesaw. "Believe, Begin, Become" is this year's PWC theme, as well as the overall conference motto. And if you attend you will understand why, as the phenomenal women who are asked to share their secrets and stories in the workshops given will inspire you to do all three. And the Atlanta Top News Examiner will be present to cheer you on. Just don't look for me while I am enjoying the five-star meal they provide during the course of the event. It's worth the ticket price all by itself.