© Gerd Altmann

Survey Of Businesses Owned By Women During The Pandemic

What is the biggest challenge you face now?

A recent survey shows that 50% of business owners fear that they will be unable to sustain business operations for longer than 3 months. They have serious issues to tackle such as customer and employee health and safety, insurance for their business and the concern that business may not return to normal.

These are heavyweight issues… and women are a big demographic here. There are around 13 million businesses owned by women, which is approximately 42% of all firms across the USA.

The biggest challenge now is moving forward and taking action, during a crisis that none of us have witnessed before.  Women business owners are finding that they have to deal with the significant problem of over thinking about how to deal with the unknown. If they delay decisions they know that this will probably result in more problems.

The best way to deal with this is to break down larger tasks into smaller steps and then attend to problems based on urgency levels, such as those that affect their customers, employees, partners and suppliers. So take a deep breath and begin creating your list, you will find that this puts you in control of the situation which is very empowering.  

You need to be as pro-active as possible, this will assist you to get back to being that powerful woman who decided to take control and become a female entrepreneur. Remind yourself why you made this choice and what is really important for you. A healthy mindset is important so strike the right balance here.

Are you getting the right assistance to stay viable? 

During the pandemic, female business owners are coming up with innovative ways to change their business model for survival. Today’s challenges that we all face – from accessible and affordable childcare to connectivity – are highlighting the barriers that women entrepreneurs have had to contend with for a long time, especially in rural communities.

Start your research with the Small Business Administration website as they can advise on financial support and general business help. The state where you operate your business will be an important factor.

Resources from the Federal Government

There are low interest loans available through the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act. These loans are federally guaranteed. There is also funding available for women’s business centers, small business development centers and minority business centers that provide free advice, education and training for small businesses. 

You can find a women’s business center at:  

https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/?type=Women%27s%20Business%20Center&pageNumber=1

If you want a loan these are available to provide working capital up to $2 million, which would help you to survive any revenue loss during the pandemic. In addition, the federal government has developed partnerships with community banks and more than 300 financial institutions to provide their assistance with the lending requirements of small business. 

Counseling at no cost

You can contact SCORE, which is a non-profit organization staffed by thousands of volunteers, to receive small business mentoring, online classes and webinars. 

What does your budget look like for the next fiscal year? 

Your budget needs to be cautious in this uncertain world right now as there are not likely to be any definite answers anytime soon. Despite this, women need to determine what they want to accomplish and how they will achieve this in a relatively safe financial way. You need to use budgeting so that you have total control over your cash flow. 

With a budget you plan to:

  • Stay in financial control
  • Ensure you can finance your essential existing commitments
  • Help you to make financial decisions with confidence and achieve your objectives
  • Ensure that you have enough funding for your projects in the future

If you are a parent and need to homeschool, how will you balance work and your home life? 

It is essential that you are realistic here to avoid constant frustration. You do not want your children to be the source of this frustration. You need to take the time out to organize everything so that you can balance your work and home life effectively. Your goals for making money and the love and care of your children can be achieved together.

These will help you: 

  • Having a partner that supports you
  • Getting enough sleep 
  • Give your children self-directed activities
  • Simplify your life
  • Establish good routines
  • Keep your home tidy and clutter free
  • Be versatile and maintain your sense of humor

What do you need to stay in business?

You need to see the big picture here so take a step back and see what is still workable and where you will probably need to change. Examine your own strengths and weaknesses and those of your employees.

Keep in contact with your banker and form a good relationship with them. Work as closely as possible with your bank to maximize your chances of gaining access to cash during the pandemic.

Understand the process of getting a loan or a line of credit to overcome short-term cash flow problems. Having an established relationship with your banker should mean that it is easier for you to access government supported initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Finally, there is another very powerful group of females ready to assist women entrepreneurs – the NWBOC or the national women business owners’ corporation. They are monitoring the impact of the pandemic closely so that they can develop related policies and help to connect female business owners to funding opportunities and other resources they really need. 

Go to the NWBOC website at https://www.nwbc.gov to connect with them as their aim is to empower all women to make use of the resources available, participate in the best programs and contribute their life experiences.