Women are more likely to start a small business than men, but they are more likely to struggle obtaining financing. Our content partner Nav.com explains why women-owned businesses hit a financial glass ceiling and how you can break it.

 

A new report released by SCORE reveals some interesting data regarding small businesses, particularly women-owned small businesses. Of the 28 million small businesses in the United States, 39% are owned by women, which increased by 45% from 2007 to 2016 and continues to rise. Women are more likely to start a business than men, enjoy equal success as measured by business starts, revenue growth, job creation, and time in business. And while men are more likely to operate in the construction and manufacturing industries, women are more likely to open businesses in healthcare or education. Women-owned businesses employ almost 9 million people and bring in over $1.6 trillion in revenue. While these figures are impressive, there are some concerns found in the data.

Despite the growth in the number of women-owned businesses, these entities have remained static in revenue shares at only 4% of the nation’s business revenues, a point which hasn’t seen much growth if any over the last 20 years. In contrast, businesses owned by men have declined in their share of U.S. enterprises since the early 2000s, but their revenue shares have stayed consistent in relation to the changing number of entities. Of the businesses that responded to the survey, 34% of men-owned businesses have been in business for more than 10 years, compared to only 28% of women-owned businesses.

These numbers certainly raise concerns about the longevity and sustainability of women-owned businesses. Could this be a product of a lack of mentorship or other barriers to success?

The Glass Ceiling of Financing

In addition to revenue and years in business, the study highlighted several key indicators to determine how successful a business is, including hiring rates and access to financing. Over the last year, a larger proportion of men-owned businesses (30%) saw an increase in hiring compared to women-owned businesses (27%). Some of the women entrepreneurs responded that they would like to hire more full-time employees, but have to stick with interns, contractors, or part-time employees because funds are low in their business.

When asked why they sought out financing, a nearly equal proportion of men and women responded that they needed financing to hire a new employee. The statistics show that 34% of men compared to 25% of women search out financing, and that 38% of men versus 31% of women who apply for financing actually obtain it.

Women-owned businesses are slightly more likely to depend on credit cards or non-SBA loans for financing as opposed to men-owned businesses, whereas men are more likely to use equity raised from investors to fund their business. While experience and networking can help find better financing options, it’s always important to make sure your business credit profile is in tip-top shape. You can check your business and personal credit score for free with Nav before you seek better financing options.

Some of the differences between men and women business owners may boil down to mentoring, a topic the study addressed. The numbers clearly suggest that small business owners who work with a mentor or are under a mentorship program enjoy more success than those who don’t. While the numbers pertaining to revenue, hiring, and access to financing show that women-owned businesses are at a disadvantage, there are indeed resources available to help them take the next step forward.

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

We look forward to helping your business succeed. Right now, if you sign up for free mentoring assistance, you’ll receive up to a 2% discount on your loan’s annual interest rate. If you have questions about this loan offer or other small-business loans for women, visit ofew.org, or contact us at ofew@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five free food truck blogs.

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

National Food Trucks

What it does: Although National Food Trucks doesn’t update their blog very frequently, what they do produce are great pieces that inspire, inform, and celebrate food trucks. From location-specific success stories, to adrenaline pumping pieces about greedy event bookers – you’ll find something useful and interesting to read here.

Food Truck Operator

What it does: Food Truck Operator should be your go-to source for food truck news. They update several times a month whenever something new comes out that would be beneficial to you as a mobile food entrepreneur. There’s a little bit of everything on this helpful blog: inspiring success stories, latest news and legislation, helpful business tips, and more.

Food Truck Empire

What it does: Another frequent poster, Food Truck Empire offers interesting articles about unique food trucks, new market trends, out-of-the-box business tips, and more. Keep updated with this food truck blog for a well-rounded knowledge about what’s changing in the mobile food industry.

Roaming Hunger

What it does: Roaming Hunger boasts several topics of articles from “experiential marketing” and “recipes” to “weddings” and “the office.” Why are wedding blog posts interesting to food truck owners? This blog not only offers insightful pieces that are helpful for you to read, but they also have lots of pro-food truck articles for your own business to share on your social media to help spread the word and attract big gigs.

Foodtruckr

What it does: Foodtruckr’s blog is full of motivation, inspiration, tips and tricks. This is definitely an amazing resource for you to grow your mobile food business, written by food truck experts for other entrepreneurs.

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans including Mobile Food Truck loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

Anthony and Cynthia started their business to share a taste of home with their new community in Orlando. They converted their West African restaurant into a food truck with the help of a loan from Opportunity Fund. Now with two food trucks in Orlando, African Soul Market is thriving as they share more of the food they love.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

Anthony and Cynthia started their business to share a taste of home with their new community in Orlando. They converted their West African restaurant into a food truck with the help of a loan from Opportunity Fund. Now with two food trucks in Orlando, African Soul Market is thriving as they share more of the food they love.

The Taste of Success

Anthony and Cynthia Imana started African Soul Market in 2013 in Orlando. After they moved to Florida from the Bronx in New York, they wanted to start an African market to share Anthony’s taste of home.

“We moved to Florida for a better life for the kids and when we got here, we realized there weren’t many African options for my husband to eat,” Cynthia said. “I thought that he can’t be the only one who wants that food, so let’s do something about it.”

They started out in a brick and mortar location selling dry African goods. They changed their focus to prepared food on the weekends, which quickly sold out each day. “Then we started selling our prepared foods every day,” Cynthia said.

Their food was a huge hit, but the increasing rent for their restaurant space made it hard to stay in business. After two years as a restaurant, African Soul Market started over as a food truck.

African Soul Market

Anthony and Cynthia built their business together and watch it grow every day (photo courtesy of Jack Edwards)

They needed a small business loan to help finance their truck, so they reached out to One Fat Frog, a food truck manufacturer located in their hometown of Orlando. As one of Opportunity Fund’s key mobile food vehicle manufacturer and dealer partners, One Fat Frog connected the Imanas to us.

“One Fat Frog told us that Opportunity Fund does food truck loans,” Cynthia said. “We didn’t have the total amount to pay for the truck. We were relieved to know that funding was available.”

Starting Off Right

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Gerardo Campos helped close a $30,000 loan for the Imanas to complete the purchase of their truck. They were set up for immediate success.

“We’re the first food truck in the state of Florida serving authentic West African cuisine,” Cynthia said. They set up their truck in Pointe Orlando, a prime spot with a constant flow of foot traffic. Business grew so quickly that they returned to One Fat Frog for a second truck in March 2018. Gerardo was there again to help secure the $71,000 loan for the new truck.

Gerardo’s quick and personalized service helped the Imanas get their second truck going without missing a beat. “Gerardo was amazing,” Cynthia said. “He was straightforward and told us what we needed to provide for the loan. Everyone we worked with at Opportunity Fund is great and professional.”

The second African Soul Market truck travels to events around the Orlando area, as well as private catering engagements. Cynthia and Anthony go to work every day with their family members and cook their favorites while providing for the family’s needs.

We’re proud to watch African Soul Market expand and we’re thankful for our mobile food vehicle partners like One Fat Frog for helping us reach new clients outside of California!

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Tin or aluminum is the traditional way to celebrate a 10 year anniversary. That doesn’t sound very impressive, does it? What’s impressive is getting your small business past the 10 year mark of success. Only around 30% of businesses last that long, keep reading to find out how you can.

Tin or aluminum is the traditional way to celebrate a 10 year anniversary. That doesn’t sound very impressive, does it? What’s impressive is getting your small business past the 10 year mark of success. Only around 30% of businesses last that long, keep reading to find out how yours can.  

 

Why do Small Businesses Fail?

The first step to ensuring your small business succeeds is to learn how you could fail. Only then do you have the knowledge and power to avoid these mistakes. Here are the most common reasons why small businesses don’t last 10 years.

Cash flow problems. By far the most common reason, 82% of small business owners say they failed because they experienced problems with cash flow. It is important to do a cash flow analysis and keep on top of your finances.

You probably didn’t become an entrepreneur because you love accounting. You have the vision, drive, and ambition to make the world a better place through your business idea. However, money is what will sink your business or float it to the top. Always be working on your financial literacy, keep physical records, know where every dollar is being spent, don’t focus only of your Profit and Loss statement (PnL), cut expenses where you can, and prioritize your money management. You won’t regret it.

There’s no demand for your product or service. Around 42% of businesses fail because there is no market need. It’s a hard lesson to learn that not every idea is a good one, and people might not want what you are offering.

It’s not smart to open an ice cream stand in the middle of December or across the street from a diabetic clinic. How do you make sure there’s enough demand for your business to make money? Do a lot of research into your target audience and community. Your business should solve a common problem that consumers have.

You don’t have the right team. About 23% of businesses fail because they don’t have the right balance of human capital. Nobody is an expert in everything, whether you are a sole proprietor or you have a business partner, so it’s important to hire good employees that can all contribute to your business’ success.

Don’t stop with the hiring process. Encourage and help your team grow with your business. Invest in training, provide support and opportunities, and lead by example. The only thing worse than incompetent employees are ones that can’t work together as a powerful team.

There is too much competition. Although a seemly small percentage, 19% of businesses fail because they lose out to their competitors. Market competition is healthy because it encourages innovation, humility, and hard work. But in any competition, there will be a loser who unfortunately did not make it.

If you open that ice cream stand on the beach in the summer next to three other ice cream stands, it is very likely that you will struggle. Identify your business’ SWOT and use that to find the best location, direction, and strategy to avoid losing out.

Don’t believe us? Listen to small business owners who have succeeded – they have advice they want you to hear.

Trust in Your Business, Even If Banks Won’t

Here at Opportunity Fund, we want to see your business thrive. It is our mission to help underbanked entrepreneurs like you get the working capital you need to see your business hit that magical 10 year anniversary.

Contact us today to get a small business loan that will help you for the next ten (and hopefully more!) years.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org