Women entrepreneurs face unique challenges in starting and growing their businesses. Some of these challenges are very familiar: limited access to funding, lack of mentorship and bias that many experience in the marketplace.
Supporting women-owned, small businesses is not only a matter of closing the gender gap but also a way to boost the economy and foster innovation. Shifting habits and cultural norms can seem impossible, but making these significant changes in behavior can be done in small, straightforward ways. These small habits add up to monumental change. Here is a list of the best ways to support women-owned businesses and empower women entrepreneurs:
1. Shop at women-owned businesses
One of the most direct ways to support women-owned businesses is simply to spend your money with them. Women entrepreneurs are represented in virtually every industry, from retail to technology to professional services. You can find women-owned businesses in your local area or online. There are dedicated directories on a local, national or regional basis to assist in locating these businesses.
When you shop at a woman-owned business, you support not only the owner but also the employees, suppliers and the community surrounding that business. Women-owned businesses positively impact the local economy by creating jobs and increasing the tax base. In choosing to spend your money at women-owned businesses, you are making a statement about the importance of gender diversity in the marketplace.
Related: Why Investing in Women-Led Startups Is the Smart Move
2. Spread the word
Spreading the word about women-owned businesses is an excellent way to support them. When you use your social media channels or personal networks to share information about the women-owned businesses you buy from, you are helping to build knowledge and increase awareness of these businesses and that there are choices in the marketplace.
Word of mouth is “old school,” but still one of the most powerful ways for any business to gain traction. Using your personal and professional networks to promote women-owned businesses and sharing that information with your friends and family members can help drive immediate revenue. It can also help expose that business to its next big opportunity.
3. Attend events
Attending events organized by women-owned businesses is a great way to show your support and learn more about their products and services. Many women-owned businesses host pop-up shops, networking events or workshops. These events can be an excellent opportunity to meet the owner, connect with other supporters, and learn more about the business.
Attending events also shows the owner that their business is valued and appreciated. When you attend an event, you support the owner and the other attendees and vendors. This can create a sense of community and support that can help the business thrive.
Related: A Look Back at Women’s Entrepreneurship Over the Last 35 Years — and How We Can Change the Future for Women Business Owners
4. Write reviews
Leaving positive reviews after shopping online, leveraging review platforms like Yelp, Google, or Trust Pilot or writing a review and sharing it on social media is another way to support women-owned businesses. Reviews can influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions, help increase the business’s visibility online, and encourage others to support those businesses. When you leave a positive review, you support the owner, the employees and other stakeholders.
It’s also important to note that negative reviews can significantly impact a small business, so it’s essential to be thoughtful and constructive in your feedback. If you have a negative experience with a women-owned business, consider reaching out to the owner directly to share your concerns and allow them to address the issue before taking it public.
Related: Studies Suggest It’s Good Business to Hire Women Over Men. Here’s Why.
5. Partner with women-owned businesses
If you own a business or work in a related field, consider partnering with a woman-owned business to offer joint promotions, events, or services. Partnering with a woman-owned business can help you reach new customers and grow your business while supporting another entrepreneur.
When you partner with a women-owned business, you can share resources and expertise to help each other succeed. This type of collaboration sends a strong message and can create a sense of community and support that can benefit both businesses.
These are simple things you can do every day that will directly impact your community and the large economy. What are you waiting for?