Today’s business landscape is extremely different from the past. Women are beginning to find their voice in the business community. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are currently 9.1 million women business owners in the United States and these businesswomen employ over 7 million people.

Despite this upward trend, women still face many barriers when it comes to entrepreneurship and growing their ventures. Here are some of the most common challenges faced by female business owners.

Social Expectations

Unfortunately, there are still many social expectations and stereotypes of women in today’s society. Women are often expected to play the role of homemaker and caregiver in addition to their professional roles. This means there is much more of a demand on their time and very little extra time for professional development and growth.

In addition, many people have fostered a stereotype that women are too emotional and indecisive to be good leaders. Many women try to overcompensate by being more competitive and aggressive than necessary in professional situations. Women can overcome this issue by being authentic and true-to-self regardless of the circumstances.

Access to Role Models

Male entrepreneurial successes are much more visible and publicized in today’s culture. For women, this means discovering a good role model or mentor can be more challenging than it is for men. Many men offer “good old boys” clubs and social events where women struggle to find the same support systems and connections. In business, networking is extremely important so this challenge is particularly hurtful. Women can challenge this tradition by creating their own support groups and sharing their ideas and successes in online forums that can be accessed by women across the globe.

Access to Funding

Funding is another issue for women entrepreneurs. Many businesses require large investments and women have more trouble raising the capital than men do. Investors tend to give their money to business owners who reflect their own image, style, and beliefs. Unfortunately for women, the large majority of venture capitalists are men, and choose to give money to their male counterparts. To reverse this trend, women should ignore the trend and focus on putting together a business plan that can’t be resisted!

These are just a few of the more common struggles for women entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, women should continue to pursue the dream, focus on what can be controlled, and run a great business!