Guest Post By Gloria Martinez of Womenled.Org

Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) reminds us that although “women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of the small business community,” they face challenges that male business owners do not. Women have been struggling to gain equal footing with men since the dawn of time, but progress is happening, and the future offers more possibilities than ever before. That’s why we share the four things you need to know if you are a woman who owns a business.

You Don’t Have to Deal with People Who Don’t Take You Seriously

The fact that many people still fail to take women seriously is not surprising to women business owners. This challenge is rooted in centuries-old gender bias, and it is nothing that women business owners should take personally. Better yet, you don’t need to deal with these people because there are plenty of other investors, partners, and fellow entrepreneurs who realize that what you are doing is meaningful and valuable. Rather than waste your time trying to convince these people otherwise, spend time building a strong support network for yourself so you don’t have to rely on these unworthy people as you grow your business.

Women are Taking Over Boardrooms

Yes, there still are glass ceilings that need to be smashed. Yes, the gender pay gap needs to be closed. But, progress is happening now as more women have been appointed to boards. This will continue to aid women business owners in the future.

Diverse boardrooms set the tone for more improvements for women because of the panel effect, which occurs when a member of the minority has a strong influence on the majority by providing a different point of view. Men who set wages and determine promotions and decide in which companies to invest come to different conclusions when they are influenced by a woman on the board. Thus, women business owners are wise to do business with companies that have at least one woman in a position of power.

Women Need to Build Their Own Industry Networks

The good old boys’ club is not a myth. Women entrepreneurs find that it is difficult to break into long-standing networks and make connections because men own their competition and manage the industry networks. It is challenging for women to network and learn more about their industry and build connections when they are not included in the network culture from the get-go.

That’s why women are actively building their own industry networks, especially when they struggle to rise to positions of power in the business world. There are a variety of organizations that are committed to helping women business owners connect and build their businesses, and Empower Lounge shares a curated list of them to save busy women business owners some time in finding them.

Another organization that helps women business owners and represents women entrepreneurs is the National Association of Women Business Owners. NAWBO members build connections and share their voices more easily because the association encourages members to share their insights and expertise.

When you’re making connections and networking, it’s important to have an updated resume on hand. After all, you never know who might ask to see it without warning, and the last thing you want to give them is a resume that doesn’t reflect who you are right now and everything you’ve accomplished on your journey. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your resume, check out professional resume templates online that can assist you in crafting an impressive resume that will catch the eye of your colleagues and potential clients.

You Can Balance Work and Home Life

It may seem like you’re on a quest to find the holy grail when you set out to balance work and home life, but it is possible to strike that balance by becoming more forgiving of yourself. Like it or not, women business owners who have families fill one stereotypical role while breaking it at the same time. They run the household, drive kids to activities, take care of dinner and dishes, and assist in homework, even when their spouses share the load.

Family life is hectic, and women business owners want to be a part of it just as much as they want to be a part of their work life. The keys to achieving the elusive home-life balance are to make priorities and stop comparing yourself to other busy moms. And since we live in the 21st-century, technology has empowered women business owners to achieve this balance. Cell phones, web monitoring, and cloud-stored data mean working moms can access statistics about their business even while watching My Little Ponies or Pokemon. Data collection systems can eliminate the need to hand-count customers and can track and analyze patron behavior, allowing business owners to insert staff where bodies are needed — all from home or on the road.

Extra hurdles exist for women business owners. But, if you avoid working with people who don’t take you seriously, take advantage of working with companies that have at least one woman board member, build industry networks, and balance work and home life, you can tackle some of those challenges head-on and overcome them.