Business Opportunities for Women

Allison Martin
Businesswomen

According to a small business monitoring report released by American Express, the rate of business ownership by women is expanding 50% more rapidly than any other group. This growth can be attributed to the fact that women network well since they tend to be strong communicators, often succeed when collaborating with others and are willing to seek assistance when needed from organizations such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

Rapidly Expanding Industries

Women typically favor service-oriented businesses because they require a minimal initial investment, are less risky and offer flexibility.

Travel Agency

For years, women have excelled as travel agents. This is a great business opportunity for various reasons. First and foremost, customer service is a priority for women and this attracts customers. In addition, women are great communicators and will do whatever it takes to build a relationship with potential customers to make the sale. Woman-owned travel agency Omega World Travel has surpassed the million dollar mark.

Interior Design

In the interior design industry, there are numerous success stories amongst female entrepreneurs. Those who succeed, such as Sheila Rich, have an eye for cutting-edge looks coupled with an excellent work ethic.

Real Estate

Although the real estate market has taken a huge hit with the recent economic downturn, the ultra luxury segment continues to thrive. Agents such as Emily Beare, Nancy Elias, Bonnie Devendorf and Serena Boardman have recently seen hefty commissions as a result of multi-million dollar sales.

Women succeed in this industry because they aren't afraid to do the legwork required to reach potential clients. According to American Express, female realtors represent 25% of the industry.

Educational Services

There is always a need for tutoring and test preparation services for students who need extra help in particular subject areas or a specific plan of study for a proctored exam. Female entrepreneurs, such as Catherine Hull who owns the Sylvan learning centers in New York, have experienced consistent growth and success in this arena.

Women own 46% of the educational service organizations according to American Express.

Nanny Services

The demand for in-home nannies is steadily increasing as women continue to climb the corporate ladders and advance in their careers. Day care costs are rising and parents are leaning toward using the services of nannies to care for their children while they are away for extended hours throughout the day. Nannies are preferable because they can give children the individual attention that most childcare centers cannot, and parents can make specific requests for things such as curriculum instruction and meal preferences.

Care.com, founded by Sheila Lirio Marcelo, acts as a concierge service for those looking for a provider and is one example of ways nanny services can blossom into a lucrative business.

Mobile Beauty Service

For cosmetologists, a mobile beauty service can be a lucrative and flexible business opportunity. If you work hard and build the right client base, customers will be more than willing to pay top notch rates for the added convenience. You will also have the option to work out of a salon when time permits.

Dana Gibbs, a female celebrity stylist, reaps the rewards of her profession and makes an impressive living while doing so.

Life Coaching

With the recent shift in the current generation's interest in entrepreneurship, many up and coming entrepreneurs are turning to life coaches to give them the courage and boost they need to succeed.

Marie Forleo, marketing and lifestyle expert, offers coaching programs, such as B-School, to help entrepreneurs realize their maximum potential. She has become a serial entrepreneur and boasts revenues of over $1 million annually.

Bakery

Breaking into the bakery industry is not difficult to do if you are skilled in the kitchen. It is also a business that you can start out of your home, reducing the overhead. CamiCakes Cupcakes, a well-known bakery established by Andra Hall, is taking the bakery world by storm with her signature offering of customized cupcakes.

Event Planner

Expenditures for special events is around $500 billion annually, according to Joe Goldblatt, founder of International Special Events Society. Event planning opportunities include social gatherings, weddings and anniversaries, corporate events, training and conferences. It requires a minimal start-up budget and is the perfect business opportunity for women as it requires collaboration, communication and coordinating skills.

The potential clientele is nearly endless as most event planners will work with any budget. Mindy Weiss, a popular event planner, coordinates events for celebrities and has authored numerous publications that offer tips for all sort of special events.

Waste and Energy Services

According to American Express, 37% of waste and energy service businesses are owned by women and generate more than $70 billion in annual revenues. Organizations, such as New Horizons Enterprises, have been very successful. The company grew to 30 employees in three years and was able to secure federal contracts.

Financial Resources

There are many organizations that offer financial assistance through grants and loans for women-owned business, including:

  • The Women's Funding Network is an organization that provides financial assistance to over 160 female-owned companies throughout the world.
  • Count Me In offers grants to women who are business owners looking to exceed annual revenues of $1 million.
  • Grants.gov is a database comprised of grants offered by United States federal agencies.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration offers loan programs to women-owned businesses.

Which Business Is Right for You?

Before selecting a line of business that is most appealing to you, consider the costs associated with getting started. In addition, review the industry outlook and create a business plan to help you get started. Most importantly, be certain that the career you choose will enable you to have a healthy work-life balance.

Business Opportunities for Women