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Women in Business

Growth Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs

Posted by Jill Thielen on Tuesday, July 2, 2024

From exploring financing options to useful resources, unlock your business's full potential with these tips to help you grow as a female business owner.

A Woman Entrepreneur Determining Growth Strategies For A Woman-Owned Business

There are more than 12 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. — about 40% of all the businesses in the country — according to the National Association of Women Business Owners. And the National Women’s Business Council found that the number of female entrepreneurs has increased by 114% compared to just two decades ago. But despite this progress, women may not know how to achieve sustainable growth for their established business.

Luckily, there are many financial resources, organizations and initiatives available to support and empower women entrepreneurs on their journey to success. Whether you are seeking funding, mentorship or a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs, here are a few growth strategies that you can implement.

Fine-Tune Your Business Plan

No matter the size of your business or your industry, writing or updating your business plan is a must. A business plan is a detailed outline of what your company is, how it works and how it brings in money. It includes an explanation of how your business will turn a profit: dealing with everything from financial statements and pricing to potential customer segments and company development. Making the time to update your business plan allows you to reflect on your mission and vision to help identify goals and growth strategies.

Explore Small Business Financing Options

Small business financing options can help support your woman-owned business and empower you to grow. Here are a few types of small business loans:

Bank Loans

A community bank, like Northwest Bank, can help you with the right kind of bank loan to help you expand your small business.

  • Equipment financing loans help you purchase or lease equipment. These loans typically offer flexible repayment options for your business’s specific needs and cash flow.
  • A real estate loan can help you buy or develop residential properties. You can choose the loan type and terms that best align with your business goals and financial situation.
  • A working capital loan is money borrowed from your bank or lender that helps bridge temporary gaps in cash flow by providing immediate access to funds.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several programs that provide financing to small businesses, including those owned by women. SBA loans can give you the financial support you need to grow your business as a woman entrepreneur.


Microloans can be beneficial if you need a small amount of capital to expand your business, such as buying new equipment or inventory. They are typically $50,000 or less, although specific amounts can vary depending on the lender and your needs.

Angel Investors

Angel investors provide early-stage funding in exchange for equity ownership. There are many online angel groups, and several are dedicated to helping women-owned businesses, including 37 Angels. Some investors may offer mentorship, expertise and industry connections in addition to financial support.


Crowdfunding allows you to raise capital from individual investors, customers or supporters through an online campaign. It can be an effective way for you to validate market demand, generate sales and get access to capital without giving up equity in your business.


There are various grants available for women in business, like those from the Amber Grant Foundation. These funding options are specifically designed to support women-owned businesses. Remember to research each grant program's eligibility criteria, application requirements and deadlines before applying.

Use Treasury Management Services

You likely manage all aspects of your business, from bookkeeping to product inventory to customer service. Since you have to wear many hats, you may not be able to focus as much attention on specific financial aspects of your daily operations. Treasury Management services take some of that work off your plate. Here are some products and bank services that can benefit your small business.

ACH Services

ACH services can be used to pay your employees via direct deposit and to make and receive payments to and from your vendors and suppliers. This is faster than a check, cheaper than a credit card and more secure than checks, credit cards or wire transfers. Ultimately it gives you more control over when cash leaves your account.

Remote Deposit Capture

With Remote Deposit Capture, you can deposit checks to your accounts from your computer or mobile device. This eliminates travel time and any liability associated with you or your employees taking the check to the bank.

Positive Pay

You can better protect your business against unauthorized transactions with Positive Pay. It helps you take control of your business banking account and monitor checks and ACH debits for potential fraud.

Once you have collected the cash — put it to work. Utilize an Insured Cash Sweep® (ICS) account to pay down a line of credit to cut your interest expense. ICS helps you maximize your funds and keep your money protected, all while doing business with your community bank. You can also use your savings account to put your money to work earning interest.

Network Effectively

Networking is crucial to connect with potential investors and build relationships within the investment community. Attend industry conferences and networking events where you can meet investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs. Also network in non-traditional ways, like online through social media platforms. A strong professional network can provide valuable insights, referrals and opportunities for funding as well as help you feel supported as a woman business owner.

Research Women Small Business Resources

As a woman entrepreneur, you have access to a number of specialized resources. These organizations can help you overcome obstacles, capitalize on opportunities and achieve business goals. Here are a few popular resources:

Build a Relationship with Trusted Advisors

Surround yourself with trusted advisors: a banker, an accountant, an attorney and others in your industry who have succeeded in growing their business. Finding and building a relationship with the right commercial banker allows you to effectively manage your business finances while keeping your focus on your customers. Building relationships with commercial lenders and demonstrating your business's financial stability can help improve your chances of securing favorable financing terms.

To learn more about how Northwest Bank can help your women-owned business, contact one of our commercial bankers today.

The Author

Jill Thielen

Jill Thielen

Regional Senior Lender, EVP

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