If you’re a woman who owns a small business, you’ve joined the millions of other women who’ve decided to strike out on their own. Although your ranks are growing, male-owned companies still vastly dominant the business world. Could this disparity be affecting the way you approach your customers?

According to a recent article in Psychology Today, women small business owners and entrepreneurs are less likely than their male counterparts to ask for their true market value when bidding on contracts or setting a price for their work. Why is that?

Some think this comes from an inherent lack of confidence – downplaying the value of what one has to offer. Women are often more likely than men to question their ability and be fearful of appearing unqualified. While everyone can certainly feel this way at times, research shows that men are typically quicker to jump at an opportunity irrespective of their qualifications while women in the same position hold back. To put it simply, men are more confident they will “figure it out” while women are reluctant to take on a task unless they already know how to do it.

How can women overcome this mentality, especially if they aren’t even aware they’re operating from this mindset? These suggestions can help.

Ask yourself if you work from a “fear of failure” approach. For example, you think “If what I do isn’t perfect, it will be rejected.” “I don’t want to waste someone’s time with my proposal.” “I’ll be found out as a fake and no one will hire me again.” Realize how your internal dialogue could be sabotaging your success and work on replacing these thoughts with more positive messages.

Find a supportive person to be in your corner. This could be an accomplished female mentor who has been in your shoes, a local women’s entrepreneurial group that you join, or just a trusted friend who believes in you. Have people in your life that want you to succeed and are there to remind you of what you’re capable of.

Join a professional association. Organizations like the National Association for Women Business Owners and the American Business Women’s Association provide information on a wealth of issues affecting women entrepreneurs. The more educated you become, the more empowered you are. These groups can also notify you of events or meet ups in your area to take advantage of. Being surrounded by confident, successful women can inspire you to be the same.

At the end of the day, the reason some small businesses thrive and others don’t depends on a variety of reasons. Some of these factors are under your control and some aren’t. Acknowledging your strengths and believing in what you can offer is under your influence however, so don’t let an unwarranted lack of confidence be the thing that derails your success.


Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at susanbryant7@gmail.com.