Women’s Small Business Month, which happens every October, is a great time to highlight the many contributions and advancements made by female business owners who are making a significant, positive impact to our nation’s economy.

The latest census data shows that in 2012, female-owned firms made up more than 36 percent of all non-farm businesses, up from 30 percent in 2007. As of 2012, there were 9.9 million female-owned businesses -- a more than 27 percent increase from 2007.

The fact that the number of women entrepreneurs has increased over the years has been made possible, in part, by their passion, talent and dedication and their ability to obtain essential business support including access to capital. According to a recent Wells Fargo / Gallup national study, 71 percent of women business owners say they feel very or extremely satisfied as a business owner, and 89 percent would do it all over again. Yet women in the survey also expressed less overall interest than men in learning about credit-related issues, particularly choosing the type of credit that is best for their business needs (17 percent versus 28 percent).

It’s important for women entrepreneurs to understand how the use of business credit may benefit their operations. Business credit can provide a business the source of funds it needs for multiple purposes, from bridging gaps in cash flow to pursuing growth opportunities. As women-run businesses continue playing a vital role in our local economy, we want to do everything we can to help these businesses thrive.

Here are four tips we offer women business owners to help them succeed financially:

1. Explore your financing options.

According to the Wells Fargo / Gallup study, women business owners said their top three sources of initial funding for their business are cash or savings (85 percent), personal credit cards (37 percent) and financial gifts or support from family or friends (29 percent). Today, business owners have many business financing options to consider.

If a conventional business loan doesn’t meet your specific needs, you may want to explore an SBA 7(a) loan. Talk with your banker about the full array of credit options available for your business to identify the best option for you.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE