Women's Super League clubs will find it increasingly difficult to match Premier League-backed sides, Notts County Ladies boss Rick Passmoor has warned.
Notts finished fifth in WSL 1, the best-placed team not associated with a men's Premier League club.
However, they beat Liverpool in last four of the Continental Cup on Sunday to reach their second final of 2015.
"The game has been elevated, the brands have taken it to another level very quickly," Passmoor told BBC Sport.
Chelsea, who beat Notts in the Women's FA Cup final at Wembley in August, completed a league and cup double by becoming the third side to win the WSL 1 title after Liverpool and Arsenal.
And Manchester City, who took the title race to the final day of the season, finished second to qualify for the Women's Champions League for the first time.
|Magpies on the world stage|
|Of the eight WSL 1 sides, Notts County had the second highest number of players at the Women's World Cup, with seven in total.|
|Sunderland, who finished fourth in the table, were one of two top-flight clubs that did not have any players in Canada for the tournament.|
Bristol Academy, the only women's side in the top-flight not linked to a men's team, were relegated to WSL 2, with chairman Simon Arnold saying that the rise of Premier League-backing has put an elite few on a 'different planet'.
Passmoor believes the increased popularity and exposure of the women's game following England's World Cup bronze-medal success in Canada in the summer will create a greater gap between clubs.
"It is going in another direction, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and even Sunderland as well. They have seen the gap, a niche in the market to add to their business portfolios. And it is a business at that level," Passmoor added.
"I don't think a lot of people, stakeholders, governing bodies, were aware that this was going to explode like it has."
Asked if the upcoming transfer window in the league's off-season will be the most important yet, Passmoor replied: "I know many clubs are already in advanced positions with possible recruits for for next season and are looking world wide. Ourselves, we are making steady progress.
"We will all do it all within the circumstances that are appropriate for the football club. It is exciting, it is challenge and we are a little bit the underdogs all the time because we are Notts County."