Micro businesses – defined as a business with fewer than 10 employees – are a major part of the U.S. economy. From catering companies and jewelers to accountants – smaller businesses are continuing to grow across communities. And it turns out that women own most of these businesses. In fact, the U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners found that the number of women-owned businesses increased by almost 27 percent between 2007 and 2012.
It’s no surprise that more businesses than ever are being started by women, as 2016 has been an exciting year for female leaders both in business and in government. To better understand the challenges and opportunities presented to women leaders, especially micro-business owners, Vistaprint conducted a survey of 1,200 respondents in the U.S. and UK.
The following slideshow highlights the trends found within the survey, including areas of business growth, challenges, personal satisfaction, networking and prospects for the future.
Women in Business: Challenges and Opportunities
Click through for findings from a study conducted by Vistaprint on the challenges and opportunities presented to women leaders, especially micro-business owners.
Owners of businesses of all sizes work to achieve business growth for their company. Whether it is extending the reach of their marketing campaigns, increasing the top line of the business or boosting revenue sales – growth is a priority.
And if there’s business growth, then there’s financial growth. According to the Vistaprint survey, 60 percent of U.S. women micro-business owners expect that their business will do better financially in the coming year.
While women micro-business owners believe their business is strong now and will continue on that path over the next year, they still face challenges when running their business. According to the survey, nearly one in five respondents say they work a second job to provide a supplementary income to support themselves and their families.
To support continued momentum and growth, 75 percent of women micro-business owners say it’s important to find and develop new business and sales opportunities. Yet, survey respondents said it can be challenging to find the right support to help promote and market their business properly.
Despite challenges that women micro-business owners face in terms of running and growing a business, a majority of respondents say it has had a positive effect on their family life. In fact, 79 percent of survey respondents believe their business is good for work-life balance when the right support systems are in place.
Respondents also had more overall satisfaction with their personal and business lives. For example, 50 percent of women micro-business owners can now follow their passion, while 47 percent of them took control of their life by running their own business. By opening their own business, women micro-business owners feel as if they gain more control of their personal happiness.
As a way to share ideas, tips and successes, women micro-business owners rely on networking with peers more than ever. While many business owners may look at successful and well-known business owners to follow their lead, 63 percent of respondents prefer to find inspiration from peers in their own micro business community.
Networking events give women micro-business owners the opportunity to meet and connect with peers to better understand opportunities and challenges they face while running a business.
A Bright Future
With women-owned micro businesses continuing to become a major part of the U.S. economy, more opportunities than ever before continue to become available. According to the survey respondents, 72 percent of women micro-business owners say that they have many more prospects than women of prior generations and only 3 percent believe that they have fewer opportunities, highlighting that times have changed for the better for women in business.