Just the facts –
Women-owned businesses in the U.S. are growing at a rate of 11 percent compared to only 6 percent for other companies. Their revenue growth is also higher at 32 percent, compared to other companies, which grew by 24 percent. Businesses owned by women of color grew at twice the rate of all other women-owned businesses, making them the most successful category of female-owned companies.
What makes women such successful entrepreneurs?
Women who own companies have learned to make “leanness” part of their DNA. Many of them start out with a mission statement that is just as much about making a difference as it is about making money, and they are more conscious of the need for employees to lead a well-balanced life. More often than not, they hire a diverse group of people and offer a well-rounded benefits plan.
Today, there are approximately six million women-owned businesses in the United States and every day another four hundred new ones are started. These numbers represent nearly 55 percent of the new business start-ups in America and it proves that despite the economic climate women have not lost their nerve.
Women are certainly making their mark on the business world, and according to the Center for Women’s Business Research they are either half-owners or majority-owners of three quarters of all American businesses. The National Association of Women Business Owners recently reported that nearly 35 percent of its members were planning to hire new workers within the next 12 months, and many were looking to expand or maintain their capital investment this year.
Seven factors that set women-owned businesses apart
- Women are more customer-focused and they excel at customer retention. This gives them a competitive advantage over men, who are more focused on winning new business.
- Women business owners are more likely to be environmentally friendly in their practices. Taking responsibility for the environment helps the business attract customers who are also eco-friendly, giving women the competitive edge.
- Social responsibility is an important part of any business owner’s world, and this means creating a positive work environment where employees contribute to the community. Statistics show that women-owned businesses walk the walk and talk the talk by participating in many community-oriented events.
- Women are generally more generous in their support for charities and causes, and they’re not shy about letting others know about it. According to a book entitled “Too Busy to Shop,” female “millennials” are more likely to switch to a different brand if they are associated with a good cause.
- Women business owners are more likely to be trusted by customers, and this is a great quality to have in a post-recession service economy. A survey taken by Gallup in July 2010 has revealed that consumers have more confidence in small businesses than they do in large corporations, and their level of confidence has increased from 19 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2010. This trend has helped women-owned businesses grow, even in a challenging economy.
- Women make excellent strategic thinkers, and this is more than just an opinion. According to Kelley Skoloda, author of “Too Busy to Shop,” women have 12 percent more activity in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, making them successful at turning companies around. This could explain why Fortune 500 companies are adding more women to their leadership teams. Did you know that two of the Dow’s 30 top-performing companies – Dupont and Kraft – are run by female CEOs?
- Women are experts at collaboration. They naturally enjoy working with others and according to the Center for Women’s Business Research they are much more likely to join business associations and networking groups. It is this attitude of cooperation and connecting with others that has contributed to the success of women in the business world.
Where do women go to get started in business? One way to learn more about any industry is to join local organizations and online forums. It is interesting to note that women excel in certain fields more than others. Consider a new venture in healthcare, retail and professional/technical services. These are among the top fields for women-owned businesses. Others include real estate, arts and entertainment and food services.
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