Small business owners are feeling optimistic – and women entrepreneurs are feeling particularly so, according to the Spring 2014 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (PDF).
Two out of five women in the survey opened their businesses in the last five years. But despite their fledgling status, nearly three-fourths (70 percent) of women business owners expect sales to grow this year, and more than half (56 percent) plan to hire in 2014.
What’s Holding Women Back – and Pushing Them Forward?
Nearly one-third of women in the study believe they have less access to capital (29 percent) and new business opportunities (32 percent) than men do. However, almost one in five (18 percent) believe they have more access to clients than men do.
But outside factors aren’t all that’s holding some women business owners back: Attitude could be a factor, too.
Men in the study are more likely than women to say “confidence” is one of their key skills (40 percent of men, vs. just 30 percent of women). Both men and women business owners name “multitasking” as their top skill, but men are more likely than women to say they are tech-savvy and strategic, while women are more likely than men to say they are creative and empathetic.
The New Family Business: Women-Owned?
Contrary to the popular image of a father hoping his sons will join him in the family business, men in the survey are more likely than women to say it’s better for their relationships if their children don’t work in their business (27 percent of men feel this way).
By contrast, almost one-third of women (32 percent) say their children will always have a place to work in their businesses, and 29 percent of women (compared to 18 percent of men) are already working with their kids.
What Are You Giving Up?
Both men and women make sacrifices to be entrepreneurs – that’s not news. However, their sacrifices are different. Women are more likely to give up time for themselves (74 percent), their social lives (45 percent) and financial stability (22 percent).
Men are more likely to sacrifice vacation time (63 percent), their relationship with their spouses (47 percent) and time with their children (46 percent). In fact, one-third of women say they spend more time with their kids as a result of running their own businesses.
Regrets: I’ve Had a Few
Both women and men feel the same about their regrets and their accomplishments. The biggest regrets among both sexes are “not spending enough time with my loved ones” (37 percent), followed by “not starting my business sooner” (29 percent).
Their greatest accomplishment: Being able to support their families financially, followed closely by “being my own boss” and “doing what I love.”
How do these results jibe with your own perspective as an entrepreneur?
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Rieva: You shouldn’t do sacrifices when it comes to your business. Instead you should invest time, energy and money. It is not a sacrifice to prioritize different things at different times in your life.
Great article Rieva! It is very refreshing to see that the ladies in the business world are getting on so well!