If you’re looking for a business that’s planning to hire, increase its revenues this year, and grow over the next five years, look for one owned by a woman. According to a new report from Bank of America, women business owners are more optimistic than their male counterparts about the future prospects of their businesses.
Of course, it’s possible that the data merely indicate that women are less realistic than men. But the study also showed that women aren’t Pollyannas: they are more concerned about broader economic issues including health care costs, interest rates, and the strength of the U.S. dollar than are male business owners.
Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report, which was conducted in March by Braun Research, looked at the nationwide rise in the growth of women-owned businesses and how female small business owners deal with the demands of running their own business – from family dynamics to aspirational goals. The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. small business owners with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and between 2 and 99 employees.
Many women surveyed were new to ownership: two in five started running their business within the last five years. But whether they opened shop last year or last decade, 68 percent have plans to continue growing over the next five years, and 70 percent expect their revenue to increase this year. And while 50 percent of male owners said they plan to hire more employees this year, 56 percent of women owners did.
Ironically, women were less likely than men to count “confidence” as their strongest attribute in business ownership. While women ranked multitasking, creativity, confidence, and empathy to be their strong suits in that order, men ranked multitasking, confidence, strategy, and tech savvy to be theirs.
Those multitasking skills seem to come into play for women business owners at home more than for men: Half of men, but only 37 percent of women say they spend less time with their families due to running a business; and 33 percent of women, as opposed to 24 percent of men, say that running the business actually lets them spend more time with their families.
Women are also more likely to be interested than men in hiring their own children. While 29 percent of women vs. 18 percent of men already employ their children, 27 percent of men vs. 12 percent of women said it would be best for their relationships if their children did not work for their business.
Though both genders considered “time for myself” to be their greatest sacrifice to the business, men were more likely than women to feel they had sacrificed leisure time and time with their spouse and children, and women were more likely than men to say they had sacrificed their social life and relationships with their extended family. In addition, while men were more likely to say they felt they “should be making more money,” or “should spend more time with my family,” women were more likely than men to say they felt they “should spend more time taking care of household responsibilities” and “less time with my family and more time on my business.”
There’s one place female and male business owners see eye to eye: their greatest regrets about business ownership. Both genders expressed the same top two: not spending enough time with their loved ones, and not starting their businesses sooner.