Unlocking Secrets about Women in Small Business

Unlocking Secrets about Women in Small Business image Unlocking Secrets about Women in Small BusinessUnlocking Secrets about Women in Small BusinessWhat do you picture when you think of a woman in business? Do you picture a small business owner and entrepreneur, or a corporate executive? Maybe you think of a woman in a pants suit, marching to an important meeting, or perhaps you imagine a woman who operates her own boutique or local retail store.

In reality, women in business may look like any one of those examples, or they may look like none of them.

There is an incredible amount of diversity when it comes to women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs. They represent almost every industry you could think of, come in all shapes and sizes, and most importantly, they wear what they want.

In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month (October), we’re going to delve into some of the most unique facts about women in business and try to debunk the myths as we move along.

As a woman in business, this topic has a great deal of personal significance to me. Let’s explore what we know about women in business and see if we can’t come up with some interesting new discoveries.

Top 5 Facts about Women in Business

Currently, there are more women working as general counsel for Fortune 500 companies than there ever have been before. But that’s just for starters. Here are five highly-notable facts about women in small business:

  • Women-owned small businesses are on the rise. October was named Women’s Small Business Month by the SBA (Small Business Administration) in order to draw attention to challenges that face typically woman job creators.
  • 30% of all businesses are owned by women, and of that amount, 90% are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned small businesses are getting more funding from the SBA. The SBA is approving a large amount of female-owned businesses with loans in order to encourage women to start their own businesses.
  • Women-owned businesses are generating a massive amount of revenue.
    • American Express OPEN estimates that the US has over 8.6 million female-owned businesses and Forbes estimates they produce more than 1.3 trillion in revenue.
  • Women in business subvert gender stereotypes. Remember gender roles from the 1950s? Female entrepreneurs are changing those dynamically.
    • Women business owners are reshaping the corporate culture and redefining the workplace today more than ever.
  • Women are also creating the most jobs. According to Forbes, “They have added an estimated 175,000 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2007.”

The Controversy over Female Business Owners

During National Small Business Week this year, a successful female entrepreneur (she also happens to be over the age of 60) reported in Forbes both some positive and not-so-positive news about women business owners. Drawing from a Women-Owned Business Report issued by American Express OPEN, she reports that between 1997 and 2013, female-owned businesses increased by 59%.

What’s most notable about that fact is the rate is 1.5 times faster than the average rate of US businesses overall.

Employment in women-owned companies has been up 10% over the last 16 years, while revenues have grown by a whopping 63%.

Today, women-owned businesses employ over 7.7 million people.

No One’s Perfect!

Unfortunately, women-owned businesses aren’t perfect. On average, women-owned businesses are guilty of employing only one person other than the owner, which is a unique conundrum considering they employ such a notable portion of the workforce.

It was also reported that women-owned businesses seem to have a hard time growing once they reach between 5 and 9 employees and their revenue falls between $250,000 – $499,999.

If women in business are really as successful as has recently been reported, then how can the numbers be true?

One expert offered the explanation that women often run businesses in different industries than men, and those industries don’t always receive the same type of financial support that is typical of banks and investors as the industries men are more well-known for running businesses in.

All the more reason why it’s great to know that the SBA is giving women more funding in order to boost their entrepreneurial activities and spirits.

Women in business can check out the sba.gov website for more good advice on how to run a small business, including training and mentoring.

Image via Shutterstock

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