October is in full swing.
It means the return of hunting season, the omnipresence of pumpkin spice everything, fewer humid days, and National Women’s Small Business Month.
The Small Business Administration annually puts on National Women’s Small Business Month to celebrate female job creators and entrepreneurs. This perfectly coincides with record unemployment numbers out on Friday, which were the lowest in over 50 years. Most striking are the unemployment numbers overall and for women: 3.5% and 3.1%, respectively.
It’s a good time to start a business—especially if you’re a woman. Had Hillary Clinton won the presidency, I now believe I wouldn’t have been able to start my business back in 2016.
As a female business owner, especially of the freelancer variety, I’m proud to be one of many women out there running a business that not only contributes positively to the economy, but helps meet consumer demands.
Under the sheconomy here in the U.S., 13 million women-owned businesses support over 9 million jobs and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue annually. (Source: American Express 2019 Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report) How cool is that?
Given these stats, results from a new joint poll from OnePoll and Groupon on female entrepreneurs boasts some VERY interesting findings.
This is worth celebrating. That doesn’t mean tearing down men or male-owned businesses either. I’m not one of those women who believes tearing down men leads to the further elevation of women. Most of my clients have been male and have treated me with the utmost dignity and respect.
Fact: We need them for our businesses to flourish.
Context Behind the Poll
The OnePoll/Groupon poll interviewed 850 female small business owners from across the United States.
The top states for women business owners were Texas (no shocker there), Illinois (very odd), Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, South Carolina, and Ohio rounded out the top ten best states for women business owners.
Some of the listed states are questionable given their individual tax structures and cost of living that make it harder for everyone, women included, to start their businesses. But nevertheless, these were interesting. I wanted to see where Virginia and Wyoming ranked.
Did you know it takes THREE years for women to see success reach their business, if they are able to get it off the ground? (It has for me.) Fascinating.
Why Women Start Small Businesses
Like men, women are motivated by key factors when deciding to launch businesses. I had many of these thoughts when I first decided to go on my own back in summer 2016. I bet other female business owners reading this had similar views.
Women choose to launch small businesses to be their own bosses (70 percent), they prefer flexible schedules (67 percent), want to pursue passions (45 percent), have more control over their future (38 percent), and receive equitable pay (22 percent).
Moreover, female attitudes on success in business were spelled out like this:
The women entrepreneurs studied said putting in the hard work (66 percent), taking pride in the quality of their product or service (57 percent), building a personal network (38 percent), serving an underserved market or space (25 percent) and having innovative business ideas (24 percent) were the biggest keys to their success.
Obstacles Women Face When Launching Small Businesses
The poll found that 56% of female respondents believe they face greater challenges than their male counterparts when launching small businesses. That doesn’t mean men don’t encounter challenges to launching their respective businesses either, but women may face more obstacles and roadblocks since they rear children and manage households more than their male counterparts do.
The poll’s findings listed the following challenges for women small business owners. The biggest challenging was juggling family life with running a business (54 percent), followed by wanting to be taken seriously (40 percent), challenging social expectations (31 percent), claiming/owning their accomplishments (25 percent), and access to capital (24 percent).
No wage pay gap listed? Huh…People have told us women all believe they are being shortchanged. I guess not?
Ways Politicians Can Ease Burdens on Women Business Owners
Like men, women are equally burdened by onerous and bureaucratic rules to formation and launch of small businesses. To make matters easier, women believe state officials can do these five things to ensure they run into fewer obstacles when launching businesses.
The respondents overwhelmingly believed lowering or simplifying taxes would ensure their small business can grow most (50 percent). Followed by wanting the state to offer more small business resources (46 percent), to improve access to health care and insurance benefits (36 percent), to make housing affordable (20 percent), and to create more opportunities to access capital (17 percent).
Remember: the government ***doesn’t build*** businesses—nor should it. It should only be tasked with ***creating*** a pro-business environment.
Women Small Business Owner Attitudes on 2020 Election
When it came down to politics and the upcoming 2020 election, women were largely split on which party is better equipped to handle the economy.
32 percent of respondents said the Trump administration’s policies have had a positive impact on their business, while 31 percent said it had a negative impact. More interestingly, over half of the female respondents who plan to vote in the Democrat Party primaries don’t think any of the declared candidates will positively impact their small business. (Color. Me. Shocked.)
An Opportunity for Republicans to Court Women Business Owners
These poll findings read to me like great opportunities for the Republican Party to attract more female small business owners into their ranks, especially at a time when their Democrat counterparts are calling for higher taxes, redistribution of wealth, elimination of private equity firms, and total restructuring of the economy via the Green New Deal.
Will they live up to the task? We can only hope.
What are your thoughts on National Women’s Small Business Month? What other steps can be taken to encourage more entrepreneurship—especially among American women?
Originally posted on GabriellaHoffman.com