Small businesses are never easy work to start up or grow. Despite the flexibility, autonomy and opportunity to fulfil one’s potential, the difficulties of getting a new business off the ground can often be overwhelming. And with the constant threat of disruption or irrelevance around the corner, it’s vital that small business owners look over their shoulder for potential threats and competitors.
Yet data* collated by Xero has revealed for the first time that female-led businesses are more likely to see these threats and overcome them. The gender of the business owner appears to play a role, based on the differences in hesitations, perceived levers of success and business optimism between our female and male entrepreneurs.
What the numbers tell us
Across the world, female entrepreneurs are more likely to be concerned their businesses are not growing fast enough (21 per cent of women versus 17 per cent of men), and are more likely to struggle finding time to work on their business (20 per cent of women vs 16 per cent of men). Women business owners also feel less confident in managing their financials than their male counterparts.
Yet it’s those hesitations and potential fears that also drive female entrepreneurs to success. What’s most revealing is that female small-business owners want to be empowered to run their businesses themselves, and are leveraging technologies to do so. Often, they’re pushed for time and resources while juggling families and personal commitments, so they are embracing tools to help their businesses succeed.
Women are more likely to adopt new software to run their business (68 per cent of women vs 64 per cent of men), and are more likely to offer digital payments to customers (77 per cent of women vs 71 per cent of men). They are also more likely to be on the bleeding edge of these technologies as well, including mobile payment options.
Female entrepreneurs empowered by technology
In fact, women are more likely to see technology as a lever for success (44 per cent of women vs 38 per cent of men), and yet are more likely to worry about keeping up with the pace of change. This tells us that female entrepreneurs are ambitious, grounded, optimistic, and resourceful — they’re not afraid to embrace technology and give their businesses a leg up. And amid the threat of disruption, they are more likely to adopt tools and tips to ward off irrelevance, rather than becoming overly confident.
Looking onwards, it’s our female small business owners who are the most optimistic and positive about their businesses future.
Let’s #PressforProgress together
In celebration of International Women’s Day, as a small business community we must come together and support our female entrepreneurs, and each other, to break new ground and keep pushing for success. From knowledge sharing, to support groups and mentorship, the path to success starts with building a strong support network.
In line with the theme of International Women’s Day, let’s #PressforProgress and stand together to empower ourselves and each other to succeed.
Rachael Powell, Chief Customer and People Officer, Xero