Women entrepreneurs are decidedly optimistic about their businesses and the overall economic outlook, according to a national survey conducted byWeb.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWWW) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).
Most women business owners (85%) predict that even more women will become entrepreneurs this year than in past years. More than a third (38%) plan more hiring this year than last year, and more than half (54%) expect to do about the same amount of hiring they did in 2012.
2013, the Year of the Female Entrepreneur
The State of Women-Owned Businesses survey found that the large majority of WBOs were optimistic about their business’ overall performance (81 percent) for the year ahead. They were also optimistic, though slightly less so, about the broader economic outlook (74 percent) in 2013.
“The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey reveals that even in these tough economic times, women entrepreneurs are optimistic about business opportunities for the year ahead,” said NAWBO President, Diane L. Tomb .
What keeps them up at night?
The top four things worrying them are the same things worrying the business community in general: the state of the economy (57%); health insurance costs and afforability (40%); business taxes (36%); and access to quality workers (36%).
The majority (71%) say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will not impact how they do business.
Who Should Become an Entrepreneur?
Survey respondents assert that women start their own businesses for a variety of reasons, including: having a vision for a business idea or a passion for solving a specific industry problem, wanting control or a more flexible work-life balance, and being in the right place at the right time.
When asked the biggest motivation for starting their business, the most common answer was that they were following their vision (28 %), followed by finding an idea that allowed them to become an entrepreneur (21 %). The survey found that the most important traits for running a successful business are to have a passion for an idea (1st), to have a vision to succeed long-term after the business is launched (2nd) and a willingness and attitude to fail before you succeed and to take risks (3rd).
Investments in social media, SEO planned
Two in five WBOs said gaining more customers is their number one challenge – as it is to most businesses. So more than three-quarters plan to invest more in marketing, specifically social media (36%) and SEO (36%). Almost half (44%) believe that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing and many feel traditional marketing such as direct mail, email, and online ads will have less impact in the future.
When considering what marketing tactics currently have the greatest impact on a business’ bottom line, more than half (52 %) of respondents indicated that website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38 percent) and email marketing (25%). And WBOs indicated that LinkedIn (27 %) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26 percent), YouTube (18 %) and Twitter (17 %).
Here’s an infographic detailing the study findings: