More than half of UK’s female micro business owners expect annual growth in 2016. Over six in ten expect their business to do better financially in 2016 according to Vistaprint’s Women-owned Micro Businesses Trend Report* released today, which studied female entrepreneurs in both the UK and US. And despite the many challenges and long working hours, 83% of UK female MBO’s would recommend starting their own business to other women, whilst 59% believe they now have the same or even more opportunities than men to run a successful company.
On both sides of the Atlantic women micro-business owners have a rosy outlook with 77% of Millennials expecting growth, as compared to 67% of Gen Xers and 52% of Baby Boomers. The lower expectations for Baby Boomers is driven by their business strategy of maintaining their business at its current size over the next five years (32%). 11% indicated that they are preparing to sell the business or close it down, compared to 0% of Millennials and 3% of Gen Xers.
The report also highlights the importance of community and peer to peer support. In order to reach their desired level of success, 49% of UK female MBO’s prefer to look to business owners like themselves for advice and inspiration, rather than well-known, high flying business people. Whilst over half do admire globally known business leaders including JK Rowling (38%), Richard Branson (30%) and Jamie Oliver (21%), four in ten agreed that they don’t aspire to achieve their amount of business success. In fact, only a third of female MBOs stated that they started their business to make money, citing following their passion (43%) and taking control of their lives (48%) forming the top two reasons.
59% of UK women MBO’s believe that women currently have the same or more opportunities as men to be successful at running a micro business. Nevertheless, even in this environment, 35% of female MBO’s say they have encountered some level of gender discrimination and stereotyping in business.
However, the financial difficulties that women face when opening a small or micro-business is still one of the biggest challenges they have to deal with. 50% listed limited access to funding as the top issue they face. Around two thirds (67%) of women MBO’s indicated that they need additional support to tackle issues as a business owner including tax incentives or credit (33%), advice from other micro business owners (33%) and more networking or mentoring opportunities (34%)
One in five respondents claim their entire household income stems from their micro-business, proving how important the sustained success of their venture is to their overall livelihood. 70% of UK female entrepreneurs made less than £35,000 revenue in 2015 and 11% did not generate any income from their small businesses. This resulted in 51% of UK respondents claiming to not earn enough through their business to support themselves.
Laura Tenison, Founder and CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé comments: “The study carried out by Vistaprint is encouraging; growing numbers of female-launched companies have sprung up and they expect to do better financially in 2016. However, there also appears to be a lot of talk that women-run businesses are stilted by lack of funding and ambition. I would suggest confidence and fear of failure is the strongest reason for women run companies not growing to the next level. My advice would be: ask for additional support if you need it, whether it is financially or in any other area. It will give the shot of confidence to move to the next level.”
Trynka Shineman, President of Vistaprint adds: “That female micro-business owners remain mostly optimistic about the future of their ventures in the face of so many really tough challenges proves what incredibly talented, resourceful and resilient individuals they are. Microbusinesses are vital to the economy but are too often the unsung heroes of the business world. Our trend report shines a light on their inspiring achievements and helps to uncover the key areas of support that they require in order to grow. At Vistaprint, our goal is to use research like this to continue innovating our solutions to equip micro business owners with what they need to achieve their business dreams.”