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Survey shows many women business owners align with micro business traits

Posted by Jason Keith  February 20, 2013 03:21 PM

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Optimism is a fickle thing and yet for some reason it's become a central metric when measuring the ups and downs of small business attitudes. It seems as though there has been no end to the amount of survey data coming out taking small business owner's temperature about all things borrowing, healthcare, hiring and revenue. It's talked about in terms of "optimism" and I've written before about what a slippery slope that really is. (hint: most small business owners are optimistic by default, meaning it's a flawed measurement tactic)

Last week an interesting survey was released by and the National Association of Women Business Owners. While it examined the "optimism" of Women Business Owners, that wasn't what stood out, at least to me. (Optimism was high with this group by the way, which isn't surprising.)

What was interesting was that the majority of respondents fit the traditional profile of micro business owners. Micro businesses, which are usually businesses with between 1-20 employees, often operate at different levels than "traditional" small businesses that number 100 employees or more. Their needs are different, they typically don't act like larger businesses, they're more agile and the people running them started the venture for a variety of reasons. However, a common trait is passion about what they do and how they operate a business.   

As the Small Business Administration continues to define what a small business really is (it's currently any business with less than 500 employees), data like this shows the gaps between how businesses of different sizes think and act, despite all being lumped into the "small" category. What is also interesting is that despite the gender of the business owner, the overall attitudes and behaviors of truly small businesses remain strikingly consistent. 

Some of the most interesting results from this particular survey included:

  • 78 percent did not seek a new or extended line of credit in the past year.
  • When asked what they see as their biggest challenge to running their business in 2013, 39 percent said that it was gaining new customers.
  • WBO's indicated that LinkedIn (27 percent) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26 percent), YouTube (18 percent) and Twitter (17 percent).
  • 44 percent predict that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing.
  • When asked to rank the key personality traits a woman needs to successfully run her own business, "Passion for the business idea" was No. 1.

For more, you can view the full infographic below. Are you surprised by the overall results or would you expect women business owners to (for the most part) have the same attitudes, challenges and passion that micro businesses on the whole have?

2013 -State-of-Women-Owned-Businesses-Survey Infographic.jpg

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Jason Keith has been working for and with small businesses in the New England area for more than 10 years, specifically small, micro businesses. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a former journalist, he provides a unique perspective on the issues facing small businesses locally and nationally.To reach him directly email

This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

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