The future is bright for female micro-business owners in the UK, as over six in ten expect their business to do better financially this year.
Despite facing many challenging and long working hours, 83% of female Micro Business Owners (MBOs) would recommend other women to start their own business.
The majority (59%) believe they now have the same or even more opportunities than man to run a successful company, according to Vistaprint’s Women-owned Micro Businesses Trend Report.
In the study of female entrepreneurs in the UK and US, on both sides of the Atlantic women MBO’s 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%). Eleven per cent 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.
Only a third of female MBOs stated they started their business to make money, citing following their passion (43%) and taking control of their lives (48%) forming the top two reasons.
Over half 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. Half of women listed limited access to funding as the top issue they face and 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%).
Laura Tenison, founder and CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé said the results are encouraging but has concerns over women’s funding difficulties.
She added: “There 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.”
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.
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”.