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The State of Women-Owned Businesses, 2013

February 18th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

2013 might be the “Year of the Woman Entrepreneur,” if the findings of a new survey conducted by by Web.com Group Inc. and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is any indication. The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses survey found that the large majority of women business owners (WBOs) are optimistic about their business’ overall performance (81 percent) for the coming year, as well as about the broader economic outlook for the nation (74 percent).

What Keeps Women Business Owners Up at Night?

The top four issues worrying WBOs are the state of the economy (57 percent), health insurance cost and affordability (40 percent), business tax issues (36 percent) and access to a quality workforce (36 percent). WBOs plan to invest more (38 percent) or the same (54 percent) in hiring this year compared to 2012. Though two in five WBOs said that health insurance costs and affordability are important issues to them, many (71 percent) feel that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will have no impact upon the way they do business.

How Are Women Business Owners Finding Financing?

More than three quarters (78 percent) of WBOs did not seek a new or extended line of credit in the past year. Of these 78 percent, more than half (68 percent) say they didn’t need additional credit; the other 32 percent didn’t think they could obtain credit if they tried. Most WBOs financed their businesses through credit cards (45 percent), business earnings (40 percent) or private sources such as personal savings or contributions from family or friends (37 percent).

Who Should Become an Entrepreneur?

A whopping 85 percent of survey respondents predict that more women will start businesses this year than in the past. When asked why they started their business, the most common answer was that they were following their vision (28 percent), or because they found a good business idea (21 percent). Respondents say the most important traits needed for business success are a passion for an idea (1st), a vision to succeed long-term after the business is launched (2nd) and a willingness to take risks and fail (3rd).

How Are Women Business Owners Marketing Their Companies?

Finding new customers was the biggest challenge cited by 39 percent of WBOs; to land those customers, 73 percent say they will invest more in marketing in 2013. The top marketing tactics they’ll spend more on are social media marketing (36 percent) and search engine optimization (SEO) (36 percent). Some 44 percent of WBOs believe these methods are the future of small business marketing, while traditional approaches such as print and direct mail, online advertising and email marketing will be less important.

What Marketing Methods Matter Most?

Asked what marketing tactics have the most impact on their bottom line, more than half (52 percent) of respondents say website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38 percent) and email marketing (25 percent). Among social networking platforms, LinkedIn (27 percent) was named as the most valuable, followed by Facebook (26 percent), YouTube (18 percent) and Twitter (17 percent).

For full survey results and to view and share the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses infographic, visit www.web.com/community.

Image by Flickr user apdk (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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