The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report has been released by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Web.com Group, Inc. According to the report, nearly nine out of 10 women business owners (87%) are optimistic about the economic outlooks for their businesses this year, which is a 12% increase over 2013 findings.
When asked what they consider to be very or somewhat important macro issues in 2014, two issues came out on top by a significant amount. Overall, 90% of the 606 women business owners who responded to the survey indicated that the state of the economy was one of their biggest “big picture” concerns followed by business tax issues (80%).
On a micro level, women business owners who responded to this survey identified several issues that they consider to be very or somewhat concerning for the next six months:
- Gaining new customers = 90%
- Generating positive cash flow = 84%
- Maintaining existing customers = 81%
- Keeping expenses in check = 81%
- State of the economy = 81%
In 2014, women business owners will invest more in marketing, customer service, and hiring but less in product and service enhancement. Key investment areas in 2014 were ranked by the survey respondents, and marketing came out on top with 78% of respondents stating that marketing would be a key investment for 2014. Customer service (68%), product and service enhancements (54%), and hiring (41%) were also identified as key investments for women business owners this year.
Where will those additional marketing investments go in 2014? Looking at online marketing tools, women business owners report that their 2014 investment plans will see an increase in spending on websites, social media, search engine optimization, mobile, and ecommerce. When asked which forms of online marketing are most important, 88% of women business owners stated that their websites are very important. Following are the 2014 marketing initiatives importance rankings as well as comparisons to data from the 2013 study:
- Website: 88% (up from 85% in 2013)
- Social media presence: 79% (up from 71% in 2013)
- Search engine optimization: 70% (up from 69% in 2013)
- Mobile presence: 58% (up from 44% in 2013)
- Ecommerce: 37% (up from 31% in 2013)
You can follow the link at the beginning of this article to read the complete 2014 report. Click the following link to learn more about the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.
Check out the infographic below for some of the highlights from the research study.
What do you think of the study results? Women business owners, what are your top concerns for 2014? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.