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.
I assume the people surveyed were all women, but I think these stats would be about the same for men, no? I’m trying to glean some insight pertaining specifically to women in business but I’m not sure how best to interpret this…doesn’t everyone want more customers? I know I do!
Susan Gunelius says
The survey respondents were 606 women business owners. I think it’s certainly fair to say that everyone wants more customers, so I agree with you that the statistic related to finding new customers isn’t shocking. I think the more interesting thing to look out is the ranking of what women business owners are most concerned about (the full list is in the report) and comparing this data (and all of the results) to the 2013 data (link provided in the post). Overall, I think the most compelling piece of data is the increase of 12% in optimism in their businesses over 2013 results. Despite all of the business challenges, women business owners still remain optimistic. It’s inspiring.
I would say if we are not optimistic, we are in for a rough ride. In any case, I’m glad (of course) to see more women business owners – since my work revolves around helping new entrepreneurs start their companies. I look forward to reading the whole report!