“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson, founder of The Peace Alliance
It’s no secret that, historically, more women choose to leave the workforce than men. Traditionally these females were returning to their homes to raise their children. However, a new trend shows that although these women are leaving the corporate world, they are in no way throwing in the business towel. Entrepreneurship is on the rise for women, and Forbes contributor Natalie MacNeil suggests that this movement is here to stay.
In the last 20 years, women have started businesses at a higher rate than their male counterparts. What’s more, these are often home-based small businesses or micro businesses with fewer than five employees. In fact, it is projected that of the 9.72 million small business jobs to be created by 2018, women will be providing more than half of these opportunities.
Even through the tough recession, woman small business owners were resilient and adaptive. This is not to say that it wasn’t a struggle, almost half of female-owned businesses have not yet reached their pre-recession sales, but they did survive. The National Federation of Independent Business recently released a report outlining the strategies women employed to make it through the recession. Key takeaways for Westchester business owners from the study are as follows:
- Cost control: This strategy was used by 45% of women-owned businesses (WOBs).
- Social Media Usage: Whereas only 4% of WOBs were using social media before the recession, now half are employing social media in their marketing efforts. What’s more, 56% found social media to be “important” or “very important” to their business.
- Community Involvement: During this time, we saw an increase in community involvement in civic, social and school activities from 39% of WOBs.
- Asking for Help: Women tended to ask for help starting a small business.
It’s great to hear that so many women are making it as entrepreneurs, despite the recent recession, but why are they leaving the workplace to begin with? According to the Guardian Life Index, one key cause is office politics. Women are not content to put in long hours and maneuver their way through corporate politics to perform work that they don’t find fulfilling. Therefore, they “start businesses that align with [their] personal values.” Furthermore, this allows for the flexible scheduling that many women crave. This is especially true for female millennials who yearn for independence.
There are numerous organizations focused on helping female entrepreneurs develop networks and gain valuable knowledge from successful business women. Though these networks are essential, female Westchester business owners are advised to consider mentorship from all sources, whether they are male or female. In fact, working with a SCORE Westchester small business coach or mentor will give you varied perspectives and round out your blind spots.