Friday, August 19, 2011

Women Entrepreneurs

Women business owners are positive about their long-term business growth, says a new survey from PNC Financial Services Group, but nearly half of them favor intuition over analysis.

And twice as many cite "passion" - rather than financial success - as their reason for staying in business.

Passion is essential for small business success: The work is too hard and the hours are too long for anyone who is lackadaisical about entrepreneurship.

But while passion is a good element, I don't like to see 45 percent of women CEOs point to their passion for the company, while only 22 percent cite financial success as a primary motivator.

I learned one thing about entrepreneurship early on: Companies primarily exist to make money. (Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that men aren't so ambivalent about this point?)

Yes, you can have a double bottom-line. And I'm all for doing well by doing good.

But the key is this: Your company has to get to the point where it can do good. And that means it has to be healthy - able to pay its bills and its employees, turn a profit, and earn a solid ROI for you as owner. Once it gets to that point, the sky's the limit as to where your passion can take you.

Running a business as a hobby - for the passion, not the profit - will never allow you to get to that point. Women are smart enough to know that. I wonder if there's a reluctance to admit it? Here's the deal: There's no shame in being concerned about the bottom line.

Some more results from the survey:

. An overwhelming number of women, 8 out of 10, have said that economic volatility will not deter them from their professional ventures.

· Social Business: Only half (51 percent) of respondents use interactive online channels to promote their businesses. Of those who are using social networks, 40 percent use Facebook, 27 percent use LinkedIn and 13 percent use Twitter.

· Head v. Gut: When making business decisions, women are split between analysis and intuition. Fifty-five percent say they opt to analyze the situation, with 45 percent going with their intuition.

· Advice at home: When looking for professional advice, women owners consult their spouses most often (49 percent). Professional advisors (40 percent) and peers (30 percent) are also seen as valuable sources of information.

· Who you know: Nearly seven out of 10 (68 percent) are affiliated with at least one industry group or business organization. Chambers of commerce and national industry groups are the most popular.


  1. Very interesting post, Karen. Passion is great in the beginning, but no amount of passion will carry you through years of not making a profit.

    I wonder--are we magical thinkers? Or do most of the respondents have a husband's salary to fall back on? (Are my questions sexist?)

  2. Passion is essential, no doubt about it, but profit has to be the main goal or else you could be passionate working for someone else as the best employee ever. And you'd have far less hassle and risk that way.

    I don't have the answers to your questions, but I find them fascinating. Yes, some have a second income as a cushion, I'm sure, but not all. I'm still investigating this situation.