Women are a driving force in the business world, despite facing unique challenges. Bank of America conducts an annual study of women entrepreneurs to explore what the top challenges are, as well as the goals women in business are striving for.
The recent 2018 Women Business Owner Spotlight quizzed women on three key areas: their outlook on the economy, the role of tech in driving business growth, and the realities of being able to access capital for their business. Here are the key highlights from this year’s report.
Women are vanguards with tech adoption.
When it comes to embracing tech’s possibilities, women entrepreneurs lead the way.
- 33% of women use mobile devices to process digital financial transactions, versus 26% of men
- 71% of women are comfortable accepting mobile payments from customers, compared to 65% of men
- 44% of women manage their business social media updates through their mobile devices, versus 33% of men
Women in business are also more likely than men to use mobile devices to issue customer refunds, pay their employees, and handle hiring tasks than men.
They’re not stopping there, either. When it comes to advanced tech, 42% of women say they’re interested in or already using innovative tech in their business, such as the Internet of Things, data analytics, 3D printing, and virtual reality.
Access to capital is still a roadblock.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest struggles women business owners face is raising capital.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, men outstrip women in getting startup funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, and banks. When women do apply for financing, they’re less likely than men to receive the full amount they requested.
In the Women Business Owner Spotlight study, 61% of women entrepreneurs say getting their business off the ground was more difficult than it was for male business owners they know. Sixty-eight percent believe it’s harder for women to get the capital they need.
There is a silver lining, however: 84% say that access to capital has improved for female entrepreneurs over the last decade.
The future looks bright.
A strong economy has given women business owners a major confidence boost, with 58% expecting their revenues to increase in the year ahead. That’s a jump of 14% over 2017’s Women Business Owner Spotlight study.
Looking towards the long-term, 49% of women entrepreneurs expect their local economy to improve and 48% expect the national economy to hold steady.
Women business owners do have some concerns, however. Here’s what tops the list:
- 78% are worried about health care costs
- 55% are worried about the strength of the U.S. dollar
- 52% are worried about consumer spending dropping off
- 37% are worried about access to credit
Overall, women entrepreneurs are forward-thinking and self-assured. While capital and financing continue to challenge women in business, they’re optimistic about what’s to come.