CLEVELAND, Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, in honor of National Women in Small Business month, Key4Women®, a community network dedicated to helping entrepreneurial and professional women succeed in business, released the findings of a new Key4Women® Confidence Poll. The poll surveyed 220 women business leaders to better understand their perspectives on making high-level financial and strategic decisions for their companies. The survey explored confidence and optimism, growth goals, barriers to success and actions that help women in business thrive.
Overall, women business leaders are highly confident about the year ahead. Seventy-one percent of women surveyed are highly optimistic they will achieve their goals in the next 12 months, both personally and professionally. Among Millennial women, confidence is even higher, with three-in-four (76 percent) feeling highly optimistic about the future.
When it comes to factors that most influence women's positive outlook, not surprisingly, the health of the U.S. economy ranked number one among 64 percent of respondents. Business cash flow (57 percent) and the ability to hire good people (56 percent) came in second and third, respectively. Surprisingly, tax reform, trade and healthcare costs did not rank among the top influences.
Additionally, 95 percent of women business owners plan to grow or expand their business activities within the next two years and are "very" or "extremely" confident about their ability to succeed in managing conflict (82 percent), conducting negotiations (81 percent), handling accounting and finances (80 percent) and obtaining credit (77 percent).
Despite a high degree of optimism, more than four-in-10 women business leaders (44 percent) "often" or "always" worry about business failure. Coping mechanisms women leverage include rolling up their sleeves and working harder (49 percent); focusing on what's in their control (44 percent); talking to a colleague, friend or family member (43 percent); and speaking with their financial advisor (40 percent).
"Women business leaders continue to face barriers to success," said Barb Smith, Director of Key4Women®. "Gender bias, unfortunately, is a problem that most women (65 percent) have faced at some point in their careers and for nearly three-in-10 women in business, gender bias is among the top three challenges preventing them from accessing the funding they need to scale."
Respondents perceive gender barriers in business are due to the lack of equity in politics/government (59 percent), media portrayals of women in business (46 percent), implicit male bias (45 percent) and implicit female bias (35 percent). However, of those who have experienced gender bias, eight-in-10 women mitigate gender barriers in business by working harder (38 percent), networking with business women (29 percent) and joining business organizations (24 percent). In fact, seventy-eight percent report that networking is important for the success of their business.
To celebrate Women in Small Business Month this October, KeyBank invites the public to join Key4Women® in combatting gender bias in business and celebrating the many faces of #RealLifeBosses. Throughout October, share a photo of women in leadership positions who have influenced your career using #RealLifeBosses on social media and join KeyBank in showing the world what #RealLifeBosses look like.
For more information about the Key4Women® program, please visit https://www.key.com/small-business/services/key4women/overview.jsp.
Since 2005, Key4Women® has supported women leaders and entrepreneurs through advocacy, connections and empowerment to help their careers and businesses thrive. The Key4Women® program is uniquely focused on introducing women business leaders to a network of likeminded professionals—both men and women; providing customized financial wellness and business development resources; and offering a platform to discuss overarching trends women experience in the workplace.
KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $137.8 billion at June 30, 2018. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,200 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.