WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A national survey of women business owners (WBOs) conducted by Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWWW) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) found a pervasive sense of economic optimism, including a prediction by most WBOs (85 percent) that more women will become entrepreneurs in 2013 than in past years. WBOs also plan to invest more (38 percent) or the same (54 percent) in hiring this year than they did in 2012 – a positive sign for the economy.
2013, the Year of the Female Entrepreneur The State of Women-Owned Businesses survey found that the large majority of WBOs were optimistic about their business' overall performance (81 percent) for the year ahead. They were also optimistic, though slightly less so, about the broader economic outlook (74 percent) in 2013.
"The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey reveals that even in these tough economic times, women entrepreneurs are optimistic about business opportunities for the year ahead," said NAWBO President, Diane L. Tomb. "This survey informs us of the challenges and opportunities facing NAWBO members as well as women business owners in general. At NAWBO we will strive to address these issues on behalf of all women entrepreneurs."
The survey also uncovered serious challenges facing WBOs, including the need to reach new customers. Web.com and NAWBO developed the survey to better understand the state of women entrepreneurship, including: women business owners' (WBO) motivations for starting their businesses, what business challenges they face, what and how micro- and macroeconomic factors impact their businesses, what investment plans they have for the year ahead and what public policy issues are of greatest concern.
What Keeps Women Business Owners Up at Night? With regard to public policy matters, the top four issues on the minds of WBOs are: the state of the economy (57 percent), health insurance cost and affordability (40 percent), business tax issues (36 percent), and access to a quality workforce (36 percent). Though two in five WBOs said that health insurance costs and affordability are important issues to them, many (71 percent) feel that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") will have no impact upon the way they do business.
Financing Options to Meet Business Capital Needs More than three quarters (78 percent) of WBOs did not seek a new or extended line of credit in the past year. Of these 78 percent, more than half (68 percent) indicated they did not want additional credit in the first place, and the others (32 percent) did not think they could get credit if they tried. Most WBOs financed their businesses through credit cards (45 percent), business earnings (40 percent), or private sources such as personal savings or contributions from family or friends (37 percent).
Who Should Become an Entrepreneur? Survey respondents assert that women start their own businesses for a variety of reasons, including: having a vision for a business idea or a passion for solving a specific industry problem, wanting control or a more flexible work-life balance, and being in the right place at the right time. When asked the biggest motivation for starting their business, the most common answer was that they were following their vision (28 percent), followed by finding an idea that allowed them to become an entrepreneur (21 percent). The survey found that the most important traits for running a successful business are to have a passion for an idea (1st), to have a vision to succeed long-term after the business is launched (2nd) and a willingness and attitude to fail before you succeed and to take risks (3rd).
Finding New Customers through Online Investments and Social Media Marketing When asked what they see as their biggest challenge to running their business in 2013, nearly two in five (39 percent) of WBOs said that it was gaining new customers. To gain customers, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing in 2013. Specifically, they will invest in social media marketing (36 percent) and search engine optimization (SEO) (36 percent). This is not surprising, as nearly half (44 percent) predict that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing. Conversely, WBOs anticipated that traditional outreach approaches, including print and direct mail (1.6 percent), online advertising (4.4 percent) and email marketing (6.2 percent), will have less impact on small business marketing in the future.
When considering what marketing tactics currently have the greatest impact on a business' bottom line, more than half (52 percent) of respondents indicated that website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38 percent) and email marketing (25 percent). And WBOs indicated that LinkedIn (27 percent) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26 percent), YouTube (18 percent) and Twitter (17 percent).
"Women business owners are laser focused on reaching new customers, and their strategy for doing so is focused on improving their businesses' online presence," said Web.com Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Roseann Duran. "This is great news for time-strapped consumers, as they can expect to have an improved and more socially engaged online experience with many of their favorite businesses in 2013."
The State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey Infographic For full survey results and to view and share the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses infographic, visit www.web.com/community.
Monday, February 11 "Ask the Experts" Tweetchat Join Web.com's Roseann Duran and NAWBO's Diane L. Tomb for the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses tweetchat (#wgbiz #WBOchat) today to further discuss the survey findings and the issues that face WBOs today.
Methodology The survey was conducted online within 552 NAWBO members between December 14, 2012 and January 4, 2013. For complete survey methodology, please contact Lab42 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Web.com Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWWW) is a leading provider of online marketing for small businesses. Web.com meets the needs of small businesses anywhere along their lifecycle by offering a full range of online services and support, including domain name registration services, website design, logo design, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and local sales leads, email marketing, general contractor leads, franchise and homeowner association websites, shopping cart software, eCommerce website design and call center services. For more information on the company, please visit http://www.web.com.
About NAWBO Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of America's more than 10 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries. NAWBO develops programs that help navigate women entrepreneurs thought the various stages of their business growth.
Note to Editors: Web.com is a registered trademark of Web.com Group, Inc.
Susan Datz Edelman
Web.com (Nasdaq: WWWW)
Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Public Policy and Public Relations
SOURCE Web.com; National Association of Women Business Owners