Most Female Entrepreneurs Start Businesses From Scratch
Credit: Female executive image via Shutterstock

Women-owned startups are beginning to take the spotlight in the business world, but how do these female entrepreneurs feel about themselves as leaders? According to a new American Express OPEN survey, just over half of women business owners consider their performance to be successful.

The 2013 Mindset Survey, conducted by Ebiquity as part of OPEN's recent CEO BootCamp for Women event, looked at the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of U.S. female entrepreneurs based on a self-assessment questionnaire. Participants were asked to rank themselves in the three emergent themes addressed at CEO BootCamp: confidence, competence and connections.

While only 54 percent of the women said they felt their business performance was successful, 77 percent surveyed believed they were "excellent" in at least one area of their abilities. The top self-ranked areas of competence were: asking for what they need for business growth (82 percent), consistent focus on growing their business (72 percent) and having clear targets with budget plans to reach them (62 percent). Many female leaders appear to need improvement in negotiating, hiring and firing, working on their business instead of in it: Less than 30 percent of respondents rated themselves as "excellent" in these areas.

Although 85 percent of survey participants indicated that they rarely or never seek business advice from a formal board of advisers, 67 percent regularly turn to family and friends for guidance and nearly three-quarters believe that a mentor's experience and perspective is the most valuable benefit they could receive.

OPEN's survey also explored the respondents' path to entrepreneurship. The majority (74 percent) started their businesses from scratch, while 16 percent purchased or inherited their companies. More than one-third of women became entrepreneurs in order to be their own boss, and 15 percent launched their startups because the market presented itself. The top two motivations for women to continue their businesses are having control over their careers (59 percent) and making more money (53 percent).

The survey results were based on the responses of 300 U.S. female owners of companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.