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Lead Your Team Women in Business

Men Start Businesses to Make Money...Women Have Other Reasons

women bosses . / Credit: Dreamstime.com

The jury's still out as to whether women truly are more successful business owners than men, but a new survey shows that many women feel that way.  According to a new survey, 91 percent of female small business owners say their business is successful based on how they feel their business is operating right now. Just 80 percent of male small business owners shared their optimism.

"These findings align with the measured approach we see in many of our own female customers," said Janice Co, vice president of strategy and chief marketing officer for The Hartford's small commercial insurance unit. "As women realize they've built successful businesses, they tend to sharpen their focus on protecting their accomplishments against future uncertainty."

To that end, 55 percent of women rated themselves as conservative in their overall decision making process,compared with 47 percent of men. According to the Small Business Pulse survey, conducted by The Hartford, 80 percent of female business owners also felt that they would have been more successful if they had taken more risks. Just fewer than 70 percent of men shared their sentiment. 

Part of the reason for women's differing perspective on their success may be that many of them had different reasons for starting their businesses in the first place. According to another new research finding, women are more likely to go into business on their own to make a difference, while men are more likely to be concerned about potential profits when starting a business. 

The study, which examined why people started their businesses, found that women are 1.17 times more likely than men to create social ventures than economic ventures, and women are 1.23 times more likely to pursue environmental ventures than economic focused ventures.

That research was done by Diana Hechevarria, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati, and co-authors Amy Ingram, an assistant professor at Clemson University, Rachida Justo, a professor at the IE Business School in Madrid, and Siri Terjesen, an assistant professor at Indiana University.

[10 Businesses You Didn't Know Were Started By Women]

Regardless of the reason for going into business, women reported several significant barriers to future success. The biggest challenge, according to female business owners, was the increased costs of doing business. Half of all female business owners felt that was the largest barrier to their business. Almost 40 percent of female business owners also feel that government rules and regulations were a major barrier to their business, while 35 percent of called cash flow a challenge. Lack of customers, finding and retaining the right talent and access to credit were other significant challenges for female business owners. 

A majority of both women and men feel that local and state governments have the biggest role in improving business. Overall, 53 percent of women and 64 percent of men are optimistic about the future of their business.

"Our research suggests that efforts to help small business owners should be addressed on all fronts," Co said. "Resources are needed at every level to foster small business success, from local organizations serving as advocates on behalf of small business in the community, to policies in Washington that make taxes easy to understand."

The information in this survey is based on the responses of 1,004 small businesses owners with less than 100 employees. The sample consisted of 271 women and 733 men.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.