In the U.S., approximately 40 percent of small business owners are women. And they’re optimistic about the future. Sixty-six percent of respondents in a recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey believe that women will own more small businesses than men in the next 20 years. What can we do to get there? It may start with closing the confidence gap.
Says Margaret Donnell, chief marketing officer of Capital One’s Small Business Bank, “We have pretty clear evidence around us. We've seen studies out in media, I certainly have, that document a wage gap between men and women. It means that women don't always have as much money as men because of that earning power. It also means that their confidence could have been eroded over time, and so I think there's a lot we can do to lift each other up, and men as allies can lift women up, to help them feel confident and go after getting into business.”
A lack of confidence can play a crucial part in risk aversion, ultimately hindering our ability to not just strike out on our own and launch a new venture, but also do what it takes to grow.
According to Capital One’s Small Business Growth Index, 63 percent of female business owners report that current business conditions are “good or excellent,” up from 58 percent last year, whereas men jumped from 46 percent to the low sixties. But despite feeling more positive about their businesses than their male counterparts, female business owners are more hesitant to take big swings and heavily invest in their companies. According to the same Capital One report, 75 percent of men are likely to hire in the next year, compared to 63 percent of women.
So should we be swinging for the fences more? Donnell has a personal rule of thumb for major decision-making that forces her to reconsider risk-taking, and that is asking herself: “What would a male counterpart in my exact position do?”
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