Female entrepreneurs could give a much needed boost to the UK economy, a survey for Intuit, makers of QuickBooks financial management software for small businesses, has found.
Despite the gloomy economic conditions, one in five women business owners (22%), say they plan to take on more staff in the next 12 months. Of those, 8% intend to hire one new employee, another 8% intend to hire two to five employees and 6% intend to hire more than six employees within the next 12 months.
With an estimated 620,000 majority women owned small business in the UK this would create more than 360,000 new jobs over the next 12 months.
The Intuit survey also revealed a strong entrepreneurial appetite from women who are not yet running their own business. Almost half (49%) of all women surveyed were interested in setting up a business in the future, and 23% of prospective female business owners are planning to launch their new venture in the next year.
The top motivations for women to set up a business were flexible working hours (57%), being their own boss (48%) and working from home (45%). Looking ahead, 47% of female entrepreneurs think there is no ideal time in life to start up your own business – you can start it at anytime as long as you have a great business idea.
Samantha Mayne is an entrepreneur and small business owner in Teddington. She set up TriAdventure, an adventure based events company in 2009. She said:
"It's been a lot of hard work, but now the risk has paid off and the business is doing well. We have ambitious plans to grow the company in the next 3 to 5 years, and I hope to hire someone else in the next couple of years. There's no right or wrong time to start a business, as long as you've got a great business idea and the motivation to make it work, I'd say to go for it!"
Pernille Bruun-Jensen, managing director, Intuit UK said:
"If there was ever a time to bring the 'she-economy' to the UK, now is it. With so many women wanting to be their own boss and fit work around their busy lives, there is an army of would-be entrepreneurs out there who could help drive the UK economic recovery. The Federation of Small Business says that if we had the same level of female entrepreneurship as the US, there would be an extra 600,000 women-owned businesses here, adding £42 billion to the UK economy. But while almost half of women in the UK say they would like to run their own business, only about 8% actually do. It is clear we need to do more to encourage these business savvy women and give the British economy a much needed helping hand."
How can budding entrepreneurs turn their dream into a reality? Intuit offers these five tips for getting started:
1. Don't let fear stop you. Starting a business can be scary even if you have a well-researched and viable idea. Whether it's simply fear of failure or fear of the unknown, this is a key barrier that stops women from opening a business. Don't let it stop you!
2. Count your money. You may need to finance your business with your savings. Make sure you know how much money you have and how much you can put toward the business.
3. Find holes in your idea. There's no better time to find weaknesses in your business idea than before you've started the business. Ask your friends and family for honest feedback so that you can fine-tune your idea to make sure that it holds up in the real world.
4. Put it on paper. Do write a business plan. A business plan helps you think about every possible scenario before starting your business. Going through this process and having it on paper will help you stay on target.
5. Keep an eye on the cash. Sometimes even the greatest business ideas can fail due to a simple lack of readily available cash. It's vital to be aware of how much is being spent and for what, and the easiest way to do this is to have an automated financial management tool in place which tracks money going in and out from the start.
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