Helen Reddy said it best in the 70s: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore…” The 70s may have had some bad clothes and disco music, but the 70s also opened the door for women, and in many ways, became the Decade of The Woman.
Women have become empowered over the last 30 to 40 years in wide variety of ways, but one of the biggest ways women have become empowered is through business ownership.
The statistics on woman-owned businesses are impressive and empowering enough on their own:
Women In Business:
- As of 2008, there were 10.1 million firms owned by women. (Ownership is defined as owning 50% or more of a company.)
- These businesses employ over 13 million people, and (as of 2008) had generated $1.9 trillion in sales.
- Women-owned businesses make up over 40% of all privately held companies.
- One in five companies reporting revenue in excess of $1 million is a woman-owned business.
- 3% of businesses owned by women report revenue of $1 million or more.
- According to score.org, 69% of women are more likely to seek business advice than their male counterparts. Only 47% of men will seek advice. (Does this really surprise anyone, give the whole “men won’t ask for directions” thing?!)
- Women-owned business have been growing at twice the rate of all U.S. companies.
Women Of Color And Business Ownership:
- Women of color owned 1.9 million businesses in 2008.
- These businesses generate $165 billion in revenue annually, and employee 1.2 million people.
- Between 2002 and 2008, women of color owned businesses grew more quickly than any other privately held companies.
Clearly, women are a very entrepreneurial group! Studies have long shown that women are capable multi-taskers, effective problem solvers, creative in approaches to many aspects of daily life, and are often the financial planners at home. These unique skills have lent themselves beautifully to the empowerment of women through business ownership.
Women often create successful businesses because they have identified a need through a specific set of circumstances. Women have created hair care products specifically due to the lack of products they want or need and can’t find. Mother’s Helpers and Home Fairies came about because women have long wished that “they had a wife.” Niche businesses developed for women by women are hugely successful simply because women identify with other women on a very specific level.
There are many opportunities in today’s market for an enterprising woman to develop her own business, big or small.
In an article by ask.org, these six start-up business ideas were marked as “Hot Markets For Small Businesses:”
- eBay drop-off sites
- Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing
- Performance Apparel
- Niche Health and Fitness
- Technology Security Consulting
- Service/Products For the Hispanic Market
However, the list for starting your own business is virtually endless. Take a look around you and see if there is a business need that can be filled.
Other ideas for women-owned businesses include:
- Free-lance article writing for online business promotions
- Gourmet Food production and sales (Think Mrs. Field’s cookies!)
- Personalized Gift Basket Sales
- Resume Writing
- Virtual Assistant
- Pet Sitters
- Web Design
- Graphic Design
- Online Affiliate Marketing
- Internet Marketing Mentoring and Coaching
Many of these business ideas can be started with little working capital. Not all businesses take a large investment for start-up costs. Many of the ideas listed above can be done from home with no employees and no overhead costs such as rent, insurance, additional utilities, etc. And, many work-from-home businesses are entitled to a tax break because you are using your home as an office.
If starting your own business is appealing to you, or starting your own home-based business is an idea you’d like to turn into a reality, then pick a direction, research what you would need to get you started, and join the millions of other women who have been empowered through business ownership!
There really is something to that “I am woman, hear me roar,” song. Thanks, Helen Reddy!