Financial hurdles hit female business owners 

Cash flow, time management, and staffing issues are the main difficulties faced by female business owners, research reveals.

Reed Commercial has conducted a OnePoll survey of 100 female business owners that reveals a split in this particular demographic, with half having no business problems and the other half struggling with a range of financial issues.

Almost half of the respondents say money worries and cash flow problems had caused difficulties for them and their business. The majority of these respondents say these issues had impacted mainly during the early days of setting up the business, with some claiming the recession, nearby competition, and fluctuations in workloads have all affected their business’s cash flow.

Another respondent finds paying for equipment and wages before get paid for their work led to cash flow issues. For example, if they pay suppliers within 30 days, pay the wages on a weekly basis but have invoice terms of 60 days (as set out by their main customer), it can be very difficult to balance the books.

The respondents’ financial concerns do not end with cash flow, according to the survey. Some respondents say budgeting, funding issues and problems with mortgage applications had put pressure on their financial affairs.

Staffing is also cited as a key concern, with 10 per cent of respondents claiming they have issues finding reliable, and competent staff to help manage their business.

The survey highlights the successes of female business owners as well. Almost 50 per cent of respondents claim they had not faced any issues when setting up and running their business. Of the responses given, only a tiny proportion, less than 3 per cent, say intangible difficulties, such as stress or isolation, had caused issues for their business.

Finding the time

Time management and long working hours are further difficulties identified by more than 10 per cent of the respondents. This, coupled with a lack of understanding and empathy of the business owner lifestyle, can be difficult to manage, according to the research.

One female business owner says, ‘Most people are trained to fit into the 40/40/40 plan. Work for 40 hours a week, 40 years of your life and then live off 40 per cent of what you make. When we have been conditioned that way for decades, it is very hard (even for your closest friends and family) to understand why you would leave a well-paid job for an uncertain business venture.’

She adds, ‘In addition, it is hard to find like-minded people. I haven’t completely overcome this issue but I am working towards it by remembering that I am not alone, and there are people out there that are looking for what I have to offer, I just have to find them.”

Further reading on female entrepreneurship

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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