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In light of the significant job losses resulting from the 2008 economic recession, there has been an intense focus on boosting small business as a way to stimulate job growth. Yet, it’s becoming more evident that many of the issues plaguing the American workforce are also impacting the small business industry. According to the Small Business Administration, as of 2010 there were 27 million small business firms in the U.S. and approximately 2.3 million have more than four employees. However, 22 million of those firms are non-employer firms – better known as solo or micro entrepreneurs – with combined gross receipts of $950 billion.
This figure looks impressive as a whole, but when you divide the average revenue among 22 million small businesses, the typical “non-employer business” made approximately $43,000 in gross receipts. Conversely, when you analyze the slice of the pie for women-owned small businesses, the numbers are much lower. There are a number of reasons why solo and micro entrepreneurial women are not achieving higher revenues in their businesses, but it's certainly not from lack of hard work and passion.
Women-owned small businesses, particularly solo and micro entrepreneurs, add tremendous value to the U.S. economy and we’re an important source of competition globally. The statistics tell the story:
Additionally, the advancements in mobile technology and social media are leveling the playing field allowing solo and micro entrepreneurs to compete with their larger company counterparts. However, there’s still considerable room for improvement and we have to do better! Going into 2013, we have to make sure that those who make up the heart and soul of our economy –solo and micro women entrepreneurs – receive earnings that are proportionate to our contribution.
Subsequently, just like the U.S. pathway to job creation, the path to increasing profitability for women small business owners is wrought with challenges. Working with no staff or a small staff, limited time and a constrained budget, small business owners must find a way to balance the development and marketing of their ideas with the speed of the information age. Market and customer needs are continuously shifting and the size and pace of the information and services available all across the world to meet those needs creates fierce competition for solo entrepreneurs.
The shelf life of the current knowledge and specialization for most small business owners is already close to expiration. We now live in a “knowledge economy” where our skills inevitably lose their relevance and niche abilities may be difficult to apply as opportunities and technologies evolve. Whether you have a product or service-based small business, it is also important for you to be able to see across market sectors and connect the dots between how innovations in one industry can be applied to another.
Economists and business leaders both agree that the solution to sustaining a small business and increasing profitability for entrepreneurs is ongoing and more specifically tailored development of core business skills. This will help to keep your business on the front lines moving into the future. In order for women to compete, remain relevant, and earn more in 2013 and beyond, we must pursue training to obtain ADVANCED BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE and consistently focus on ways to INNOVATE our products and services.
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