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MYOB survey lays bare Kiwi women's SMB goals

05 Nov 15

Kiwi women are setting up their own businesses to take control of their own destiny and enjoy greater flexibility according to a new report from MYOB - but it's not all a bed of roses, with 20% expecting to see revenue decline in the next 12 months.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor survey of business owners and operators around New Zealand shows the desire to ‘control my own destiny’ was a key reason for 38% of the female business owners surveyed starting their own business.

A need for flexibility in a role doing what they wanted, when they wanted (35%) and a desire for a total lifestyle change (29%) also ranked highly.

‘Because I am passionate about what I do’ (28% and so they could spend more time with family (20%) rounded out the top five.

Those desires appear to being fulfilled with 64% of women business owners surveyed reporting that they are happy with their work/life balance. Just 18% said they were dissatisfied.

Natalie Feehan, MYOB general manager of group marketing, says while establishing a profitable, growing business is a key goal, it is clearly not the sole driver for women entrepreneurs, who also value improving their lifestyle and having more time for family and friends.

When it comes to their top five aspirations and goals for their business, making money and having flexibility for family, holidays and so forth topped the list for female entrepreneurs, at 34%.

Working on things they were passionate about (18%), growing their business and making a good income (16%) and ‘it is more a semi-retirement (9%) also featured.

The desire to create a family business to leave to their children was noted by 8% of survey respondents.

“Women are re-shaping the way business is done in New Zealand, while making a significant contribution to the economy,” says Feehan.

“From the Business Monitor survey and the business owners who have contributed to the report such as Sarah Lin from Idea Beans, we see that women are focused on growth, and they are doing so in a way that allows them to achieve a better work/life balance,” she says.

Adds Sarah Lin: “For women in any industry, if you really have a passion for what you do, just go for it and start your own business – you have just as much chance for success as anyone else.”

Staff investment, profitability

Maintaining a trend highlighted in previous MYOB Women in Business reports, women are also more likely to be investing in their staff, with 22% intending to pay more in wages and salaries over the next 12 months, compared to the SME average of 20%.

Employment intentions are lower however, with just 6% planning to increase the number of full time staff and 10% the number of part time employees, compared with 9% and 11% respectively for all SMEs).

Alongside lower employment intentions, the number of women SME operators reporting a fall in revenue has increased slightly over the last six months from 21% to 25%.

Confidence in an improved revenue performance in the year ahead has also dropped, with just 31% of women business owners optimistic, down from 36% in March, and 20% now expecting to see a decline in revenue in the next 12 months – double the previous report’s figure.

Those in the retail sector have the highest confidence of improved revenue in the year ahead (45%), while women working in the primary industries are most likely to be forecasting a fall in revenue (30%).

Feehan says the growing influence of women in the largest area of local business – the SME sector – is becoming increasingly significant.

“It is allowing New Zealand to benefit from greater diversity, new innovation and a responsive and dynamic platform for twenty-first century business,” she says.