Today marks Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2015 and according to the American Express OPEN Holiday Growth Pulse survey, female entrepreneurs are gearing up for growth more than their male counterparts.
“The holiday season is the ultimate multi-tasking moment of the year in addition to all of the hats women have to wear as business owners throughout the year and that really plays to women’s strengths. The more balls women have in the air to juggle, the better they perform,” Alice Bredin, small business advisor to American Express OPEN, said in an interview with TNJ Senior Editor Sergie Willoughby.
The survey is based on 1,000 small businesses with $250,000 or more in annual revenues and fewer than 100 employees and found that a strong majority of women-owned business (82%) see growth as the top priority for their businesses, compared to compared to 76% for male-owned businesses.
In addition, female business owners are optimistic about 2015 holiday sales as more than half expect sales to be the same (55%) or better (38%) than last year. Despite strong sales forecasts, 72% of women-owned firms are not planning to hire additional staff during the holidays. However, women will be more generous to their clients and employees this holiday season:
Holiday Gift-Giving and Bonuses
More than two-thirds (68%) of women business owners will spend money on holiday gifts for clients or customers this holiday season. Compared to last year, 65% plan to spend the same amount this year, 23% plan to spend more and 13% plan to spend less (vs. just 7% of men). On average, they will spend a total of $3,630 nearly half of what men plan to spend $6,920.
Women business owners will be rewarding employees in a variety of ways this holiday season. More than half (57%) plan to host a holiday party, while 46% plan to give gifts. For those planning to host a holiday party, the average amount they expect to spend is $1,650. Sixty-eight percent say this amount is similar to what they spent last year and 22% say they will spend more than last year (while only 10% plan to spend less).
Women business owners are more likely than men to give bonuses to employees (56% vs. 43% of men). When it comes to the size of the bonus, 57% of women (vs. 42% of men) indicate that their employees can expect something equivalent to “a small stocking stuffer” (less than 5% of annual salary), 21% (vs, 26% of men) expect to give a gift “too large to fit in the stocking” (5 to 15% of salary) and 17% (vs. 27% of men) say their employees should expect “a lump of coal” (no bonus at all). Only 5% (identical to men) will give staff the “gift of their dreams” (more than 15% of their salary).
Comparing the bonuses they will give this year to last year, forty-six percent of female business owners (vs. 35% of men) say they will not be giving larger employee bonuses this holiday season while fewer women (37%, vs. 47% of men) say they will give larger bonuses.
“Many small retailers have a positive outlook on the upcoming holiday season and see it as an opportunity for growth in 2016,” said Janey Whiteside, SVP & GM Customer Marketing and Relationship Management, American Express OPEN. “As a majority of small business owners see growth as their top priority, we are proud to support their efforts to make this holiday season a success.”
The survey also indicated that women business owners will measure success this holiday season in several ways:
Measuring Success and Marketing their Business
About half (51%) of small business owners consider adding new customers as their most important success metric, followed by reaching a specific sales goal (45%) and increasing word of mouth and awareness of their business (44%). Among those who will require additional funding this holiday season to meet their goals (28%), the amount they will need equates to roughly 14% of their average monthly expenditures.
When considering the different marketing tools that women business owners can leverage this holiday season, 45% plan to use social media, 35% plan to use email blasts, 23% plan to use mobile/digital advertising, fewer plan to use direct mail or in-store promotions (22%, each) and only 13% will use TV and radio advertising.
(CLICK HERE for an article about women investors.)