Women in Business: Growth is Up, But Sales are Down

The Fight Women Face in The Market

While women-owned businesses are growing in number, a new report from The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce found that their sales are shrinking at an alarming rate.

The report, Women’s Businesses Struggle for Market Share, analyzed the Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners and found that although the number of women-owned businesses grew by 44 percent from 1997 to 2007, their share of total business revenue fell from 4.4 percent to 3.95 percent. Today the nation’s 7.8 million women-owned businesses make up nearly 29 percent of all U.S. businesses, making the shrinking sales even more striking.

“The media hype about the growth of women’s businesses continues to emphasize the number of women-owned firms, rather than our grossly stunted financial success,” says Chamber CEO Margot Dorfman. “This report highlights the growth challenges women business owners face and the opportunity loss our country experiences as we fail to support women as entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

The report cites several factors contributing to women’s businesses failure to increase sales, including lack of access to capital, continuing problems getting their share of federal contracts, and being pushed out of private sector contracting opportunities by big businesses.

Women’s businesses’ failure to grow affects not only the women themselves, in terms of lost income and financial growth, but the nation as a whole. The report notes: “If women-owned firms do not achieve strong revenue growth, women’s financial condition may continue to falter impacting families, communities, the vitality and competitiveness of our marketplace, and society as a whole.”

While many businesses have seen sales falter during the recession, I was startled by the fact that the data surveyed in the report came from 1997-2007, before the economy took a hit. What’s going on in your business now? Does it reflect the results of this study, or something different?

If your sales aren’t where you want them to be, check out the SCORE website for lots of helpful resources to boost your business.

Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="http://www.growbizmedia.com/" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia">GrowBizMedia.com</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/rieva" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="https://www.score.org/author/Rieva-Lesonsky/all-posts" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


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