Women Business Owners Show Cautious Optimism About Economic Recovery
Even So, NAWBO® Members Putting Hiring Plans On Hold in Short Term
(Washington, D.C. Wednesday, July 6, 2011)— While economists say the recession is over and economic recovery has begun, the business community is not so sure. Recent surveys have shown that the nation’s small business owners are remaining cautious and uncertain about short-term economic prospects, and a recent survey of members of the National Association of Women Business Owners® (NAWBO®, nawbo.org), sponsored by Deluxe Corp (deluxe.com) indicates women business owners share that view. While NAWBO® members are optimistic about the long-term state of the economy, and feel things in their businesses are improving, they remain cautious in the short-term and have put hiring plans on hold so far this year.
“Echoing the concerns they have expressed in each of NAWBO®’s last three annual issue surveys, our members say the state of the U.S. economy is the policy issue of greatest importance to their businesses at the present time,” shares NAWBO® President and CEO Helen Han. In fact, 94%—regardless of business age, size or industry, region of the country or personal characteristics such as age or ethnicity—report the state of the economy is very or extremely important for them in their business today.
Other key policy concerns identified by this year’s NAWBO® member survey include:
- NAWBO® members say the five issues (of the top 10 tested in the survey) most important for U.S. Congress to concentrate on now are: federal budget deficit (36%) and job creation (36%); health care (14%); Iraq and Afghanistan (3%); and illegal immigration (3%).
- NAWBO® members are more concerned than the average U.S. adult about reducing the deficit compared to creating jobs, which is not surprising given that our members have created their own jobs. This same question was asked in a CBS/New York Times national poll earlier this year, and in that survey 43% of U.S. adults picked job creation above all other issues that Congress should be working on.
- In addition to the economy, other very or extremely important issues identified from among the list of top 10 issues tested are:
- Cost and availability of health insurance for myself and my employees – 81%
- Business tax issues – 79%
- Fuel and other energy costs – 78%
- Education policies and their impact on the quality of the workforce – 65%
- National security issues, including domestic terrorism – 53%
How do this year’s survey results compare to years past? There has been little change in the dominant importance of economic conditions. Health care costs and availability remain the #2 issue, as it was in 2008 and 2009. Business tax issues, the #3 highest-rated policy issue, came in #2 in importance in 2009 and 2010. The cost of fuel has risen once again to prominence, as it did in 2008.
“While most NAWBO® members believe the country is past the worst of the recession, they remain cautious about the short-term economic situation and are less optimistic looking forward to the end of this year than they were last year at this time,” says NAWBO® National Chair Kelly Scanlon. “However, in the big picture, women business owners are actually more positive in their view of where we are in the current recessionary cycle than the average American adult.”
Similar to a national survey question posed by Ipsos/Reuters in a poll conducted in early 2011, 57% of NAWBO® members and 57% of U.S. adults alike feel the economy has “stabilized but not yet begun to improve.” One-quarter (24%) of NAWBO® members, but only 12% of U.S. adults, feel the U.S. economy has “turned the corner on the current crisis.”
Also notable, NAWBO® members are more optimistic about their own business prospects than they are about general economic conditions. A 62% majority believe the health of their business will be better by the end of 2011, while 31% feel it will be about the same. Also, 72% of members believe their firm’s revenues will be higher by yearend compared with 2010 revenues, including 24% who feel revenues will be up 20% or more. However, 61% say their employment levels will remain unchanged.
“Despite their continued concern about economic conditions and their short-term caution about hiring, we are excited NAWBO® members are very much focused on growing their businesses in the longer term,” says Han. When asked what their business goal is over the next three years, 73% are focused on growth: 37% on growing through expansion into new markets, 33% through greater efficiency and productivity and 3% through merger or acquisition. NAWBO® continues to focus its attention on offering educational platforms that propel women business owners to the next stage of growth. Earlier this year, the NAWBO® Institute launched the Accelerated Growth Series™, a capacity-building educational program especially designed for women entrepreneurs. NAWBO® and its members from across the nation will be in San Diego, California, August 31-September 1, for the Women’s Business Conference where they will access new opportunities, influence their future and grow their businesses.
To download a complete summary of this year’s survey, click here.
Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners® (NAWBO®) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community; creating innovative and effective change in the business culture; building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers. Learn more at nawbo.org
About Deluxe Corporation
Deluxe Corporation is a growth engine for small businesses and financial institutions. Through its industry-leading businesses and brands, Deluxe helps small businesses and financial institutions attract and retain customers. The company employs a multi-channel strategy to provide a suite of lifecycle-driven solutions to its customers. In addition to its personalized printed products, Deluxe offers a growing suite of small business services, including logo design, payroll, web design and hosting, business networking and other web-based services to help small businesses grow. In the financial services industry, Deluxe sells check programs and fraud prevention, customer loyalty and retention programs to help banks build lasting relationships and grow core deposits. Deluxe also sells personalized checks, accessories and other services directly to consumers. For more information about Deluxe, visit deluxe.com