Flexibility top goal for women in small business

04 Nov 2015

Women-led SMEs report revenue down, growing dissatisfaction with government

Taking control of their destiny and enjoying greater flexibility are the main reasons why women start their own business, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor survey of business owners and operators from around the country.

Over a third of women business owners who made up almost 40 per cent of the over 1,000 SME operators surveyed, cited controlling their own destiny (38 per cent) and needing flexibility in a role (35 per cent) as reasons why they started their own business, says MYOB General Manager of Group Marketing Natalie Feehan.

Ms Feehan, who is taking part in the Women of Influence forum, held at Britomart in Auckland, says the results are part of the MYOB Women in Business special report that is also being released today.

“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,” she says.

Top five reasons women started their business:

  1. To control my own destiny (38%)
  2. Needed flexibility in a role to do what I want, when I want (35%)
  3. I wanted a total lifestyle change (29%)
  4. Because I am passionate about what I do (28%)
  5. So I can spend more time with family (20%)

Top five aspirations and goals for the business:

  1. I want to make money and have flexibility for family, holidays etc. (34%)
  2. It’s more about working on things I am passionate about (18%)
  3. I want to grow my business and make a good income (16%)
  4. It is more a semi-retirement (9%)
  5. I want it to be a family business I leave to my children (8%)

Women have also been able to find a good balance between work and life, with 64 per cent reporting they are happy with their work/life balance and just 18 per cent dissatisfied.

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

“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,” says Sarah Lin.

Women investing in staff

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

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

Women operators reporting slowdown

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 per cent to 25 per cent.

31 per cent of women business owners are confident of an improved revenue performance in the year ahead, which has also dropped from 36 per cent in March. Meanwhile, the proportion of women expecting their revenues to fall in the next 12 months has doubled to 20 per cent.

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

Women in Christchurch are reporting a marked cooling in the local economy over the last 12 months. Just 21 per cent saw their revenue increase in the last 12 months, compared to 30 per cent in Auckland and 24 per cent in Wellington, while 44 per cent reported a fall (18 per cent Auckland, 20 per cent Wellington). Women in Christchurch also seem to be feeling the effects of the plateauing rebuild more strongly than their male counterparts, with just 29 per cent of all SMEs in the city reporting a fall in revenue in the year to August.

National losing the businesswomen’s vote

The Government appears to be losing the confidence of the women’s electorate, with a marked increase in dissatisfaction among women in business.

The report highlighted that just 17 per cent of women business owners were satisfied with the Government’s current level of support for businesses, and 32 per cent were dissatisfied. Levels of dissatisfaction have risen significantly since March, when 24 per cent were dissatisfied and 28 per cent satisfied.

“The growing influence of women in the largest area of local businesses – the SME sector – is becoming increasingly significant,” says Ms Feehan. “It is allowing New Zealand to benefit from greater diversity, new innovation and a responsive and dynamic platform for twenty-first century business.”

“Women have a very strong role to play in the growth and development of the local economy. We are very proud to be highlighting their achievements and celebrating their successes.”

The MYOB Women in Business report is available now for download. For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB website, The Pulse BlogLinkedInTwitterFacebook,Instagram and YouTube.


For further comment or other information please contact:

Rebecca Huang, MYOB NZ Public Relations Consultant

P: 09 925 3505 / M: 021 1122 720/ E: rebecca.huang@myob.com

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited Director

P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E: gerard@theagencynz.co.nz

About MYOB

MYOB (ASX: MYO) is a leading cloud based business management solutions provider. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and in 2015 was awarded the BRW award for the most innovative large company for 500+ employees and placed 2nd in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Award list across all categories nationally.  For more information, visit myob.co.nz or follow @MYOB on Twitter.

About the MYOB Business Monitor

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran in July/August 2015. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.