Female business owners are more likely to invest in technology and their online presence than their male counterparts, according to a business sentiment survey.
The Sage Group, a global supplier of business management software for SMEs, recently released its SME Business Sentiment Index for 2011, based on the responses of more than 600 business owners.
The report provides a breakdown of the differences between male and female business owners, including perceptions about their businesses and the economy, and plans for the year ahead.
According to the study, 42% of male business owners believe their business is performing better now compared to this time last year, compared to only 30% of female business owners.
More than a third of male business owners believe the economy is recovering compared to 2010 but only 27% of their female counterparts feel the same way.
Attitudes to technology are particularly surprising, with 62% of female business owners planning to increase their use of online software and services in the next 12 months, in contrast to 51% of male business owners.
Almost half of female business owners identified investment in technology as a key priority if they had a larger budget for business development, compared to only a third of male business owners.
Women are also more likely to have actively maintained their business web presence in the past 12 months, so that customers can order online, and to have a website that customers can order and purchase items from.
Female business owners are also more likely to perceive their online presence as critical to the future success of their business.
According to the report, women’s focus on technology and their online offering could be due to their greater presence in retail and service-related industries, which are often dependent on eCommerce.
Sage managing director Alan Osrin, says despite their concern for the economy, women are taking a “far-sighted” approach to equipping their business for growth.
“They are focused on using technologies such as the web and online software to innovate, build their business presence and extend their customer reach,” Osrin says.
Nikki Parkinson, founder of home-based business Styling You, has developed a strong online presence with regular posts on Facebook, Twitter and a blog.
Parkinson says she’s not surprised by the results of the survey, arguing that most businesswomen have no fear of embracing new technologies and online networking.
“Men are a bit slow to come to the party some of the time. I’m wondering if it’s because women see online as another way to connect,” she says.
“Once you start embracing social media channels, for example, you can’t help but be drawn into all the different aspects of technology.”
With regard to eCommerce, Parkinson says women understand the importance of providing time-poor consumers with added conveniences.
“We’re the jugglers, so anything that makes our life a bit easier and we can do outside normal work hours, such as online shopping – there is an inventive there to embrace it,” she says.
Parkinson say because women are more likely to juggle work with home life, they are often more aware of their family’s finances, which could affect their views of the economy.