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Small Business Briefing

Female business owners feel more successful than men: survey Add to ...

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Do women have lower expectations?

Female small business owners in the United States are feeling more confident about their business success than men, a new survey finds.

Ninety-one per cent of women surveyed said their business is a success, compared to 80 per cent of men, according to the Small Business Pulse, a survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group of 1,004 small business owners, 271 of them women and 733 of them men.

At the same time, women are less risk takers: 55 per cent of the women rated themselves conservative versus 47 per cent of men. And 80 per cent of women said they did not believe they would have been more successful if they had taken on more risk, versus 67 per cent of men.

As for what's on female entrepreneurs' minds about business, half believe increased costs of doing business are a major barrier, and 36 per cent a minor barrier, followed by government rules and regulations as a major barrier for 36 per cent and a minor barrier for 35 per cent; cash flow, for 35 per cent a major barrier and 33 per cent a minor barrier.

As well, 21 per cent of the women consider a lack of demand or customers a major barrier and 29 per cent a minor one, and hiring and retaining qualified employees is a major barrier for 21 per cent and a minor barrier for 27 per cent.

So why are women feeling more confident than men? On Entrepreneur.com, Carol Tice takes some stabs based on the survey. More risk aversion is one of the factors; as well, while less optmistic about the economy, women aren't as focused on it as their biggest problem, she writes.

Ms. Tice's own gut theory? Women have lower expectations. "Fewer women go into business with dreams of building an empire," she writes. Women I know consider their business a success if they can be their own boss and replace their former job income."

Half of small businesses still don't have their heads in the clouds

Despite the rise of cloud computing, half of Canadian business owners still do not know what it is; 40 per cent have no immediate plans to use it; and just 10 per cent do have plans to take advantage, a new study from BMO Financial Group finds.

Cloud computing -- any form of Web-based, shared computing service, from data storage to online software -- has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tech industry, thanks, in part, to small businesses looking to cut the costs of major capital expenditures on their own IT infrastructures.

For companies that are thinking of heading to the cloud, BMO offers four tip in its release.

And for businesses that would like to take a more in-depth look at cloud computing, check out our Web Strategy series; click to slide 36 to look at all four stories in that series.

Handling penny's death could cost businesses serious coin

The government decision to do away with the penny has many small businesses concerned about some serious coin associated with it: the costs of reprogramming computers and cash registers, changing menus and signage, even eliminating odd-numbered transactions, according to this piece on cbc.ca. Those costs, according to the piece, could run into the thousands of dollars, which is a lot of pennies.


International Startup Festival applications open

The International Startup Festival will be back again this summer, a three-day event all about startups running July 11 to July 13 in Montreal. For those interested in making a pitch, it's already time to apply. Nominations close May 4; 12 startups will be selected to pitch on stage, and there will be just 20 startup demo tables for those who don't make pitches. Those thinking of attending can also register now. For more information, clck here.

Telus Challenge event

The $100,000 small business Challenge is on, the second annual contest held by The Globe and Mail and Telus for small business owners to present their biggest challenge and have an opportunity to win a $100,000 grant to overcome it. For more details on that, click here.

As well, check out an opportunity to to learn more about innovation for your business by joining Jim Senko, Telus's vice-president of small business marketing; Globe Report on Small Business editor Sean Stanleigh; Angela Quinton of Sandberg Labs, winner of last year's contest, and others, and hear more about the contest. That event takes place in Toronto on April 19. For further details, click here.


Adjustable heels leap technical difficulties

For Tanya Heath, it took 14 engineers and shoe technicians, several designers and master boot-makers, the sale of her family’s apartment and some Christmas mornings without toys to produce the world’s first shoe with adjustable heel heights, which can range from a 4.5-centimetre walking heel to a nine-centimetre elegant heel at the click of a button.


How pain at the pumps pinch small business

That pain at the gas pumps is still being felt. And rising fuel costs take their toll on small businesses, too. Surveys for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business last year found fuel costs were the biggest concern for small business owners, as reported in this story last April, which talked about how wide fluctuations in fuel prices have created a lot of uncertainty for small businesses over the past few years, and how businesses were coping.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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