Historically, research has seemed to show that men have an advantage over women when it comes to starting a business.
More recent research indicates that the perceived disparity between male and female entrepreneurs doesn't actually exist and gender is not a determining factor in the success or failure of a new business venture.
But even though gender itself doesn't put female entrepreneurs at a disadvantage, the statistics point to several other factors that can impact the performance of women-owned business startups:
- Experience & Expectations. Statistically, men benefit from more business experience and higher expectations prior to opening a business. This may give men a confidence advantage when they launch a business, but according to the numbers women are more likely to report positive revenues. So what's the lesson? If you are a female entrepreneur, you shouldn't be intimidated by male counterparts even if they seem to enjoy more experience, higher expectations, and greater confidence.
- Risk Tolerance. According to the numbers, female owners are more likely to prefer low risk/low return businesses. Male entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are more likely to start technologically intensive businesses, businesses that lose their competitive advantage more quickly, and businesses that have a less geographically localized customer base. In other words, men tend to embrace more risk than women in a new business venture. Risk is sometimes unavoidable as a business owner. But for the most part, female entrepreneurs should take steps to maintain a healthy balance between risk and reward in their companies.
- Education, Business Size, Hours Worked. As it turns out many of the differences that have been thought to exist between male and female business owners are more myth than reality. When all other variables are taken into account, male and female entrepreneurs have the same education levels, start businesses of similar sizes, and work roughly the same amount of hours. Since the notion that female entrepreneurs are less educated with smaller companies and less time to devote to their business is false, female small business owners should feel relieved of much of the pressure to prove themselves to their peers – and more free to enjoy the fruits of their entrepreneurial endeavors.