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Women Business Owners Forecast Long-Term Growth, Won’t Abandon Ship Despite Stormy Economy

Most intend to grow, not sell over next two years; they agree on benefits of networking; views split on value of social media, PNC survey finds


The long-term view among U.S. women business owners is positive as eight out of 10 foresee growth over the next two years. This compares with 7% who want to sell, a sign that rising costs and economic uncertainty will not deter one of the fastest-growing segments of the nation’s small business sector. The first-ever PNC Women Business Owners Outlook findings show these owners are managing through the current economy, holding the line on prices and employing new ideas and creative tactics to help endure the slow recovery.

“Creativity is paramount for a business to navigate through a down period,” said Beth Marcello, director of women’s business development at PNC Bank. “Our findings validate the value that women business owners place on creativity and innovation. Their willingness to try new ideas can result in new products or services, social media marketing tactics or even expansion into international markets.”

In July, PNC reported findings that showed women business owners feel squeezed by the economy: only 15% plan to hire new employees in the next six months while nearly three-quarters (72%) expect to reduce expenses. The second phase of findings focuses on business philosophy, and shows a quiet confidence about long-term prospects. PNC found that 80% aspire to grow their business substantially or moderately over the next two years. Besides the few who want to sell their businesses, only 1% plan to scale back and 3% expect to close.


Other Findings: Risky Business?

The survey, which seeks to gauge the outlook and philosophy of women business owners across the nation, found the majority are looking to avoid risk. Only four in 10 (39%) are willing to accept moderate risk to grow their businesses, compared with 60% who prefer a conservative or balanced approach.


Other survey findings include:


PNC provides education and a certification curriculum to help its bankers understand the challenges and opportunities for women in business. As a result, the bank has more than 500 PNC-Certified Women’s Business Advocates throughout its retail banking regions. The PNC Women Business Owners Outlook survey was conducted between March 30 and May 11, 2011, by telephone within the U.S. among 1,300 women owners or senior decision makers of small and mid-size businesses with annual revenues under $10 million.