In December 2022, ADP was invited to partner with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) to conduct an online membership survey. The survey revealed five main challenges for her from member responses. Access to hiring, funding, growth resources, employee experience, payroll and HR tools.
These challenges are not made easier by the constant changes in the workplace and consumer landscape over the past few years. The foundation these women-owned small businesses have built—persistence, passion, creativity, connection, and sheer tenacity—will take them far. Not enough to sustain growth and prosperity.
Female small business owners should stay abreast of market trends and industry insights. This allows you to adapt your business strategy and resources accordingly. Access to capital, growth tools, software and services that can enhance the employee experience and optimize their time is essential for women to strengthen their businesses for the long term.
Keep reading for insights from our research and some strategies that can help you navigate these challenges.
Recruiting is becoming more difficult in many industries, but survey results show that 41% of NAWBO members report that recruiting is more difficult than ever. Many reported losing applicants to competitors. 43% had no staff. So missing an applicant can mean the difference between being absent and having an order fulfilled.
The good news is that there are strategies that can help make employment less stressful. Small businesses may even have the advantage of making them more attractive to applicants, says Kiran Contractor, ADP’s director of talent acquisition. She encourages small business owners to determine what applicants value and do their best to incorporate that into their offers.
Read: How can a small employer generate more leads and hire additional employees? Learn more about hiring tips here.
tight cash flow
Fundraising is another challenge facing female small business owners this year. Of the 560 respondents, only 10% reported having secured a small business loan. More than half use personal savings to fund their businesses, and a small percentage use loans from family and friends or other personal loans.
At first glance, this may not seem like a big deal, but imagine (some people don’t need to imagine), to keep the lights on in your new shop, a personal check. Please pull it out. This not only jeopardizes the personal credit of female small business owners, but also the welfare of their families. Surprisingly, the average age of the companies surveyed was 14 years old for her, while those with a corporate credit rating were less than a third her age.
Developing a financial plan can reduce the financial stress faced by female small business owners. Experts suggest planning where more spending is planned and where it should be held back for the time being. Developing a plan to secure funding is another way she alleviates this challenge. Sometimes it’s best to start small. This is applying for a low credit card or small loan under your business tax ID to build your credit. Make sure you only chew what you can chew, and remember to align your spending budget with where you know you’ll get a return on your investment.
Check out more small business financing tips on NAWBO’s blog: On The Money
Access to growth and training tools
Accessing tools to help grow and train is another challenge for female small business owners. Many are interested in learning about e-commerce and other growth-related technologies and tools that help her platform. Nearly half of the respondents expressed a desire to access her training on social media to help them grow. Others pointed to the need for tools to find, contact, and recruit new employees. Additionally, technology training is particularly attractive to micro-businesses, while employment tools are more interesting to large, women-owned SMEs. This shows that getting the right resources is a significant challenge.
Small steps can have a big impact when it comes to growth and training tools. Instead of worrying about what you don’t have, focus on one area first. Let’s say social media marketing is the most compelling tool for you right now. Consider taking a short online course to learn about social tools and how to use them. If hiring is your top priority, consider connecting with an agency that can help you find and hire employees.
Growth and training tools can greatly help improve business processes that impact sales and overall profits. But for overworked small business owners, time savings can be even more important. Optimizing your working hours with the right tools is an investment that pays off big.
Read: What’s Driving the Future of Work: Tech Trends Driving Success in the Workplace
Improving employee experience
Prioritizing a great employee experience isn’t just for large, well-funded organizations. Small businesses today know that a positive employee experience helps attract and retain top talent. Nearly 40% of those surveyed are interested in offering employee assistance, employee discount, or employee recognition programs. This translates into a desire to provide employees with substantial benefits and shows that people understand the value in getting more out of their jobs than just a paycheck.
There are many strategies for improving the employee experience, sometimes including offering more benefits. However, if you are on a tight budget, there are alternatives. You can improve the employee experience by regularly checking in with your employees one-on-one. Learning about an employee’s personal and professional goals over time is one way the expert suggests improving the employee’s overall experience.
Learn more about employee engagement by reading the four key HR trends to watch in 2023.
Improved HR and payroll tools
Another challenge for female small business owners is accessing expertise in payroll and HR-related issues. For example, less than half of those surveyed said they knew about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) or the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. Only 5% of her surveyed applied for the above credits. This demonstrates the difficulty in accessing good advice on payroll and HR related issues.
The best strategy is to find a trusted advisor. Consider asking an accounting firm or looking into a third-party payroll and HR provider.
Most business owners aren’t experts in payroll, HR, compliance, or tax law, and that’s okay. There are experts to By partnering with them, you can continue to be a small business expert.
Learn about small business payroll and HR software designed for companies like yours.