It's the freedom, not the money that prompts more and more women to launch businesses. Working Solo, Inc., a New Paltz, NY, consulting firm, finds in a survey that 30 percent of women started their businesses for greater freedom while only 13 percent were driven by money.
Women-owned firms increased 42 percent to 9.1 million this year, from 6.4 million in 1992, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners.
FRANCHISES NOW 40 PERCENT OF ALL RETAIL SALES
A new franchise is opening every 6 1/2 minutes, and the industry is capturing 40 percent of all retail sales. That figure may soar to 50 percent by the end of next year.
One reason franchises seem to be so popular is that they have a success rate about 66 percent higher than independent businesses, according to the International Franchise Association, Washington, DC.
The down side is that it's getting more expensive to open a franchise-for example, $350,000 for a Baby's Room store and even $60,000 for a Molly Maid cleaning service. Typically, franchisees pay royalties of three percent to 10 percent plus an advertising fee ranging from one percent to 10 percent.
FINDING NEW CUSTOMERS TOP REASON FOR WEB SITES
In a survey of small and mid-size companies three main reasons were found for setting up Web sites: Reaching new customers, 78 percent; selling goods and services, 65 percent; and disseminating information, 62 percent. Keeping up with competition was a distant fourth at 17 percent.
Selling on the Web may be where the future lies for retailing, but setting up e-commerce sites to actually sell product was found to be more expensive than planned. Another study showed that 20 companies surveyed had budgeted only 50 to 75 percent of what actual costs became. The average full-scale e-commerce site costs about $1 million.
SHALL I STAY OR SHALL I GO?
Most people quit their jobs because they're generally not happy. That's one finding of a survey by Caliper, a human-resources consultant in Princeton, NJ. A survey of 180 resigning executives also found some "special" reasons to quit:
• To start a worm farm.
• The building was too cold.
• There was a demon residing in our computer network.
• To study Spanish in Brazil.
What makes an employee stay? The leading driver of employee satisfaction, according to a study by Gantz Wiley Research, is opportunity for career advancement including a chance to work with emerging technologies. This top reason was followed by:
• The work environment.
• Feelings of accomplishment.
• Reward-including compensation and recognition.
WOMEN SHOPPERS WOULD REDESIGN STORES
Mademoiselle magazine's survey of two thousand 20-something women finds that 49 percent of them would redesign store layouts to make it easier to find anything quickly. Almost as many would open unique stores and provide recommendations on best buys.
Also strong on their stores' wish list were: grouping items together to help shoppers identify what they want, and creation of lounge areas for meeting friends.
WOMEN'S BUSINESS WEB SITE HUGELY POPULAR
In just its first six months, a Web site for women entrepreneurs received a million visits. At www.onlinewbc.org, the site offers more than 1,000 articles on starting, growing and expanding a business. There are links to dozens of other sites and opportunities to exchange information with other entrepreneurs.
The site was developed and is run by the North Texas Women's Business Development Center, a Small Business Administration-sponsored educational center in Dallas, TX. The group won an initial SBA grant of $150,000. Much of the information on the site comes from 70 SBA women's business development centers across the country.