Traditionally, men have been more likely to pursue a career in entrepreneurship when compared to women. However, the Census Bureau reports that this trend has changed in recent years with a 59% increase in the number of women-owned businesses since 1997 — a number greater than the national average.
BizBuySell, an online business for sale marketplace, recently commissioned a demographic study of individuals engaged in buying or selling a small business. The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 buyers and sellers, highlighted several trends that are shaping today’s market. Here are some of the findings:
Female buyers are motivated by a desire to be their own boss. According to the survey, 55% of the women responded that this was their primary motivation to purchase a business, as opposed to 48% of men. “Corporate layoffs over the last few years is a factor,” cites Bob House, General Manager for BizBuySell. “The other thing that could be at play here is the inequities between male and female — the salary differences and promotional opportunities and things like that. I’m sure that that’s a factor as well.”
Female buyers and sellers are much more likely to be divorced. For women interested in buying a business, 20% of women were listed as divorced, whereas only 7% of men were divorced. “If you think about it, probably some of them even may have actually not been in any situation where they’re a primary bread winner, so divorce can propel them with assets. So perhaps business ownership seemed like a viable path,” speculates House.
Men looking to sell want out to buy bigger businesses, but women just want out. Retirement is the main reason for selling a business for men and women, but 16% of men list “desire to own a bigger business” as their reason for selling vs. just 6% of women. The second most cited reason for selling among women is “burn-out” with 22% of female respondents selecting this option compared to 13% of men. “Women, when they exit a business are a bit more likely to potentially return to the work force, versus men who are more likely to reinvest or purchase another business,” says House.