Female business owners don’t like to fail – but does that make them better at running a business?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

New research reveals British female business owners find failure more difficult to overcome than their male counterparts. More than two-thirds (69%) of female entrepreneurs feel it is difficult to overcome failure compared to 55% of male.

However, the research suggests that this fear of failure may contribute to female business owners making fewer costly mistakes and ultimately succeeding more.

The international study, conducted by leading print and digital marketing material provider, Vistaprint, surveyed 2000 business owners across four European countries – investigating their attitudes towards failure in business.

When British business owners were asked how much their biggest business mistake cost, male respondents reported mistakes costing more than 2.6 times the amount reported by female respondents.

Additionally, 27% of surveyed men reported having had to close a business compared to only 15% of women.

Other interesting differences between genders were revealed when respondents were asked what they could have done to prevent having to close their businesses. 44% of women said they could have been more strategic compared to 15% of men. 31% of women said they could have better developed their business skills and better planned ahead, compared to 11% and 14% of men respectively. Perhaps suggesting female entrepreneurs are more attuned to where they went wrong.

Vistaprint Customer Strategy and Insights Director Simon Braier comments: “The survey highlights some interesting differences in how men and women run businesses and indicates there is no one size fits all. Sometimes risks pay off and at other times they don’t, but what’s most encouraging is the resilience these business owners show. And with two-thirds of British business owners saying they would start again if things went wrong we know one mistake does not deter this group of people.”

Female business owners also differ from men in their attitude towards overcoming business failure. Women were twice as likely to believe the best way to deal with business failure was to pick themselves up and try again, as many times as needed. It seems the saying holds true, if at first you don’t succeed.

Key Findings

  • 55% of men vs 69% of women feel it is difficult to overcome business failure
  • An average business mistake costs men £7,050.93 vs £2,701.12 for women
  • 27% of men vs 15% of women have had to close down a business
  • 34% of women vs 18% of men say the best way to deal with business failure is to pick yourself up and try again
  • When asked how business owners could have prevented closing their businesses
    • 44% of women vs 15% of men said they should have been more strategic
    • 31% of women vs 11% of men said they should have developed more business skills
    • 31% of women vs 14% of women thought they should have better planned ahead
  • 63% of British business owners would start another business if they had been forced to close another business before.

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