Tech puts women-owned businesses in high gear

Tech puts women-owned businesses in high gear

Social media, cloud computing, online payments and SEO are playing a big part in the startup and success of small and medium ventures run by Kiwi women, says cloud business software company MYOB.

The firm's latest Business Monitor showed 27 percent of female owners in that business category used social media to promote their business, compared with 21 percent of men; while 20 percent of women were using cloud computing services, against 16 percent of men. Women also beat the overall trends for use internet technologies to accept payments (52 percent, compared with 49 percent of all small and medium firms surveyed); and promote their companies via search engine marketing or optimisation (29 percent compared with 25 percent of businesses overall).

The research said just under half of women in business surveyed had some form of online presence. Among the benefits they reported as a result were more interaction with customers (55 percent); more enquiries and leads (48 percent) and the ability to be more competitive (39 percent).

Of the businesswomen surveyed, 11 percent had a social media site for their business, compared with nine percent of men.

Sixty four percent said social media led to more customer interaction, while 58 percent were using social media to generate more leads.

The survey participants said Linkedin was their most commonly used site (24 percent) followed by Facebook at 19 percent and Google+ at five percent.

MYOB's national enterprise division manager Allison Fairkettle says technology is enabling women to shape their working life around other commitments.

"Having worked in technology for 20 years I'm encouraged women are adopting technology. The use of technology is a really key factor for me. I'm a mother of two children ... and it enables my life and to fit everything in," she said at the launch of the report in Auckland.

According to the research, 30 percent of SMEs run by women grew their revenue in the 12 months to August, while 44 percent had stable revenue. The percentage of male-run firms with stable revenue stood two percentage points down on 42, while the percentage of SMEs that grew revenue was the same for male-owned companies as for those led by women.

According to the survey, seven percent of women owners were expecting a fall in revenue in the next 12 months, while 12 percent of male owners anticipated a drop.

Nearly two thirds of Kiwi women who'd started a business were happy with their work/life balance, Fairkettle said.

The latest Business Monitor surveyed 400 business owners. It's run twice annually for the last four years.