The Beauty Of Going It Alone

Posted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Business and pleasure would mix in perfect harmony, if British women had their way.

Given the chance to go it alone and run their own business, nearly 1 in 3 women (31%) would turn to beauty, fashion, flowers, food and drink for inspiration. Fashion boutiques, hairdressing salons, beauticians and florists were among the favourite businesses that 1 in 6 women (16%) said they would like to set up and run, according to a recent survey by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Food and drink also featured heavily in the ideal business stakes, with 1 in 6 (15%) choosing to run a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel or similar business. The next most popular choice involved caring, with 7% of women saying they would like to start up a nursery, care home or similar type of business. Traditionally, male dominated businesses, such as plumbing, road haulage, security and car repair/mechanic appealed to less than 1% of women.

Women Really Doing It For Themselves
The thought of running a small business is not just a pipe dream for as many as 3.5 million women or 1 in 5 (19%) who said that they would be likely or very likely to set up their own business in the next ten years. Young women aged 15-34 years old were the most likely to want to act on their entrepreneurial instincts, with almost 1 in 3 (29%) saying they would be likely to set up their own business.

However, it is not just young women who are inspired to strike out on their own. An older generation is also keen to turn business dreams into reality too, with nearly 1 in 10 (9%) women aged 55-64 saying they would be likely to do so over the next ten years. With people living healthier, longer lives and experience counting for a lot, it is perhaps not so surprising that the 'silver entrepreneur' is becoming a reality.

Having It All
The vast majority of women (87%) see no conflict between running a successful business and bringing up a family. In fact, over half of the women surveyed (56%) said that 25-34 year olds were best placed to become their own boss, with a further 23% believing 35-44 was the best age.

Under The Influence
Friends (47%) and family (51%) are most likely to have an influence on the choice of business that women would like to set up, but the media also plays a major part. For many women women's magazines (13%), TV (12%), newspapers (10%), and radio (8%) would shape their choice of business. With hairdressers and restaurants featuring at the top of the list of business choices, celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and hit shows such as 'Cutting It' could well be shaping the subconscious of Britain's future female entrepreneurs.

The Supporting Cast
Women believe that their partner (57%) and their bank (57%) would be most likely to support them if they decided to set up their own business. Friends (50%), parents (40%) and children (30%) were rated likely to be the next most supportive. Nearly three quarters (74%) of women also believe that they would receive a fair hearing from their bank if they had a good business start-up idea.

Grahame Walker, Head of Business Marketing at The Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "It's good to see that so many women, young and old, are seriously considering making the most of their entrepreneurial talent. Their desire to combine business with pleasure actually makes good business sense. Doing something you enjoy can help give you the passion and determination you need to make your business a success."

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