- Typical male entrepreneur hails from MD role, with career history in sales
- Typical female entrepreneur hails from mid-management with career history in sales and marketing
- Women are starting businesses two years after men
With the number of small businesses in the UK at an all time high and growing at a rate of 6.7% a year, its clear that Brits are becoming increasingly attracted to the life of self employment and entrepreneurship. However, failure rates are still at 50% in the first couple of years. Sandler Training (UK), a business development consultancy, commissioned research to get insight into the portrait of a successful business founder.
According to a survey of 1,000 male small business owners, who have successfully been in business for over five years, nearly two in five (42%) of came from MD positions, 29% of had career history in sales and the average age that they set up their business was 46. Nearly half (45%) wished they had started their business earlier.
The portrait for the successful businesswoman differed. According to a survey of 1,000 female small business owners, who have successfully been in business for over five years, 71% of came mid/ senior management positions – less than a quarter (24%) hailed from an MD role. A quarter (25%) worked in sales before starting their business and over one in five (23%) worked in marketing. The average age for a woman to set up a business was 48, but 50% wished they had taken the leap sooner.
Once in their new business, women tend to be more organised than men; 16% of women started their business with an exit plan, compared to only 12% of men. Over five years down the line, 39% of women are actively working towards an exit plan, compared to only 35% of men.
The sexes also differed in their ‘biggest mistake’ in the first year. Nearly a third (32%) of men said that decisions surrounding IT were their biggest mistake in the first year, compared to only 22% of women. The biggest mistake cited by women were decisions on pricing – over a quarter of women (28%) claimed bad decisions on pricing was their biggest mistake in the first year, compared to only 19% of men.
Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training (UK) comments: “There is a world of difference between starting a company and building a successful business. The idea is just one part of a very complex puzzle. Business growth is dependent on four pillars of business; skills, structure, strategy and staff – the genders may have different backgrounds, but the key commonality was experience of industry. Older workers have a wealth of knowledge, which helps them overcome hurdles that could trip up a younger entrepreneur.”
Sandler Training is a UK sales, management and leadership training organisation, with 30 centres of excellence across the country. The Sandler method uses non-traditional, disruptive methods Sandler gives busy entrepreneurs the freedom to change on a personal and professional level.