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Groundbreaking Research Profiles Women Business Owners

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New study shows female entrepreneurs fall primarily into one of five categories

A two year study, commissioned by Jane Out of the Box, a research-based online resource community for female entrepreneurs, shows that all women business owners, though highly dynamic individuals, can be categorized as one of five types. The distinction between the categories, says the study, is based on women’s choices in balancing personal and professional needs.

As a result of the study findings, Jane Out of the Box also provides information on how women who are dissatisfied with their “type” can take relevant steps to move their business and lifestyle to a position that better aligns with their goals. Women who are satisfied with their type will also be given advice on how to reap even greater rewards from their businesses. Additional information, as well as a free, evaluation/classification assessment, can be found at Jane Out of the Box, then log in and click on Which Jane Are You?

The first type listed in the study, referred to as Jane Dough, enjoys running her business and is comfortable and determined in marketing and selling. She may be working longer hours, but she doesn’t mind because she enjoys the enterprise so much. Her focus on growth is why she is five times as likely as the average woman entrepreneur to hit the million-dollar revenue mark with her company. She is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business that she can later sell or pass on to her children. It is estimated that 18 percent of women are Jane Doughs.

Go Jane Go, is the second Jane type. She is a successful female entrepreneur who has grown her business to the point that she may now struggle to get time away from her work for vacations or to take care of herself. She feels confident and organized and has put systems in place to get her work done, however she may have difficulty saying no to clients and/or volunteer opportunities. She is four times more likely to hit the million-dollar mark than the average female entrepreneur. On average, Go Jane Go types also have the highest personal income drawn from their businesses, though she has the least amount of personal time. Go Jane Go types are the least common, weighing in at 14 percent.

The third type of female entrepreneur, Tenacity Jane, may be struggling with cash flow concerns, but her passion is undeniable. She’s likely to be feeling stressed and may also feel overwhelmed and worried, specifically when it comes to business finances and cash flow. She may have a dissatisfactory balance between her professional and personal life, but is determined to make her business a success and refuses to give up. The study showed that 31 percent of women business owners are Tenacity Janes.

Merry Jane, is the fourth “Jane” type. She has created a business that meets her needs for time and freedom. She has time to take care of herself and can take time off when she wants to. She is typically working 40 or fewer hours per week and does not feel extreme stress. Though she generally has a lower income than the other “Janes,” she is happy with the balance she’s created in her life. According to the study, roughly 19 percent of women business owners are Merry Janes.

The final “Jane” identified in the study, Accidental Jane, is a successful, confident business owner who makes a good income. She most likely did not intend to start a business, but had an area of expertise that lent itself to a business idea. She has created her own ideal job through her business, which she may have started due to dissatisfaction with her previous employment or following a layoff. While at work, she may have some difficulty prioritizing what she needs to do, but she readily leaves work “at the office” when she’s done for the day, so she’s not stressed as a matter of course. She likely has no big plans to aggressively grow her business and is simply enjoying the work as it comes. About 18 percent of women business owners are Accidental Janes.

“US Census statistics show that only three percent of woman-owned businesses make it to the $1 million mark,” says Michele DeKinder-Smith, founder and CEO of Jane Out of the Box. “This research should help female entrepreneurs everywhere identify their own type, and determine whether or not the businesses they have built falls in line with their personal priorities and values. Women of all five types may find themselves wishing to be more like a woman in another group. We believe, based on our research, that if this is the case, it is possible to follow a specific plan to change the group you’re in.”

Jane Out of the Box is an online, research-based resource community serving the needs of female entrepreneurs. Jane Out of the Box offers tools, research, resources and networking opportunities to members. Additionally, Jane Out of the Box provides training and marketing consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations and government organizations looking to meet the demands of women entrepreneurs.