How female small business owners are coping with coronavirus


It’s no secret that the COVID19 pandemic has impacted not only individuals, but their small businesses. We’re being encouraged now more than ever to support struggling local business, to try to help keep them afloat during these uncertain times.

Small Business Women Australia work to cultivate a continued sense of community whilst providing support, strategies and networking to see businesswomen through times of uncertainty. They ran a survey with their female community, asking 1197 women in business their views on various aspects of operating business during coronavirus lockdown.

The results were optimistic, reflecting that half of the participants felt they had the loyal support of their customers during this pandemic and almost 8 in 10 of the women felt somewhat connected to other small businesses considering the crisis. “It was findings like this that really resonated with me,” said Small Business Women Australia founder Amanda Rose, “Those who build and connect during these tough times will develop a loyal network that the good times just cannot deliver.” 3 out of 4 women surveyed said they were confident that they are going to come out a little bruised but with a full business recovery. The main concern voiced across the board was loss of income, as well as confusion about what the next steps are.

Prior to the government announcing the most recent Federal and NSW small and medium support payments and help, Small Business Women Australia asked women in business: ‘how will the lockdown impact you financially if it were to last until 31st July?’

28% said they’d have a $10,000 loss

15% a $51,000-100,000 loss

7% a $11,000-20,000 loss

5% a $21,000-$50,000 loss

35% said they had not seen an effect.

“The vision and enthusiasm for their businesses is what keeps the business women positive and almost half of them are looking forward to the new opportunities and innovations that a post COVID business model will entail,” Amanda said “They know their determination and the support of those around them are key factors in their resilience. To keep a business’ heart beating during these changed circumstances, resilience is obviously going to be a key skill. But, how is resilience formed? It’s all about perspective and attitude. When we look at great leaders, they often have something surprising in common: they can laugh in the face of major stress.

Female business owners are taking things day-by-day for now, but Amanda said the critical missing piece of the puzzle is what happens when lockdown ends and what roadmap to recovery business women can take. “For those in Sydney and Melbourne who have suffered great from these lockdowns, the future is not in their sights right now. They are thinking about how they can survive the day, week or month. As there is no clarity on when this lockdown will end, they will continue to tread water! They are exhausted.”

Considering that 43% of small businesses across Australia are female owned, Amanda fears that women will begin to withdraw from their roles “It’s hard to know what the future of female small businesses is without the roadmap out of these lockdowns. If we don’t have a stable support system by the government, I fear women will choose not to run a small business ever again.”

When it comes to government transparency and communication, Amanda believes that confusion is an issue “Women falling through the gaps is causing more distress than it should. Small businesswomen have not chosen to shut down their business, they were forced to.” She believes that more government-funded mentoring programs for women in business recovery need to be prioritised and that the government need to not just invest in female businesses, but invest in the individual women themselves. “A continued focus on providing women with the tools and strategies to grow their businesses means they are more likely to succeed as government funding and support is wound back. By delivering leadership skills and empowerment to these entrepreneurs we are ensuring their recovery is stable and provides them with successful networking opportunities – which just under 20% of those surveyed during our COVID survey believed would be the defining facet of their recovery.”

She hopes that a mix of financial and non-financial assistance will be seen to ensure that the small business community can survive and stay afloat moving forward.

“These female business owners have shown their resilience and determination and continue to push for their recovery as well as that of our economy. By filling the gaps for them, we are concreting their path and ensuring that their chances of success are increased. Recovery requires more than their resilience, it requires action.”

Although the financial aspect on female business owners is incredibly important, Amanda also fears that not enough is being done to combat emotional stress and that mental health is being negatively affected. She encourages business owners to take steps that are required for financial stability, and not to be afraid to reach out and ask for help.



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