The Discernible Attributes of Female Small Business Owners

By October 23, 2019 October 28th, 2019 Street Smarts

Frustrated with the glass ceiling, women have found a way to achieve top positions, reduce income inequality, and take control. More and more women are hanging out their own shingle and operating their own shop(s).

Women have become the fuel behind the U.S. economy, driving small business growth. Every day, women start over 1,800 new businesses. This has resulted in the annual growth rate of women-owned firms more than doubling that of all businesses.* 

My own story: After hitting the proverbial corporate wall, at the age of 43 and with a young son in tow, I started a marketing consulting firm. Although I recently graduated from my firm to a larger one, I continue to be part of the growing tribe of women small business owners. Not only through my real estate side hustle, but also in my current role as a Next Street Partner. 

Being part of the community of female entrepreneurs and operators is one of my great joys. While women small business owners are diverse in nature, there is a connectivity that comes from a few discernible attributes: grit, resilience, and faith.  


Words like doggedness or indefatigable come into play when talking about female small business owners. According to Angela Duckworth, best-selling author, academic, and psychologist, grit is the power of passion and perseverance (also the title of her book). For women who like being their own boss, Dr. Duckworth points out that there is a high correlation between grit and achieving long-term goals. The consistency of effort (stamina) is the direct practice of grit. 


Sara Blakely, one of the world’s youngest self-made female billionaires, says “Running your own business is a series of obstacles that you turn into opportunities. You have to be resilient because there’s so much coming at you as an entrepreneur and you usually have very limited resources.” Resilience is at the intersection of flexibility and toughness. It’s the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Women small business owners tend to use the power of mental agility, self-regulation and situational awareness to strengthen their resilience and build their resolve.  


Faith can come in many forms – confidence in yourself, commitment to a higher power, belief that you were destined to design something new,….. For entrepreneurs like Serena Williams, faith is an important ingredient to delivering results. “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does,” she says. Believing that you can go it alone, deliver goods and services and drive results – all small business owners have taken that leap. For women small business owners, however, it can be a bigger leap having fewer role models in the past who have paved the road.  

What makes women entrepreneurs and operators so special is the glue that holds them together. The traits that are often hard to develop and exceedingly difficult to take away: Grit, Resilience and Faith. Together, these attributes have helped women deliver nearly $2T to the U.S. economy. 


About Next Street

Next Street a mission-driven advisory firm revolutionizing how our clients provide capital, customers, and services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. We are majority women-led, and support women entrepreneurs and operators through strategies, programs and products (e.g., diverse supplier initiatives, WE NYC programs). In addition, through our capital practice, Next Street enables the flow of capital to women-owned businesses.