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  • 1. School of Business University of Ballarat A Model For Success Women’s Entrepreneurial and Small Business Activity in Regional Areas Report prepared for DSRD, Rural Women’s Network, NRE and the City of Ballarat by: Dr Janice Newton, Dr Lorene Gottschalk and Dr Glenice Wood 2001 UNIVERSITY of BALLARAT 102 Higher Education - Mt Helen Campus
  • 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In a context of a rise in small business and women’s small business in particular in western economies, and rural decline in Australia and elsewhere, the fortunes and potential of rural and regional women in small business appear of vital importance. From June to October 2001 a survey of 359 women in business, supplemented by group discussions with 49 additional women, was undertaken to establish details on the nature of women’s involvement in small business in the Western Region of Victoria. A further aim was to build a model for success. Surveys were distributed after initial telephone contact and via meetings. Sample The sample reflected regional and female small business for the most part. The majority were Australian born, over 40, with a high school education and lived with a partner or partner and dependents. One hundred and sixty- two (44%) asked to be part of a database. 64% aged 30-50 91% Australian born 8% post graduate qualifications 35% did not complete high school 86% live with partner/with or without dependents. 44% ask to be part of database. Similarity There was considerable comparability between the sample and data on women in small business generally. In relation to a flexible business style and processes, a preference for face-to-face contact in communication, word of mouth as the main recognised marketing tool, professional and personal sources of information, the small number of employees and use of own savings and banks for start-up, the region was similar to general studies. 69% employ 1-4 (including self) 80% mention ’word of mouth’ as marketing method 59% say they receive raw materials from local distributor 41% use face to face business communication with experts/specialists 94% say staff have some flexibility Finance was an issue affecting most, both quantitative and qualitative data revealing continuing instances of gender discrimination by financiers. 2
  • 3. 44% women say lack of finance inhibits start up 50% women say lack of finance inhibits operation. Only half apply for ongoing loan. On other aspects the sample showed internal homogeneity, for example in relation to taking a major responsibility for domestic chores, the work experience gained prior to starting a business and the highlighting of experience as the best learning tool. The women mostly worked long hours and over half wished that time to decrease. Sixteen percent indicated that they made a profit of between $10,000 and $19,999 and 18% indicated that they made no profit. They claimed staff respected their authority. 46% worked 40-59 hours per week in business Over half work 20 + hours per week on domestic work 54% women want their time in business to decrease 98% say staff respect their authority 16% made a profit of $10,000-19,000 18% made no profit There were other similarities in relation to technology and uses of services. 75.5% had access to Internet 68% use email 60% were aware of Chambers of Commerce . . . but only 4% stated that they found them useful Women agreed on their priorities for training in style and content. Those few women who made use of NEIS were largely very happy with it. 94% want small face to face workshops for training 61% want marketing training 50% want financial training 49% want promotion training Difference In spite of some general common experiences, the sample also demonstrated considerable range and diversity. For example women were fairly evenly divided over whether they were risk takers or avoiders. Profits ranged from nil to over $100,000 and turnovers from under $10,000 to over a million. Attitudes to success varied from those wishing only for subsistence to those wanting ‘world dominance’. 3
  • 4. 42% risk takers and 55% risk avoiders 30% report turnover between $100,000 and $300,000. 24% report nil or less than $1000 profit 40% report more than $20,000 profit Some statistically significant differences were found between those who were sole traders/partner with women and those in partnerships with men. The former were more educated and concentrated in gender specific industries such as Personal, Cultural and Property Services and Health. They had more responsibilities for household tasks but spent less time on them. They were more reliant on family and friends for unpaid labour and financial help, less likely to go for operating loans and less likely to be successful gaining them. Qualitative data revealed continuing instances of gender discrimination by banks. Sole/female Partners with male Education post grad 11% 5% of 16% Industry sector –Farming 15% 85% of 100% -Personal Services 73% 27% of 100% Start up finance, median $17,000 $45,000 Success An objective measure of success was made by isolating those who had three out of the following criteria: profit of $10,000 or more in 2000; operated business 5 years or more; reported “moderately strong” to “rapid sales growth”; and reported “business performing well”. One third of businesses met this criterion of success. Identifying features that may have contributed to this success proved very difficult as very few independent variables appeared to affect the dependent variable, success or lack of it. Those that were statistically significant often applied to only small numbers in the category. Subjective understanding of success highlights intrinsic and extrinsic factors and a difference between those wanting market dominance and respect, those wanting family subsistence and survival and those wanting personal achievement, autonomy and esteem. Such variation reflects a context of both choice and constraint, but there is little evidence in the survey of peripheral, ‘non employees’. 4
  • 5. Main factors linked with successful third of businesses Living with a partner 5-9 employees Perception that ‘time’ and ‘size of outlet’ biggest hindrance Recognition of the role of dedicated, friendly staff in business success Advice from mentor Conclusions In spite of some similarities, regional women in small business have a range of motivations and therefore their needs may differ. Efforts should be made to both encourage those with a strong ‘enterprise culture’ and to aid the viability of those whose main aim is to self-employ and subsist. Whilst the women prefer small face to face workshops, the high access to internet, the lower success rate of those without a partner at home and the time constraints of many women, suggest that on line training, information and communication should be further developed. That 44% of the survey sample offered to be part of a network/database further supports this option. 5
  • 6. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Number Executive Summary 2 Acknowledgements 9 1. Introduction 10 1.1 The Rural Context 10 1.2 The rise of small business – choice and constraint 11 1.3 The significance of women in the growth of small business 12 1.4 Objectives 13 2. Literature Review 14 2.1 Gender and research 14 2.2 Individual Characteristics of Business Women 16 2.2.1 Motivation and success 16 2.2.2 Training and experience 19 2.2.3 Networking 19 2.3 Institutional discrimination 21 2.3.1 Banks and finance 21 2.3.2 The law 22 2.4 The gender division of labour: the nexus between domestic and other work 22 2.4.1 Industry 23 2.4.2 Business 23 2.4.3 Household 24 2.5 Summary 24 3 Methods of Research 26 3.1 The survey 27 3.2 Group and individual discussions 30 4 Results 31 4.1 Introduction 31 4.2 Sample Description 31 4.2.1 Age 31 4.2.2 Ethnicity 32 4.2.3 Education 32 4.2.4 Residence 34 4.2.5 Household unit 35 4.2.6 Summary of basic demographic data 36 6
  • 7. 4.3 Business basic data 36 4.3.1 Premise location and industry sector 36 4.3.2 Age of business and how started 39 4.3.3 Personal/Household income 39 4.3.4 Employees 40 4.3.5 Marketing, raw materials 41 4.3.6 Profit 42 4.3.7 Sole and partnered 45 4.3.8 Summary of business basic data 46 4.4 Business themes and issues 46 4.4.1 Finance 46 4.4.2 Risk and planning 50 4.4.3 Perceived hindrances 51 4.4.4 Business Style 55 4.4.5 Training and background 59 4.4.6 Domestic/Family Issues 63 4.4.7 Time 66 4.4.8 Indicators of success 68 Objective success indicators 68 Subjective success 74 5 Conclusion 80 5.1 Introduction 80 5.2 Similarities to Women in Small Business Generally 80 5.3 Internal Homogeneity 81 5.4 Differences within the sample 81 5.5 The Success Model 83 5.6 Final Comment 83 Appendices 84 Appendix A The survey 84 Appendix B List of occupations 100 References 102 List of Tables 3.1 Local government area proportional population of sample and region 29 4.1 Age structure of sample and Victorian Women’s Small Business 32 4.2 Place of birth and ethnicity of sample and region 32 4.3 Education level of sample by region and Victorian business women 33 4.4Proportion of sample household type compared to 7
  • 8. Western Region 36 4.5Sample representation compared to Western Region female employment by industry sector 38 4.6Age of business 39 4.7Numbers employed in business 41 4.8Source of raw materials and services 41 4.9Per annum profit 1999-2000 financial year 42 4.10Business ownership structure of sample and Yellow pages Business Survey 46 4.11Reasons for refusal of finance 48 4.12Factors hindering business 52 4.13Staff management style 58 4.14Use of internet by sample and Australian Small Business 58 4.15Use of services by sample 59 4.16How lack of training compensated for 61 4.17Course Desired by Sample 63 4.18Proportion with most responsibility for domestic Task by business operation 64 4.19Sources of unpaid help noted by total numbers business operation 65 4.20Estimation of domestic work in five years by business operation 67 4.21Hours worked in business by business operation 68 4.22Preferred time commitment 68 List of Figures 4.1 Highest level of education in sample 33 4.2 Size of town/area of residence 34 4.3 Household living arrangements of sample 35 4.4 Location of business 37 4.5 Type of business premise 37 4.6 How business was acquired 39 4.7 Numbers of employees in business 40 4.8 Reported Per annum profit 1999-2000 43 4.9 Turnover 1999-2000 43 4.10Reported sales growth 1999-2000 44 4.11Percentage of reported export sales 44 4.12Self reports of business status compared with competitors 45 4.13Average hours per week on domestic tasks 66 4.14Average hours per week put into business 67 8
  • 9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people have helped in this research in terms of their willingness to attend meetings and to fill out the survey. Special thanks must go to those busy women who gave their valuable time. Thanks must especially be given to the members of the Steering Committee for their encouragement, enthusiasm and practical advice: Linette Penhall, (DSRD Ballarat), Fiona Davey (City of Ballarat), Dr Mandy Charman, (NRE); Alice Dwelly (DSRD) and to Kathy Coultas (DSRD) for instigating support for the project. Neroli Sawyer undertook the survey data entry and helped greatly with analysis. Jill Blee and Leanne Spain gave clerical support and telephoned potential respondents. Kara Hodgson, School of Business helped with formatting of the report and Monika Heim with management of finances. Council staff in the ten Local Government areas were very helpful providing maps, community and business lists and setting up meeting venues. Other people have helped give out surveys or alerted those who may have been interested in being part of the research include Pauline Fort (BRACE), John Maguire and Dot Carpenter (Ballarat); Bev Blaskett, (Gordon) Dennis Witmitz, (Executive Officer, Horsham and District Commerce Association, Horsham), Mary Ashdown (Hepburn), Joan Bennett (Nhill); Karen Beggs (Willaura); Liz Brooks (St Arnaud); Karen Chambers (Ararat), Judy Dahlke (Stawell); Jenny Ellender (Daylesford); Lavergne Evans (Nhill); Geoffrey Gray (Pyrenees); Margaret Hill (CWA Horsham); Donna Lindner (Dimboola); Kay Macaulay (AIG); Joe McLelland (CEC Rainbow); Michelle Morrow (Moorabool); Jen Murray (Central Highlands Rural Counselling Service); Jo Postlethwaite (St Arnaud); Rosemary Robertson (Bacchus Marsh Village); Jodie Ryan (Ballarat DSRD); Jenny Stewart (Warracknabeal); and Mark Troeth (CEC Nhill). 9
  • 10. 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Rural Context Australia has experienced over the last few decades significant rural decline. The proportion of the population who lived in rural areas had declined to about 14% in the 1970s but the 1996 census saw this drop again. Nearly two and a half million Australians live in towns with populations between 1000 and 19,999, but a third of these towns lost population between 1986 and 1996. The young in particular are the ones to leave (McKenzie, 1995; AusStat., 1999c, 1999d). The roots of regional decline in Australia stem from a number of factors, but significant shifts in the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and the nature of the farm as an institution have played an important role. Industry restructuring as well as social, economic and technological changes are contributing causes. The turnovers for main agricultural products such as sheep, cattle and grain have declined and the number of agricultural operations reduced. In 1999 the ABS reported that a fifth of farm businesses reported a turnover of less than $50,000 (AusStat., 1999c; ABS, 1999a). The Australian Social Trends report on small towns highlights this situation. People in declining towns risk losing their savings, livelihood and support systems as they confront the break-up of their community, loss of jobs, deteriorating infrastructure and declining property values. (The concomitant closure of services such as hospitals, schools, shops and banks have) a direct impact on the health and well-being of remaining residents (but can also have a less direct psychological impact on the whole community) (AusStats., 1999d). Although under stress, the family farm persists and is still the dominant form of agricultural production in Australia. Governments are reliant on the farm household to take up the slack when there are market variations. The rural crisis has given women opportunities to contribute to off and on farm income (Rickson & Daniels, 1999, pp.235-240). Participation by rural women in the paid workforce, as a response to rural decline has been noted increasingly over the last 20 years, but real hope for rural turnaround lies 10
  • 11. elsewhere, in the growth of new business ventures. Appreciation of another economic trend, that relating to small business, is therefore vital. 1.2 The Rise of Small Business – Choice and Constraint There is increasing international evidence that the growth of small business is a key strategy in the restructuring and revitalisation of older capitalist economies currently underway. In most advanced countries the self- employed and small employers are increasing in number and in economic importance. Small business through the 1980s and 1990s in Australia appeared to be on a strong growth trajectory. In the fifteen years to 1998-9 employment from small business had risen 59%, accounting for 3.1 million people or 47% of the private sector workforce1 (Carter, 1993, p.148; Collins, Gibson, Alcorso, Castles & Tait, 1995, pp.15-17, pp.98-99; Baines & Wheelock, 1998; AusStats., 8127.1 1998; AusStats., 8127.1 1999a). There are two sides to this trend. One is the optimistic espousal of ‘enterprise culture’. This term is associated with a ‘regeneration of values associated with the freedom to work for oneself and to emerge from dependency on the state, from public sector industries as well as from welfare provisions’ (Allen & Truman, 1993, pp.1-2). The growth of the small firm that is able to be flexible, to specialize on small runs, to adapt quickly to technological change has been seen by some to be a sign of a new post- fordist era of work and industry. The other side to the growth of small business may be more to do with constraint rather than choice and this may be a sign of recession, or at least of an employment trend leading to core and periphery sectors of the economy (Wheelock, 1992, p.151; Deery, Plowman, Walsh & Brown, 2001; Bradley, Erickson, Stephenson & Williams, 2000). Growth in home work, termed ‘outwork’ in Australia, the dependence and subjection of small scale businesses to large scale economic organisations, and the proliferation of outsourcing and privatisation has contributed to a 1 Victoria at 3.1% growth over this period was the second lowest growing State and Territory in Australia. By 1999 it was apparent that this situation had slowed with growth in the numbers of small businesses slowing to 2% after a 15 year average growth rate of 3.7%. The slow down was accounted for by businesses that did not employ anyone rather than those which had employees, as the latter still increased by 4.2% (AusStats. 8127.0, 1999a). 11
  • 12. growth of small business pushed into existence rather than responding to a drive to be entrepreneurial. These new forms of employment are often termed the ‘peripheral economy’. Many new jobs are what can be termed ‘non- standard employment’ and much of the new self-employment is marked by insecurity. Much of this can be termed ‘non-employment’, as workers often provide the same service to the organisation that previously employed them, albeit on a subcontracting basis. To term them as ‘capitalist entrepreneurs is highly misleading’ as the labour intensification involved allows ‘few resources for productivity-enhancing investment’ (Rainbird, 1991, p.214. See also Allen & Truman, 1993, p.7; Bradley, Erickson, Stephenson & Williams, 2000, pp.51-70; TCFU, 1995; Deery, et al, 2001, p.73). 1.3 The Significance of Women in Growth of Small Business. Over the last 50 years the proportion of women in the workforce has grown at more than twice the rate of men, so a growth in numbers involved in small business is not unexpected. Recent decades have seen a faster growth rate of women in business in Britain, USA and Australia than the rates for male businesses (Moore, 1999). In Britain women now account for 25% of all the self-employed although it must be acknowledged that this reduces to only 16% of all full time self-employed (Carter, 1993, p.149). In the USA growth rates have been spectacular. Employment by women-owned companies has increased at double the general national rate (Kuratko & Hodgetts, 1998, p.14, p.18). In Australia while the number of business operators between 1995 and 1997 increased overall by 4.8%, female business operators increased more dramatically by 9%. (AusStats. 8127.1 1998).2 Over the decade 1987 to 1997 the average annual growth rate was 3%, one and a half times the growth rate for male businesses (ABS, 1997). The Yellow Pages Small Business Index (1996) found that women played a sole (6%) or leading role (7%) in only 13% of businesses but claimed they shared a leading role in another 19%. Businesses run by women have also been reported to be more 2 In the most recent ABS survey, for the first time the number of female operators has declined, in spite of an increase in small business operators overall (AusStats. 8127.1, 1999b). Interestingly this decline did not take place in Victoria and concerned women in business with a man, rather than sole female operators (ABS. 1999c, pp.6-7). 12
  • 13. viable than male operated businesses (Sykes, 1989). Women owned businesses thus represent the fastest growing segments of small business. In rural areas, too, women are increasingly the drivers of new entrepreneurial ventures. Such ventures either enhance household income through vertical diversification, value adding to rural commodity products, or horizontally through the development of new ventures not related to the agricultural supply chain (Walsh-Martin, 1998; ABC Landline, 1997, 1998, 1999; O'Brien, 1991). At the same time that the growth in women’s business has been noted the significance of small family business for ethnic minority groups has also come under scrutiny. Researchers into ethnic family business have observed the reliance on the unpaid labour of women and children; a gendered division of labour in the business; and motivations to take up small business arising as much from discrimination in the general labour market, as from a desire to be an entrepreneur (Phizacklea & Ram, 1996, p.332-337; Collins, Gibson, Alcorso, Castles & Tair, 1995). Such issues are worth bearing in mind for understanding women in small business generally. 1.4 Objectives In regional and rural Australia, the situation of rural decline and the decreased importance of ‘standard’ agricultural products, suggests the necessity of looking at the scope for small business and small business by women in particular, as a path towards greater viability and sustainability of regional and rural Australia. Before such a path can be followed a thorough understanding of the nature of women and small business must be obtained. The objective of this research is to clarify the nature of regional business in Victoria and thus develop and refine a model for success for female entrepreneurs within a rural/regional context. The above discussion locates this phenomenon within a broader western economic framework, which reveals two dimensions to the marked growth of small business (choice and constraint). 13
  • 14. 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Gender and Research In the world of business and economics generally much research has been uninformed by a gender perspective. It has been acknowledged for some time that women’s participation in agriculture, in particular, has remained under recognized (See Alston, 1991; James, 1989; McKenzie 1996). Despite apparent equal legal status and significant labour contribution women are often not noticed. Coming from this history where the labour of farm women has been termed invisible, the last few decades have seen change in that women are registering their involvement. Recorded farm employment has changed from a ratio of 1 female to 10 males to one to three. National Forums call for women’s perspectives on future direction and farm productivity and so on. Current research on income diversification and pluriactivity on farms demonstrates the strong involvement of women in these activities and augurs well for greater visibility of gender issues for rural women on farms (Alston, 1991; James, 1989; Rickson & Daniels, 1999, p.237; Cullinen, 2001). Family farming, although declining, is still the most predominant form of farming in Australia (Voyce, 1993), so can be gainfully included in general understandings of small business. Invisibility of women in agriculture has not been an isolated instance of gender blindness. Gender dimensions are often neglected in generic business research as well. Serious academic research into small business has followed its revival in the economies of the west and most of the research until now has, in effect, concentrated on male-owned businesses. Those studies that have concentrated on women specifically have come up with a range of common themes. A focus on women alone in business and a failure to cover the many women in business with their husbands and to ask comparable family related questions of men, detracts from the generalisability of such studies (Allen & Truman, 1993, p.1; Carter, 1993, p.149; Baines & Wheelock, 1998, p.18). 14
  • 15. For instance men in Australia have been reported as leading the push for more flexible working hours, as they want to spend more time with their families, but this is not a question asked in business research. Furthermore, some of the variables suggested for gender difference in business have not been tested with men, for example the impact of life cycle stage and the reason that credit was given or refused by banks (Allen & Truman, 1993, pp.12-13). A few studies now are suggesting that both sexes sometimes define and sometimes blur boundaries between family and business and that men, too, have non-economic goals for business (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, pp.18-19). There has been some acceptance that, aside from motivation and start up barriers, few significant differences exist between male and female operated companies (Carter, 1993, p.149). For example, Johnson and Storey (1993) compare demographic profiles and find more similarities than differences. Kallenberg & Leicht (1991) in relation to the 'how' of entrepreneurship, in terms of their start-up and mode of operating over time, suggest that gender does not make a difference (Stevenson & Jarrillo, 1990). However, debate persists over this issue (Miner, 1997; Langan, Fox & Roth, 1995). Detailed comparative studies are beginning to test the assumption of gender difference more rigorously, but for some features there is general agreement that there is difference. Women’s businesses are smaller, younger, take fewer risks and derive lower earnings (Loscocco & Leicht, 2000, pp.2-3; Soutar & Still, 2000). Empirical studies suggest that new ventures, run by women, have very different growth, cash flow and survival characteristics to businesses run by men (Still, 1988; Sykes, 1989). As it stands, the following issues appear to have substantive support for gender differences: individual characteristics such as motivation and notions of success; institutional factors such as banking and legal practice and social structural constraints arising out of a gender division of labour. The following section will address these issues. 15
  • 16. 2.2 Individual Characteristics Of Business Women 2.2.1 Motivation and Success Attempts to isolate factors leading to success have historically been difficult. An Australian case study looking at success factors in small to medium enterprises involved in high technology, concluded that strength of the partnership between two (male) founding members, based on trust and respect was most significant (Warren & Hutchison, 2000). Such a finding may have implications for understandings of small family business. Most studies, however, focus on individual motivations and perceptions of success and they also problematise both the definition of success as well as the characteristics that might be associated with it (Marlow & Strange, 1994). Gilligan, a feminist psychologist, says that a defining feature of women’s business is the ‘intimate integration between the business and the social’ (cited in Baines & Wheelock, 1998, p.18). Self-employment is as much a life strategy as a business strategy (Richardson & Hartshorn, 1993; Moore, 1999). It can be a household response to the effects of economic restructuring on a peripheral labour market’ (Wheelock, 1997, p.163). Many studies suggest that women’s motivations are different to those of men and also that their views of success may differ (eg. Moore, 1999; Still & Timms 2000). Some authors have even argued that women have a fear of success (Horner 1972). However, Marlow and Strange (1994) argue that definitions of success traditionally used in small business research, like profitability and turnover are inappropriate to the study of many ventures and what should be taken into account is what the original motivations and aims are. They argue that a major aim of many women is to reconcile the competing demands of waged and domestic labour and that if they manage to achieve this by undertaking business ownership, they have been successful. This discussion has led to debate about typology of female entrepreneurship. Goffee and Scase’s (1985) typology of female entrepreneurs recognises the classic entrepreneur committed to individualism and self-reliance and others committed to traditional, often subservient, gender roles. Recognition of difference within females is sound but a finer 16
  • 17. understanding requires further qualification. Business can change the woman as much as the woman changing the business and superficial similarities in, for example, commitment to independence, can mean different things at different stages in a woman’s life cycle (Carter, 1993, pp.153-4). An American study that measured business growth in relation to family circumstances found that sole mothers were ‘driven’ as much as breadwinning males by the need to provide (Loscocco & Leicht, 1993). This finding may not transfer too well to a British or Australian context where there is more state aid for sole parents and less expectation that mothers should find paid work to support their children. A British study (Baines & Wheelock, 1998) suggests that of family businesses categorised by chief concerns and motivations, only one of four types aimed for the business growth expected by government policy makers. Furthermore, this ‘Achievement’ type was more likely than other types to use human resources beyond the family. Various scholars have attempted ideal types or continuums to categorise motivation to engage in small business. ‘Men have been found to put more emphasis on economic goals than women; alternatively women have been found to sacrifice some economic performance in favour of social goals such as increased customer satisfaction and work/family balance’ (Souter & Still, 2000, pp.9-10). New research notes the significance of push factors or constraints ‘forcing’ women to take up the small business option (Still & Timms, 2000). The cruder dichotomies of male entrepreneur money-makers versus female social lifestyle workers have been superceded by models which recognise heterogeneity within the sexes. Goffee and Scase (1985) constructed a 4 way typology on the basis of the different combinations of two variables: commitment to traditional gender roles and commitment to entrepreneurial values. There is also a two way model which differentiates between the ‘opportunist’ and the ‘craftsperson’, or Gray’s three way model differentiating between concerns with money, lifestyle or safety. Baines & Wheelock (1998) built on this latter model recognising four sets of concerns and priorities in their data on male, female and mixed operated micro businesses from the south-east and north east of England. 17
  • 18. The four motivations and concerns are: survival and security; business intrinsic; creative; and achievement. The ‘survival/security group characteristically struggle to achieve livelihood in the face of very limited choices and may suffer from the dependency on larger more powerful organisations. Those concerned primarily with survival worked long and often inconvenient hours. Relying on one’s own labour was a stress rather than a freedom and the financial rewards were precarious (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, pp.25-6). The second category entitled ‘business intrinsic’ embraced most of the British sample. These were the people who gained satisfaction from being their own boss and from having some choice over whom to work for and when. There was an overwhelming desire for independence and reluctance to seek help from outside agencies. The new category proposed by Baines and Wheelock (1998) was termed ‘Creative’: these businesses evinced the desire to be recognised by peers for the quality of their work. This group were more positive about involving their spouses in the business, but had difficulty employing others. They were more likely to be located in the arts and media. Those driven by ‘Achievement’ wanted wealth, recognition and the opportunity to have influence. They were the only group whose values approximated the enterprise criteria set by the British small business policy makers. This group fitted ‘classic’ entrepreneur personality types and tended to have conflict and tension with spouses as well as employees. They were less likely to embed their ‘economic behaviour in social relations with their immediate family’ but more likely to be ‘energetic users of non family networks’ (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, p.30). Models of success and motivation have moved from simple gendered dichotomies to more complex understandings, across and within the sexes. A range of priorities, from household survival to classic entrepreneurial drive, operates among small, family and micro 18
  • 19. businesses but it seems likely that women may be associated with more of those motivations not representing the ‘classical entrepreneur’ . 2.2.2 Training and Experience It is often argued (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, p.31; Carter, 1993, p.152; Loscocco & Leicht, 1993, p.7; Boden & Nucci, 1997) that women in small business lack the knowledge, experience and training of men. In Britain and the US, men have been more likely to have work experience and/or education related to their present venture. In husband and wife businesses, women sometimes struggle to perform tasks for which they are not trained. Such shortcomings in training and experience could be related to the ‘lack of confidence’, ‘lack of credibility’ and ‘failure to be treated seriously’ found among women in Canadian and British studies cited by Carter (1993, p.151). There are suggestions that, given the time constraints and domestic commitments of women, they should have training courses well away from these responsibilities ‘to allow the time and space for women to re-assess realistically their existing obligations and the taking on of new ones’ (Allen & Truman, 1993, p.10). Given that spouse support is vital for survival in many family businesses, Baines and Wheelock (1998, p.31) suggest that there could be benefits in offering joint training to husbands and wives. While women partner their husbands in business they are probably more likely to be working away from their gendered experience and therefore, unless they are able to access relevant training, more likely to be restricted in role and authority to make decisions as a consequence. Gaining skills and knowledge depends to a large extent on access to formal and informal business networks. 2.2.3 Networking Kaur and Hayden find that a crucial factor in the difficult process of starting a new enterprise is ‘an ongoing support network . . . that provides professional help and advice staffed by those with the knowledge and skills relevant in the industry, from sources of raw materials through to its markets’ (cited in Allen & Truman, 1993, p.11). 19
  • 20. Baines and Wheelock (1998) in their British study attempted to measure the significance of networks and associations beyond the family and found that while nominal membership of organisations such as Chambers of Commerce was high (nearly 40%), there was a lack of enthusiasm for such bodies compared with the high value placed on ‘loosely linked groups, often composed of other owners and small businesses and of colleagues known through former employment’. They were valued for practical advice and moral support. As stated, the practice of calling upon people outside the business and family was associated with a positive attitude to business growth (1998, p.22). Networking has been recognized as something women do strongly on the social, relationship plane (Moore, 1999), but deficiencies on the business and professional level have been noted. Some have been addressed with the establishment of government-aided networks (Still & Timms, 2000, p.4) including the Rural Women’s Network and Professional and Business Women’s Network. These go some way to compensate for women’s lack of links with male-dominated professional organisations and community bodies like Rotary and Chambers of Commerce, but younger professional women at least are now ‘aggressively networking in the male domain’ (Still, 1993, p.174). A recent comparative study of 1000 businesses in Western Australia found that women sought more information sources at start up than men and while accountants were the most important source for both, women relied more on immediate family and friends and colleagues than did men (Soutar & Still, 2000). The significance of kinship, household and friendship ties was also apparent in Baines and Wheelock’s major British study (1998, p.17). Family members give substantial practical and moral help and a family tradition of business ownership can also be significant (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, p.17, p.21; Allen & Truman, 1993, p.9). While networking socially is recognized as being quite strong among women, it is the style and content of the network that may differentiate women from men. If the focus of business women is on family, friends 20
  • 21. and colleagues, it is possible that they will not obtain the professional and relevant help that has been associated with growth and objective success. While networking has been presented as an individual characteristic, it involves links with institutions. Another theme in general studies on women in small business concerns institutional discrimination. 2.3 Institutional Discrimination Institutional discrimination can be seen as a result of a culture of prejudice or a result of policies and procedures within the institution. 2.3.1 Banks and Finance Many of the gendered barriers associated with start up are put down to problems receiving finance. Previous studies have found difficulties in accessing capital and credit. Lack of capital forces the women to rely more on their own labour and efficiency and is cited as one of the reasons the businesses of women start and remain small (Allen & Truman, 1993, p.8; Sykes, 1989). Agencies like banks are generally geared to the perceived needs of men. The procedural criteria they apply make it more difficult for women to set up a business (Sykes, 1989; Koper, 1993). Australian small businesswomen have knowledge of prejudice and discrimination, but in a recent major study (Yellow Pages, 1996) they did not link this to their own circumstances. Although there was recognition of prejudice against women in small business operations and a lack of sympathy from banks, the women rarely acknowledged being personally affected by this (1996, p.1). It could be surmised that mainly sole operator females would be affected by such prejudice, whether it be personal or structural. A resistance to making personal complaints may be associated with a reaction to what some women see as a ‘welfare’ approach to woman as ‘victim’ (Still & Timms, 2000, p.4). For those with a focus on achievement goals it seems likely that a strong ideology of individualism and commitment to the idea that the self has considerable scope for action, would also act against recognition of institutional discrimination and structural constraints. 21
  • 22. 2.3.2 The Law The most noted form of legal institutional discrimination relates to family farm businesses. Patterns of inheritance and the modification of the Family Law Act (to avoid dissolution of property after divorce), operate to continue a patriarchal structure. Women in such small businesses may be born into a business and lack knowledge on whether they are to have a future role in it (Bowen, 1995), or may marry into a situation where they are regarded as a conduit to the next generation and transfer of the farm may be delayed decades until a daughter-in-law ‘settles in’ (Voyce, 1993). Such women lack a resource and power base from which to conduct the business in the equal manner to which many aspire. 2.4 The Gender Division of Labour: The Nexus Between Domestic and Other Work At the wider social level there are economic structures and patterned arrangements relating to the gender division of labour, that have endured for decades and some even for centuries. Despite the fact that women are entering the paid workforce in greater numbers, with women in Australia now making up 43% of the paid workforce (ABS, 1999d), it has been reported that women continue to take a larger share of domestic responsibilities (eg. Burton, 1991; Davidson & Cooper, 1992; Parker & Fagenson, 1994; Pringle & Tudhope, 1996; Still & Timms, 2000, p.7). An understanding of domestic household labour both prefigures and follows an understanding of the division of labour in industry sectors and in business enterprises (Marlow & Strange, 1994, p.181). The lower financial reward associated with work seen as feminine, domestic or linked to the nature of women, factors back into the continuation of a system in which women remain primarily responsible for domestic work. If they earn less in a female type job or business employment in the paid economy, it becomes more likely that it is in a household’s interest to prioritise the (male) work that can bring a bigger income and leave household responsibilities to the woman. If they earn less in wage labour they are more financially constrained with the scale of their new business initiatives (Boden & Nucci, 1997, p.1). In the following discussion the division of labour across industry sectors; the division of labour within small business; and the division of 22
  • 23. labour within the household are discussed, in relation to the need to recognise the specific needs of women in small business. 2.4.1 Industry Western labour markets are defined by horizontal segregation in that women predominate in a few sectors. These sectors are often outgrowths of the support and service work that may go on in a household. The types of business which women are in reflect the traditional female labour market segregation and location. Throughout the world women are more likely to be found in food production, nutrition, health and child care. Women predominate in non-standard employment sectors. Some scholars believe that most income differences for women in small business can be attributed to organisational, occupational and industrial segregation (Loscocco & Leicht, 1993, p.2, p.19; Carter, 1993, p.150; Allen & Truman, 1993, p.9; Deery et al., 2001). The industries in which there are high proportions of women relative to men in Australia are Education (61%); Health and Community Services (55%); Personal and Other Services (52%); Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants (48%); and Cultural and Recreational Services (43%). The industries most women work in with their own business are the retail trade and property and business services (ABS 1301.0, 1997b). 2.4.2 Business Within shared businesses a gendered division of labour persists. Past studies of the division of labour in farm businesses see women as undertaking book-keeping and accounting roles whilst males are dominant in labour management and capital issues (Craig, c1990; Rickson & Daniels, 1999). Unpaid support in small business where the wife may or may not be a partner, can also follow such gender lines, women typically working in a clerical, service or support capacity. ‘Symmetrical partnerships were rare’ (Baines & Wheelock, 1998, pp.21-24). Talk of equality in business operations is not always matched by empirically proven equality in decision making over serious issues. For example, 23
  • 24. Queensland farm women had more say on ‘inside’ issues than broader general issues concerning farming and the environment, according to Rickson and Daniels, 1999, p.244. 2.4.3 Household Studies of rural women testify to the resilience of gendered responsibilities for household tasks (Dempsy, 1992). Shelton and Firestone in 1989 estimated that 8% of the gender gap in general US earnings was a direct result of women’s greater domestic burden. They spend more time per week on domestic work and take the main responsibility for care giving to dependent children (Loscocco & Leicht, 1993; Allen & Truman, 1993, p.9). Carter (1993, p.151) claims that many women feel guilt and role conflict due to difficulties meeting business and family obligations. Involvement of women in small business is often underwritten by the need to reconcile the competing demands of waged and domestic labour (Marlow & Strange, 1992, p.182). Domestic responsibilities restrict time and mobility but we cannot assume that business is always subordinate to family (Allen & Truman, 1993, p.9). While industry sector may structurally disadvantage a sole female operator, the division of labour within family farms and other ‘husband and wife’ operated businesses may detract from true equal understanding and ability to make strategic decisions. The division of labour in the household is possibly the most important structural disadvantage for all women involved with business. 2.5 Summary Female invisibility and gender blindness have marked earlier studies of women in farming and other small businesses. Current debate about the level of difference and similarity between men and women in business is hampered by a lack of truly comparative data linking business with family and social aspects. Women’s businesses though are smaller, younger and take lower earnings. While women in these businesses appear to vary from men’s businesses in motivations and notions of success, they can also be differentiated by motivational categories such as ‘survival and security’ and 24
  • 25. ‘achievement’, that cross male and female businesses. Women in business lack training, relevant experience and involvement in business and professional networks. Institutional discrimination appears to persist in terms of divorce and inheritance factors for agricultural businesses and access to finance through banks for business generally. A gendered division of labour in which women remain primarily responsible for domestic tasks and in which they are still associated with ‘feminine’ work in the general labour market, underpins an involvement in business that reflects this ‘horizontal segregation’ and sees the persistence of a separation of tasks within businesses. Such separation may provide a basis for a lack of true equality in strategic decision-making in shared partnerships. Regional and rural contexts for current developments for women in small business should take into account the issues discussed above. In ascertaining the nature of small business in the Western Region notions of choice and constraint and a critical appreciation of ideas and measures of success are central. In the following section the Methodology sets out the rationale for the current research and clarifies the methods used to address the above issues. 25
  • 26. 3 METHODS OF RESEARCH Multiple research techniques were used to gain an understanding of the situation that could furnish both objective descriptive statistics of the current situation, enabling the charting of simple correlations, as well as providing more qualitative insight into the passions and concerns of the women involved in enterprise throughout the region. Multiple research methods, also referred to as triangulation (Reinharz, 1992, p.197) allow for creative research designs and increase the richness of the findings because the subject is investigated from a number of different approaches (Reinharz, 1992). Through the use of such methods, understanding of the respondents’ perception of reality is likely to be increased, thus the validity of the findings is increased. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this project. This approach is supported by Toby Jayaratne (1983, p.140) who, though aware of the restrictions of positivistic methods, also advocates the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, believing that such an approach is more effective in developing and explicating theory. While quantitative methods can provide a wealth of facts about a phenomena, the additional qualitative methods allow exploration of reasons for, and feelings that led to, a phenomena, as well as feelings about a phenomena (Jayaratne, 1983:140). The qualitative approach focuses on meaning, rather than measurement, of social phenomena (Hussey & Hussey, 1997:53). Qualitative research embraces: • the importance of establishing rapport between the researcher and the subject; • the need for the researcher to value and respect the subject’s view of their own reality; and • for the subject’s own words to be used in the subsequent written report. (Hussey & Hussey, 1997, p.53). This research was conducted using a combination of questionnaires and interviews. The central research tool for the former was an extensive questionnaire and for the latter eleven meetings were held throughout the region and note was taken of telephone conversations with potential survey respondents throughout the period of data gathering. 26
  • 27. The focus group interviews had a dual purpose. The first group in Ballarat enabled the piloting of the questionnaire and some minor improvements to be made. For the other ten group interviews, personal contact with regional centres and women’s groups in the context of holding group discussions promoted a more thorough distribution of questionnaires, more thoughtful and considered responses, as well as more reliable returns. The data from the focus group interview/discussions add a deeper dimension, another layer of information which can ‘validate and refine’ questionnaire responses (Reinharz 1992, 201). Ethics approval for the research was granted through the Human Research Ethics Committee of University of Ballarat on June 7, 2001. 3.1 The Survey The survey (See Appendix A) was designed by the researchers between March and April, modified after a steering committee meeting in May 11, and piloted by two women from Southwestern and Northwestern Victoria who responded to a media release. In order to have a more thorough critique, it was piloted again by women at the first focus group in Ballarat June 15. The population of participants for the survey consisted of all adult, female small businesses (employing less than 20 effective full time workers), which were either sole operated or consisting of partnerships with men or women, in the Western Region. The Western Region consists of 10 Local Government areas: Rural City of Ararat, City of Ballarat, Hepburn Shire Council, Hindmarsh Shire Council, Horsham Rural City Council, Moorabool Shire Council, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Pyrenees Shire Council, West Wimmera Shire Council, and Yarriambiack Shire Council. The sample of 359 was drawn through two major means: a general snowballing database for a mail out following an introductory phone call, and a series of advertised meetings in Ballarat, Beaufort, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola, Warracknabeal, Nhill, Edenhope, Willaura and Daylesford. The limited time available to women for meetings and the small number at the meetings meant that greater effort had to be applied to direct phone calling of lists, ‘subcontracting’ lots of surveys to helpful community 27
  • 28. members and finally, to creating targeted lists through the Yellow Pages Directory. Local Government areas were contacted to provide maps of the boundaries for the regions and lists of social groups. Some initial contacts were made through the CWA but were found to be of limited use because of the lack of women involved in business in the groups. Advertisements were also placed in the Rural Women’s Network magazine however, and unexpectedly, there was minimal response. The Western Region’s DSRD Women in Business list was used as a starting point to invite women to attend the first focus group and pilot of the survey, then was further used as a data base to telephone to ask permission to send surveys. The Rural Women’s Network and Australian Industries Group provided useful short lists of contacts. Other council areas were able to provide lists of all businesses in the area though some were considerably out of date. Some councils were able to direct the researchers to key women in the community with local knowledge of businesses. The sample was thus recruited through contact with Council, Social & Economic Development officers, women's groups, traders' associations, State and Regional Development, Western Region, and advertisements in the Rural Women's Network, a CWA conference, a Quilters website and the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Network. Every effort was made to reach as many women in business as possible. For example a worker at the National Enterprise Incentive Scheme posted 45 surveys to those who had completed NEIS business courses at Ballarat. A contact in Horsham distributed two questionnaires to 50 businesses, (100 in total) hoping each one would pass the second questionnaire on to an appropriate person. A contact in Edenhope National Resources and Environment agreed to take 10 surveys to send out, three contacts took bulk surveys to distribute in Edenhope (10), Nhill (50) and Rainbow (15). The Council worker in Ballan arranged for 100 surveys to be given out at meetings in Ballan and Bacchus Marsh. Contacts in Ballarat distributed by hand to Gordon businesses (Moorabool), and to Zonta (15) and Soroptomist (10) meetings in Ballarat. 28
  • 29. To further enhance the number of respondents, hand deliveries and pick ups were made to businesses in Sturt St Ballarat, East Ballarat, Sebastopol, Buninyong, Mt. Pleasant and Daylesford during the weeks September 17-28th In September and October, two research assistants were hired to do intensive phone calling in the Hepburn, Northern Grampians, Ballarat and Moorabool local government areas once again for the purpose of increasing the number of survey participants. In October 19 and 20th advertisements were run in the Wimmera Mail Times and Ballarat Courier respectively but both newspapers failed to make use of editorial copy provided. The Daylesford Advocate and The Glenlyon ran both advertisements and editorials. In terms of population of the Western Region, the Local Government areas varied immensely in size. Where possible some effort was made to replicate in locations of businesses in the sample, the population proportions of the differing Local Government Areas. The following table sets out this comparison. Table 3.1 Local Government Area Proportional Population of Sample and Region Local Government Area Sample proportion of Population proportion Business locations (%) (%) (n358) Ararat 6.7 6.2 Ballarat 32.5 43 Hepburn 11.5 7.6 Hindmarsh 5.5 3.7 Horsham 8.4 9.6 Moorabool 6 12.5 Northern Grampians 12.4 6.9 Pyrenees 3.3 3.8 West Wimmera 5.7 2.8 Yarriambiack 6 4.4 NB 2.1% of sample businesses locations were outside of the region. This occurred particularly when a business was in multiple locations. There was more success in meeting targets in the less populated, areas as well as the Stawell (Northern Grampians) and Daylesford (Hepburn) areas, as a result of access to extensive listings. Poorer returns for Horsham and Moorabool can be linked to an over-reliance on intermediaries and bulk deliveries rather than intensive phone calling. A return rate of 34% was achieved overall for usable surveys (1 failed to meet the criteria and another 29
  • 30. 9 were received too late for data entry.) The data were entered and analysed using SSPS software, the social science package for statistical analysis. 3.2 Group and Individual Discussions The Ballarat Focus Group Meeting was held on June 15 in the Board Room of the Victorian Business Centre Ballarat, and small meetings were held in Council rooms at Beaufort, Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Warracknabeal, Nhill and Edenhope. Other meetings were held in the Dimboola Footwear premises and the Willaura Hotel between July 9 and 13. A final group meeting was held at in the Hepburn Council Chambers at Daylesford on September 17. A total of 49 women were involved in these meetings. Additionally some informal conversations were held while delivering surveys in the main streets of towns such as Warracknabeal, Stawell, Willaura, Daylesford and Ballarat. Individual discussions were held by telephone, face to face and email throughout the period of the research and some effort has been made to include these understandings in our analysis. 30
  • 31. 4 RESULTS 4.1 Introduction The results section of the report is divided into three main parts: a description of the sample, basic data on the businesses and business themes and issues. Qualitative data is integrated with the quantitative data and comparisons made with regional demographic data from the appropriate Statistical Subdivisions from the 1996 Census (ABS) and the 1999 ABS study Characteristics of Small Business where appropriate. In the final section on themes and issues, the elements of business experience and practice are cross-tabulated with the structure of the business ownership and with measures of business success. In this report the categories have been collapsed into two. The first category combines women as sole operators and women in partnership with a woman. The second category combines women in partnerships with men irregardless of whether they take a leading role or are in a shared leading role. The majority of women in partnerships with men claimed to have a shared leading role with their male partners. Women took a leading role in only 6.7% of businesses. It is important then to recognise a potential influence by male partners in the women’s attitudes and experiences. Because of this potential the experiences of women in business on their own and the experiences of women in partnership with men are discussed separately in this report where it is deemed important for this distinction to be made. 4.2 Sample Description In this section the age, ethnicity, education, residence and household structure of the sample population are described and compared with regional and/or Victorian characteristics. 4.2.1 Age The sample held a large proportion of older women, seventy percent being over 40 years old. Similarities to the Victorian demographics in the 1999 ABS survey on Small Business (ABS 8127.0, 1999) are apparent. 31
  • 32. Table 4.1 Age Structure of Sample and Victorian Women’s Small Business Age range Sample % ABS % 1999 Under 30 6.7 7.5 Between 30 and 50 63.8 66.2 Over 50 29.5 26.4 4.2.2 Ethnicity The sample were almost all Australian born (90.5%) of whom 0.6% were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Of the 9.5% born overseas, none used a language other than English in their business dealings. One hundred percent of the sample therefore used English as their language for business. In the Western Region as a whole in 1996 97.1% used English at home (ABS, 1996.) Table 4.2 Place Of Birth And Ethnicity Of Sample And Region. Sample % Western Region % Overseas born 9.5 7.6 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders 0.6 0.7 NB. Statistics derived from 1996 Census, ABS 2901.0 Statistical Subdivisions of North and South Wimmera, Ballarat City, Western and Eastern Central Highlands. ABS 2000. Although typical of the region itself this aspect is less reflective of the Victorian small business population as a whole that had in 1999, 28% overseas born female owners (ABS 8127.0, 1999, p28). This study should not therefore be generalised to the wider Victorian situation in relation to issues affecting non-English speaking background. 4.2.3 Education Over half the sample had gone no further than high school, a situation certainly affected by the age of the sample. The following pie chart demonstrates the proportions of the variously qualified women. 32
  • 33. Figure 4.1 Highest Level Of Education In Sample currently studying 5.6% post graduate 7.5% high incomplete 35.1% degree or diploma 20.9% vocational 8.1% high school 22.8% This study sample was less well-educated than Victorian business women as a whole but there are more women with degrees and post graduate qualifications than women in the region generally. These were more likely to be held by sole operators or women in partnership with other women. Table 4.3 sets out this comparison. Table 4.3 Education Level of Sample By Region and Victorian Business Women (Per cent).* Sample Sole & With male Western Vic. Small Total female partner. Region Business partner. Women Did not finish 35 27 39 45 - High School Completed 23 24 23 30 46 High School Basic or Skilled 8 8 8 8 16 Vocational Degree or 21 22 20 10 34 Diploma Post Graduate 8 11 5 2 - Currently 6 8 5 5 - studying * Data on Western Region is adapted from Statistical Subdivision East and West Central Highlands, North and South Wimmera and Ballarat data (ABS 2901.0, 2000). B12 categories 16 years and under for ‘Age left School’ are taken as ‘Did Not Complete High School’, 17-18 are taken as Completed High School’, and Still at School for ‘studying’. For B17 data on qualifications, higher degree and post graduate diploma are merged for ‘Completed Post graduate’, Bachelor Degree and Undergraduate Diploma are merged for ‘Completed Degree or Diploma’ and Associate Diploma, Skilled Vocational and Basic Vocational are merged for Completed basic or Skilled training’. Victorian small business data from ABS 1999b. 33
  • 34. 4.2.4 Residence The pie chart Figure 4.2 Sets out the size of the towns in which survey respondents resided. The biggest proportions are living in Ballarat (the only town greater than 20,000) or in small towns between 1000-9999, but a sizable proportion of 18.2% lived in rural towns or areas with fewer than 500 people. Figure 4.2 Size Of Town/Area Of Residence of Sample Missing entries 1.9% bi-local less than 500 1.7% 17.8% over 20000 26.5% 500-999 10.3% 10000-19999 9.7% 1000-9999 32.0% Two of the towns in the Western Region have been identified as experiencing a population decline of over 10% between 1986 and 1996 (Ararat 14% and Beaufort 13.3%), so the reality for some of our sample is a declining local market (AusStat, 1999d). About a third of Australia’s small towns have been experiencing a decline, mostly in inland areas. Such people ‘risk losing their savings, livelihood and support systems as they confront the break up of their community, loss of jobs, deteriorating infrastructure and declining property values’ (ABS Australian Social Trends 1998, pp.1-7). Of the 48.8% of the Australian population who live in towns of less than 500,000 population (ABS Social Trends 1998) 31.9% live in towns of under 20,000 (cf sample 71.3%) and 10.9% in towns/areas of less than 1000 (sample 28.7%). So the sample may be seen as representing a more 34
  • 35. rural and small town demographic profile than general ‘non-city’ Australia. 4.2.5 Household Unit The household unit structures represented by Figure 4.3 reveal that 85.8% of the sample lived with a partner or with partner and dependents. This contrasts with the proportions of family/household types in the region in that there are fewer living alone and fewer living without partners. The age and life cycle of the women in the sample goes some way to explaining this, but it may also be an indication of a feature of business women and families. Figure 4.3 Household Living Arrangements of Sample other 2.5% no partner & deps alone 4.2% 7.5% partner and deps partner 42.3% 43.5% Victoria has a slower expected population growth than Australia as a whole. However one household type, female lone person, is projected to increase by between 51% and 86% between 1996 and 2021 (ABS Demography 3311.2, 1999). Not all of this anticipated growth is due to the ageing population and differing mortality rates between men and women. Greater numbers of women will never marry or have children (Australian Women’s Year Book, 4124.0, 1997). The fertility rate of the region is 1.9 (Central Highlands) and 2 (Wimmera) compared to the Victorian average of 1.7 (ABS 3311.2, 1999) which may also have a 35
  • 36. bearing on future household types and regional differences in family size. Table 4.4 Proportions of Sample Household Type Compared to Western Region (Percent) Family Household Type Sample Western Region Living Alone 7.5 13.3 Living With Partner 43.5 19.4 Living with partner & Dependents 42.3 54.2 Living without partner, with Dependents 4.2 5.7 Other 2.5 7.3 Source: ABS 2000, 2901.0 4.2.6 Summary Of Basic Demographic Data Descriptive frequencies on the characteristics of the survey sample reveal that a typical respondent was an Australian-born woman, over 40 years old, living with her partner, with or without dependents. She had a high school education and was likely to live in Ballarat or in a town of 1000-9999 people. In relation to age the sample reflects small business women generally but in ethnicity it reflects the Western region rather than Victorian small business in general. In education the sample differed from Victorian data, with lower qualifications but were still higher qualifications overall than for the rest of the population in the region. The sample lives in smaller and more rural areas than non -city Australia as a whole and two of the major towns have experienced significant population decline. In addition, the present sample is more likely to live with a partner and no dependents, than others in the region. 4.3 Business Basic Data 4.3.1 Premise Location And Industry Sector Figures 4.4 and 4.5 indicate the type of business premise and where this premise was located. Most business premises were shops/galleries but there were also a significant percentage with a home office or a town office or factory. A music teacher had an academy and a horse-riding business made 36
  • 37. use of a bush shed. Most businesses were in towns smaller than 10,000, in the town over 20,000 (Ballarat), or at home. Figure 4.4 Location of Business 40 30 20 10 Percent 0 ho to be 20 fa ot w rm he m ,0 tw n e 00 r ee le re ss n + si 11 de 10 -2 nc ,0 0, 0 e 00 0 0 The following Table shows the proportional representation of the different industry sectors in the sample compared with the proportions of female employees in those same industries in the western region. Figure 4.5 Type of Business Premises 50 40 30 20 10 Percent 0 de ho sh ho to fa m bu ac w rm ot sk m op m sh ad n el e e em of or sh at b& of sh fic fic ed y ho ga ed b e/ e m lle /s fa e ry tu ct di or o y 37
  • 38. The following table compared the sample representation with the industry sector employment of Western Region females. Table 4.5 Sample Representation Compared to Western Region Female Employment in Industry Sector Industry Sector Sample Female Western Region Business % (n 359) Female Employment % (n 28,377)* Mining 0 0.2 Manufacturing 12.5 8.6 Construction 2.2 1.5 Wholesale 1.7 2.7 Retail 34.3 18.2 Accommodation 16.4 6.5 Transport 1.1 1.5 Communications 2.5 1.3 Finance/Insurance 0.3 3.5 Property Services 5.3 6.1 Education 0.6 12.3 Health and Community Services 4.7 22.9 Cultural and Recreational 3.1 2.1 Personal & other 8.1 4.1 Agriculture 7.2 8.3 *Statistics derived from 1996 Census, ABS 2901.0 Statistical Subdivisions of North and South Wimmera, Ballarat City, Western and Eastern Central Highlands. ABS 2000. Electricity, Gas merged with Business and Property Services. All industry sectors except mining were therefore covered. Understandably employment in Health and Community Services and in Education, embracing as they do government employed teachers and nurses, are less represented by women in small business, while retail, accommodation/cafes and personal services are more significant. Appendix A lists all occupations alphabetically and reveals the continuing significance of a gender structured labour force. Whether the business was sole/female or partnered with a male also made a difference. For example those in partnership with males dominated in Construction (100%), Transport and Storage (100%), Farming and Agriculture (85%), Accommodation and Cafes (83%) and Manufacturing (76%). Sole women or women in business with another woman were more significant in Personal and Other Services (73%), Cultural and Recreational Services (73%), Health and Community Services (59%) and Property and Business Services (53%). 38
  • 39. 4.3.2 Age Of Business And How Started Table 4.6 Age of Business Years business % owned Up to 5 years 44 6-10 years 24 11-20 years 20 21 years or more 12 A little less than half the businesses (44%) were less than five years old, a finding parallel with that for Victoria in the ABS study of Small Business (8127.0, 2000 p.39). Mean years held was 12 years. Figure 4.6 demonstrates that most women (55%) either started the business themselves or purchased it as a going concern (38.5%). Figure 4.6 How Business was Acquired Missing entries 1.7% takeover partnership 1.1% obtain a franchise .8% buy going concern 37.9% start business 54.0% began direct selling .3% inherit 4.2% 4.3.3 Personal/Household Income Three quarters of the sample (75.2%) claimed that the business was the principal source of their personal income and a little less than two thirds (63.6%) stated that it was also the main source of their household 39
  • 40. income. The businesses surveyed were therefore generally perceived as much more important than ‘pin money’. There was a significant difference noted between the respondents who answered the above question affirmatively, and their profile (χ2 39.70, df = 1, p = <.001). Seventy six per cent (n = 167) of respondents (n = 221) who said that the business was the main source of household income were partnered with men, compared with 24% (n = 54) of sole/female operators. Understandably, there is a significant relationship between whether business is the main source of family income, and whether the respondent is partnered with a male or is a sole operator/female partnership. 4.3.4 Employees The mean number of people employed by the small businesses, including the owner/s was 5, though the standard deviation at 7 showed considerable range. The effective full time employees, also including the owners was 3.13 with a smaller standard deviation of 3.65. The 359 businesses surveyed were providing employment then for almost 1800 3 people in the region. Figure 4.7 Numbers of Employees in Businesses numbers employed 1 Other 5 2 4 3 3 As the survey was designed to include up to 20 full time employees it differed from the 1999 ABS research which in the absence of effective full time statistics, based its calculations on total employees. employment 40
  • 41. Table 4.7 Numbers Employed in Businesses Numbers employed % 1-4 69 5-9 19 10-19 8.4 20+ 3.6 4.3.5 Marketing, Raw Materials The major means of acquiring raw materials were through local distributors (58.6%) and deliveries from Melbourne (56.7%), though interstate deliveries and self-drive from Melbourne were also used by around a third of the respondents. The supply of services was more localised with almost two thirds acquiring them through local distributors. Self drive and deliveries from Melbourne were also important. The following table outlines the various sources of raw materials and services. Table 4.8 Source of Raw Materials and Services Source Raw Services Materials % % Local Distributor 59 64 Delivered from Melbourne 57 34 Interstate 34 17 Self-drive Melbourne 29 24 Carrier to nearest town 23 15 Mail Order 19 15 Overseas 8 4 Intermediaries 7 9 Major regional centre 2 2 Marketing and advertising by word of mouth (80%) was the most commonly reported method used but newspapers (50%), fliers (41%), shop fronts (42%) and existing personal relationships (40%) all featured prominently. Internet (17%) and television (12%) were used by a smaller minority. Marketing strategies also included more innovative methods such as combining farm stay with craft workshops. One respondent commented “Some of the customers came on the farm stay for ‘teddy weekends’ . These visitors tried to complete their craft project during their weekend stay, so they had on hand advice.” 41
  • 42. A woman who dealt in produce and saddlery talked about the customers’ positive response to the smell of leather, hay and feed in the store. Other women noted the potential for aroma to attract custom, as in the well-known baker of north-eastern Victoria who piped the smell of baking bread to the front of the shop. A manufacturing firm that sells nationally rather than locally wanted to move into international markets but did not fit the criteria for export help, (understood to include $500,000 turnover and 3 years of export experience). Furthermore they found it difficult to get a secure patent for their product and already someone had copied and was selling. “We now travel around at field days and take orders.” 4.3.6 Profit More than a fifth of the respondents failed to complete questions on profit and turnover but, of those who did, the category ‘did not make a profit’ was the largest. The low response on this question could indicate a resistance to revealing information they regarded as personal and confidential. Table 4.9 Per Annum Profit 1999-2000 Financial Year Frequency Valid Percent N = 280 Valid no profit 49 17.5 Less than $1,000 18 6.4 $1,000-$4,999 28 10.0 $5,000-$9,999 26 9.3 $10,000-19,999 46 16.4 $20,000-29,999 33 11.8 $30,000-49,999 31 11.1 $50,000-74,999 26 9.3 $75,000-99,999 10 3.6 $100,000+ 13 4.6 Total 280 100.0 Missing System 79 Total 359 Figure 4.8 reveals that 39% claimed a profit of between $10,000 and $50,000, 43% claiming less than $10,000 profit. Figure 4.8 Reported Per Annum Profit 1999-2000 42
  • 43. no profit Missing entries 13.6% 22.0% less than $1,000 5.0% $100,000+ $1,000-$4,999 3.6% 7.8% $75,000-99,999 2.8% $5,000-$9,999 $50,000-74,999 7.2% 7.2% $30,000-49,999 $10,000-19,999 8.6% 12.8% $20,000-29,999 9.2% Figure 4.9 indicates that the most commonly reported response was a turnover of $100,000-300,000. Figure 4.9 Turnover 1999-2000 40 30 20 10 Percent 0 $0 $1 $2 $5 $1 30 50 1, 00 0, - 0, 0 0, 00 0, $9 ,0 00 0, 00 00 00 ,0 0 ,9 00 0- 0- 0 0- 0- 0- 9 0- 0+ 9 $4 $4 $1 $9 $9 $2 9 9 9 9 9 ,9 9 9, ,9 ,9 9, 9, 99 9 9 9 99 9 9 9 99 9 9 9 Figures 4.10 And 4.11 indicate reported sales growth and percentage of export sales. Almost a half reported that their growth was moderately strong or rapid and, given that 164 did not reply to the question on export sales and 87% of those who did reply, had ‘none’, it can be argued that this aspect was not important to most businesses. 43
  • 44. Figure 4.10 Reported Sales Growth 1999-2000 nil or declining Missing entries 12.0% 18.1% rapid (25%+) 7.2% low (< 10%) 26.2% mod strong (10-24%) 36.5% Figure 4.11 sets out the reported export sales of the sample. Figure 4.11 Percentage of Reported Export Sales Missing entries 0% 45.7% 47.1% 40%+ 1-9% 2.2% 3.1% 20-39% .8% 10-19% 1.1% The following Pie chart reveals that a large majority of respondents report themselves as keeping up or performing well in comparison to their competitors. 44
  • 45. Figure 4.12 Self Reports of Business Status Compared to Competitors Missing 2.8% not applicable 3.6% surviving 1.1% struggling 8.1% growing/perf well 49.6% keeping up 34.8% Given the number of missing responses and reasonably significant numbers who reported no or low profits, in contrast to positive self reports of ‘growing moderately strongly’ and ‘performing well’, it is somewhat difficult to come to a definite conclusion about how the businesses were faring in reality. Up to half appear quite optimistic and positive. 4.3.7 Sole And Partnered In defining the categories ‘sole operator’; ‘in partnership with female/s’, ‘in partnership with male/s, shared leading role’ and ‘in partnership with male/s, leading role’ the survey followed the Yellow Pages Small Business Index, Special Report (1996, p.1). Table 4.10 Sets out the ownership proportions of the sample in comparison to the Yellow Pages survey. This research sample has more sole operators and fewer women who play a leading role when in business with a male than the yellow pages survey. A little less than two thirds of the sample are in partnership with a male. 45
  • 46. Table 4.10 Business Ownership Structure of Sample and Yellow Pages Survey Category of Ownership Sample % Yellow Pages Survey % Sole Operator 33.6 15 In partnership with female/s 3 3 In partnership with male/s shared leading role 56 59 In partnership with male/s 6.7 22 leading role 4.3.8 Summary Of Business Basic Data Of the businesses surveyed a third were sole operated and most of the rest involved partnerships with men. Most were in shops, offices, factories or private homes in small towns or Ballarat. The business women had a similar engagement in female industrial sectors except that there were more in retail, accommodation and personal services and less in education and health. Almost half the businesses were quite recent and most started or purchased their business rather than inheriting them. Income from the business was an important source of personal and household finance. The mean effective number of full time employees in the businesses was three. Local distributors were most important for raw materials and services and the most important form of advertising was ‘word of mouth’. Almost half of those who responded to questions on profit were optimistic about the state of their business. In terms of comparisons with wider surveys the Western Region businesses from the sample were younger and more likely to be sole operated. 4.4 Business Themes And Issues 4.4.1 Finance Start up finance ranged from a few hundred dollars to a million dollars with 62% of responses starting with less than $50,000. The same proportion used their own money, with 50% also using banks. A Mann-Whitney Test of independent samples indicated that there is a significant difference between the amount of ‘start-up’ finance and the “profile” of the respondent (µ 5583, p <.001). The amount of start up finance where businesses were operated on a partnership with a male (n = 155) was significantly higher (median = $45,000) compared to those in sole/female operation (n = 102), (median $17,500). 46
  • 47. Sixty percent of respondents were dependent on loans and 50%, at least partially, upon their own savings. This was a common situation for those women who preferred to avoid risk. For those women who preferred to avoid risk a typical comment was, I had no trouble with finance as I started the business with my own savings and the bank knew my partners from growing up in the town. I would not like the pressure of paying back so much if I had borrowed to begin. Those who borrowed for start up finance usually used the money to buy or build the business though in a number of cases it was used for stock and tools and equipment as well. Of some interest were those who gained money from father (8%), mother (5%) and those who sold assets (9%) to gain money. There is a significant relationship between respondents who sought to borrow, and their partnership profile (χ2 8.329, df = 1, p = .004). Of those who sought to borrow for their business activities, 71% were in a partnership (n = 121), compared to 29% of respondents (n = 49) who were sole/female operators. There was also a significant relationship between those who were successful in borrowing and their partnership profile (χ2 10.344, df = 1, p = <.001). Of the respondents who had successfully borrowed for ongoing business activities, 77% were in a partnership (n = 105) compared to only 23% of sole/female operators (n = 32). Ten percent of respondents applied for, but were refused finance to start their business. The differing outcomes with respect to gaining finance potentially affects size, growth and profitability of business. A number of studies previously mentioned have shown that women derive lower income than men from small business, however there are characteristics of women’s businesses that explain such results, none the least the issue of difficulty in getting finance. Women in this research too have cited discriminatory treatment by financiers. There is a significant relationship between respondents and sought to borrow and their profile (χ2 8.329, df = 1, p = .004). Of those who sought to borrow 47
  • 48. for their business activities, 71% were in a partnership (n = 121), compared to 29% of respondents (n = 9) who were sole operators. There was also a significant relationship between those who were successful in borrowing and their profile (χ2 10.344, df = 2, p = .001). Of the respondents who had successfully borrowed from ongoing business activities, 77% were in partnership (n = 105) compared to only 23% of sole/female operators (n = 32). Table 4.11 sets out the proportions for reasons given for the 36 who had finance rejected at start up phase and those 24 women who were refused a loan to finance on-going business activities such as expansion. Table 4.11 Reasons for Refusal of Finance Reason given Percentage of Percentage of Responses Responses re start re growth (n = 24) up (n = 36) Not enough security 33 38 Insufficient cash flow 33 29 No business plan 20 17 Unable to service loan 13 12.5 Unemployed/other 2 4 Examination of the experiences of women who had been refused start-up loans showed that the sorts of responses found by Sykes (1989), that focussed on negative attitudes about women’s ability to manage businesses, were still given by financiers. Because of the perceived risk of lending to women, security was required by women attempting to set up business on their own. Typically, in a number of cases the “security” involved providing a male guarantor. The following are comments made by two women in partnerships with men. I was 22 years old and told I was too young and inexperienced to own a business. They would however give me a loan if my husband was a partner – who knew nothing about the business. I used my own money. I am still told by the banks that it would be better for my husband to be doing the financial matters. I had to have my mother and father’s land as security to borrow $25,000. I was told it was too big a risk even though I provided $10,000 of own money. On the other hand one woman was told that the amount she wished to borrow was not large enough for a loan. Some anecdotal evidence exists that 48
  • 49. those wishing to borrow small amounts of money, for business or otherwise, are encouraged to use their credit cards. This was indeed the experience mentioned by a respondent. The bank manager had suggested to her that, rather than take out a loan, she should survive on bankcard. The woman in question chose to save the amount instead. Women on their own attempting to get finance were at times treated by financiers in a way which one woman describes as “Their attitude was very ‘look down the nose’”. Another woman commented that, “I did a business plan but they (the financier) were still not happy. Arrogant bank manager. He was OK while my husband was there.” One woman, attempting to start her business on her own found herself with a $50,000 debt and in a ‘Catch 22’ situation. She described how, I was granted a $50,000 business loan. I needed an extra $15,000 to complete the set up and stock but the bank would not give this for 6 months. … luckily I was able to rely on my husband, so my husband took out a private loan. At this point she was in debt but could not start her business to generate income. Financiers also refused loans on the basis of age and lack of business experience. “I’ve never owned a business before so it’s assumed I don’t know what I’m doing!” Almost half of the women (49.7%) had sought to borrow for ongoing business activities and most of these (41% of 49.7%) had been successful. Those 24 who were unsuccessful (See table 4.11) were provided with similar reasons by financiers as those women who were refused loans for start-up. We were refused a loan later, 10 years into the business, to expand – the reason given that it really only was “just a small women’s business” but was later retracted on discriminatory grounds, when the accountant stepped in. Even when a business may have been operating relatively successfully some women nevertheless had to rely on male partners to get a loan. Age was again another reason given for refusal. As one woman said, “I was too old.” 49
  • 50. A woman in business on her own who did not attempt to borrow money cynically commented, I have not sought support from a financial institution since becoming a sole parent in 1997, because I know from past association with banks that my present status as a single parent/sole trader makes them consider me to be a poor risk, therefore discrimination. Financiers perception of women as poor financial managers is not supported in practice. Of the women in this study, the majority (68%) did their own bookkeeping during operation, 18% paid someone to do their books and 13% made use of kin, (mostly husbands). 4.4.2 Risk And Planning Women’s cognisance of the need for risk planning and financial planning are exemplified in their responses to questions of how they managed on-going operations of their businesses. In terms of planning, 58% had a formal business plan, 78% a financial plan and 74% formal goal setting and planning. In ‘attitude to risk’ responses varied but few opted for the ‘big financial injection’ (4.4%). Respondents were almost equally divided in their perception of whether they were a risk avoider (55%) or risk taker (42%) and some insisted that they were both or ‘in between’ (3%). In order to manage risks most opted for goal planning (63%) or having a contingency plan (42%). A small minority (5.5%) acknowledged they ‘go for broke’. Many women wrote comments relative to how they manage risk. The women in business on their own who were risk avoiders expressed some degree of caution relative to taking risks in the setting up and operation of their businesses. As one woman said, “I am not making a large net profit. I would never have started my business except for the fact of an independent income”, and one of the 26.3% women who stated that they prefer to avoid borrowing said “I try small then grow and develop if I’m on the right track. I am a risk avoider and prefer to avoid bank loans.” Similar sentiments were expressed by women in business with men who were risk avoiders, “I am self financed and I only take risks I can afford to 50
  • 51. lose,” and “I never put the house and basic pension income at risk. So if the business should fail, one is still OK.” Eleven percent of respondents stated that they had strategies in place to manage risk. “I know that I’m not dependent on the business for survival. I have eggs in different baskets,” and “I know exactly how much I need to cover all the bills and rent every week. After that it is a profit.” Slightly less than half of all respondents (42.1%) saw themselves as risk takers, though only 38.1% were women in business by themselves or with a woman and 44.9% of them had male partners. One woman with a male partner said that, “I rely on my husband and a little bit of go for broke,” and a woman in partnership with a man who described herself as a risk taker said, “We call it taking calculated risks” but another added, “I married the right man.” One female sole operator maintained, “I manage risk by just deciding and doing it” while a second woman said, “To go into business certain risks must be taken unless you are already wealthy.” 4.4.3 Perceived Hindrances Lack of finance, confidence and prior experience were the most acknowledged factors inhibiting start up phase of the business. Comparable proportions (34%-39%) believed that finance, mentors, training courses and financial advice would have helped them in start up. The main inhibiting factor at operation of the business once again was lack of finance though 50% of respondents had not sought to borrow for on-going business activities such as expansion. Most (41%) of the 49.7% who had attempted to borrow more money were successful. Lack of time was the other major barrier (47%) that women identified as getting in the way of the successful operation of the businesses. Of the factors limiting business growth, time and competition are the most important. 51
  • 52. Table 4.12 Factors Hindering Business Percentages rounded. Factor Start up Operation % of % of Cases Cases Lack of finance 43 49 Lack of time 47 Lack of community support 8 16 Lack of confidence 30 16 Lack of prior experience 30 10 Lack of information 23 Lack of information and support services 18 10 Bank not treating seriously 17 Lack of child care 15 9 Lack of infrastructure 13 7 Accountant not treating seriously 7 Lack of support from spouse/partner 6 Different family priorities 6 Staffing 2 Space 2 Government/GST/tax office 2 Type of business partnership had some influence. Lack of finance did not differentiate between the partnership profiles, nor did lack of access to information. In addition, rejection, lack of prior experience, and lack of information and support services did not differentiate between the categories. However, lack of confidence was statistically significant (χ2 9.991, df = 1, p = .002). On this question, 71% of respondents who said that lack of confidence was not a problem were in a partnership with a man, and 29% were sole/female operators. Competition ( n = 95 in partnership, n = 42 sole operators), time available (n = 52 partnered, n = 49 sole) and size of outlet (n = 13 partnered, n = 6 sole operators) were the most frequently answered responses in relation to factors limiting growth. No significant difference was noted in the profile of the respondents on lack of finance, confidence, community support, childcare, prior experience, time or information and support services, tax office, staffing, Government or GST. In addition, area profile, different family priorities and weather did not differentiate the groups. However, on the item ‘bank not treating you seriously’, at on-going operation phase, a significant relationship was noted (χ2 9.201, df = 1, p = .002). The majority of respondents who stated that the bank had not treated them 52
  • 53. seriously were sole operators (77%, n = 10) compared to 23% who were in a partnership (n = 3). (Once again, attention is drawn to the small number of respondents in this analysis). In contrast, 65% of individuals who had no concerns with their treatment from the banks were in a partnership, as compared with 35% of sole operators. In addition, lack of infrastructure and profile also differentiated the groups (χ25.08, p<.05). Lack of infrastructure was seen as a factor which hindered or inhibited operation or business by 884% (n = 15) of respondents who were in a partnership, compared to 12% of sole operators (n = 2). Because of the small numbers in this analysis, the results cannot be used for the purposes of generalisation. During the focus group discussions the factors inhibiting start-up and operation were explained in greater depth. The women there highlighted the areas of childcare, infrastructure and government and availability of information, knowledge and skills as also being major barriers. Discussion around housework and childcare exposed the women’s reality of “you’ll always be responsible for the children’ and ‘that’s the trouble, we have to do it all now”. As members of one group concluded: “Being ‘superwoman’ is not something we should have to aspire to”. “Often a male’s perception of helping out is either not up to standard or not a full equal responsibility”. “In many rural areas child care is almost non existent or may involve a long drive to relations”. In one town only one person was registered to run Family Day Care and a high school girl did baby sitting, but only out of school hours. She often had to be transported long distances to client’s premises. Women noted that many grandmothers were doing the child minding and some were being paid. Alternatively relatives helped with childcare but for several, the children were brought up in the business – neither they nor their mothers thought this was bad for them. Two women commented that twenty years ago when both started their businesses they had to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’. There was no child- 53
  • 54. care. If one wanted to work she had to do it from home and combine it with child rearing. One said that it would take ‘generations’ before anything really changes in relation to child rearing responsibility and housework. The women maintained that there was a strong need for affordable childcare. Whilst the issue of adequate childcare was clearly an important issue, so too were concerns about the level of government regulation. Forms of regulation by authorities and various levels of government was an area frequently commented upon in focus groups, though not addressed specifically in the survey. Over regulation was the term used to describe what they felt were unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. For example significant frustration was felt about the amount of paper work, especially relative to the GST. There was a perception that there were many levels of bureaucracy to get through even for simple issues such a taking on a trainee. As one woman concluded, “Dealing with a big organisation is very difficult.” Over regulation was also considered to be a problem in areas such as health, hygiene, sewerage and so on. Other examples were the expense in meeting the standards, for example health regulations requiring $30,000 for a septic system. One woman also maintained that, “Even when there is a bushfire the women are no longer able to bring cooked food from home to feed the men because of hygiene rules.” Regulations also placed barriers on stalls in the street. Furthermore it was claimed that regulations were “… killing voluntary cooperation. It has stopped cooperative fencing and cropping.” The issue of taxation was a bone of contention. Taxation and GST include hidden costs that a retailer cannot pass on and there is much ‘down time’ trying to sort out tax mistakes. The problem with taxation is that there is no human intervention or overall appreciation of the logic of how it all works until well down the line when there is a problem. In many situations you have to go through eight different people, who give different opinions and advice, so perhaps you may as well just wait until you hear one you agree with. Payroll tax was also seen as a burden and there was also complaint of a double tax, where shop insurance had both stamp duty and GST. 54
  • 55. Employment policies were blamed for the difficulties in dealing with public service bureaucracies. “The people we deal with are all on short contracts so there is a lack of security and of continuity in dealing with government services.” One woman now has a personal policy to avoid direct contact with the authorities – she just does what she wants to. There was general agreement because of the mire of legislation and regulation at various levels of government, accessing information was not always easy. Respondents seemed to feel that local Government should be the entry point to an overview of all schemes relevant to those in small business in rural area. Some women found difficulty accessing the information they needed to start (23.1%) and run their businesses. Lack of prior experience was cited by 30.6% at start-up phase as a major reason. Women were forced to learn completely new skills for example dealing with technology. One woman found barriers in learning about export and claimed that, “it is a nightmare”. She had to find out about customs laws and exchange rates on the internet and found it hard to work in two time frames to communicate with Asia. For another the major barrier was finding out how to do things, like use computers. She eventually found a book which, … took you through 24 hour steps to create your own web page. Local libraries should stock such user friendly books but they claim the software changes too quickly. People who do not have the time to attend courses can work through the skills at home by themselves in their own time. 4.4.4 Business Style The most important sources of information that aided the sample businesses were professionals such as accountants and solicitors, with magazines and journals and mentors next in significance. Newspapers, then radio, television and internet were not far behind. While some read local newspapers generally others focused on specific industry related sections of The Age or subscribed to industry specific journals. Business communication style with friends and acquaintances was overwhelmingly ‘face to face’ (71%), most using this method for interaction 55
  • 56. with experts and specialists, suppliers as well (41%), although in this case telephone was used in 23% of the cases. Only 141 of the sample communicated with Women’s or Business organisations and here telephone contact (40%) was more important than face to face (31%) and email contact not insignificant (14.9%). Most of the women seemed to prefer face to face communication though this was not always possible. For reasons of distance, time and lack of effectiveness their preferred communication style was not always used. Except for experts/suppliers, email contact was preferred over fax, “Sometimes face to face contact would be better re experts/specialists advice etc. But generally, telephone contact possibly followed up with fax/email is sufficient.” For rural business in particular it is not always possible to have face to face contact as expressed by one woman “It is hard to be face to face when you are 300 kilometres apart.” The situation for rural women is summed up by one woman: As we work in a relatively isolated area, most ordinary information gathering must be done remotely. Phone contact at least initially is most efficient, and I use either phone, fax or email as the situation requires. Networking is a critical communication factor in both the start up and operation phases of a business. Networking activities that worked for various women were both formal and informal. All agreed that knowing what is available has been important. For one woman being in Rotary helped. She also has good contacts with the Council (local government). Another knew all the main courier services. For two businesses a good network of friends delivered and picked up parts when they were already going to Ballarat. At a focus group discussion women had mixed responses when asked if they wanted a women’s business network. They were interested but thought that women need to think they are getting something out of it – some skill or motivation. One hundred and thirty people in Ararat attended a business dinner with a motivational talk by football coach David Parkin. If something, even one thought or idea is gained from a meeting or network, it can be seen as worth the effort. 56
  • 57. Networking and asking questions, as stated, was a common way of gaining information, especially at start up. One woman mentioned a male mentor who had been in the same business. He advised her to buy what she liked and set the trend, to avoid over buying and to buy within the clients’ market. She had followed this advice successfully. Networking between business people also occurred. The women particularly mentioned the encouragement from other traders and locals when someone opened up a business, for example flowers and cards were given. When one woman began her business, everyone in the street called in and gave her bouquets of flowers to welcome her. Happy customers also helped to promote business and word passes around through sporting and other clubs. The networking and communication styles of female business operators largely informed the way they dealt with staff. Most respondents reported themselves as having a responsive management style with staff. Relative to participative management and decision making 39.3% chose the option that they “presented ideas and invited suggestions before making a decision” and 23% thought that to “allow subordinates to function independently within limits” reflected their decision making style the best. A minority of respondents used authoritarian styles or at the other end of the continuum, laissez faire styles. Four percent said they would make decisions, “then announce it to the staff” and 3% would let the staff make group decisions. Ultimately almost all those with staff presented themselves as having flexibility and authority in relation to staff management. The relationship women business owners have with staff is demonstrated in their responses to general employee relations questions (see Table 4.13). Those respondents for whom the question was applicable indicated overwhelmingly that they had both flexibility and authority. 57
  • 58. Table 4.13 Staff Management Style Staff management % True Staff willingly work back when required 95% Staff have a say over when they take their annual leave and some flexibility to suit family needs. 94% I generally feel that I have the skills required to effectively manage my staff. 94% Staff respect my authority 98% The final category of exploring business style focussed on respondents’ use of information technology. Three quarters (75.5%) of the sample had access to the internet through a computer. Interestingly there was a higher proportion of internet access among this sample than in the ABS survey of 1999 in which 33% had access to the internet. Of those who had access to the internet 68% used it for email, 58% for research, and 12.5% to conduct main business activities such as buying and selling. Furthermore, as many as 27% had their own home page. Table 4.14 Use of Internet by Sample and Australian Small Business Women Use of Internet Sample % ABS Australian Small Business %* Access to Internet 75.5 33 Email 68 25 Research 58 23 Buying or selling 12.5 5 Website or homepage 27 6 * Predominantly female operators. (ABS 8127.0 1999) Though email is widely used it is not preferred. Although telecommunications makes it possible to work from different home bases, I felt that you need the direct and immediate response through a telephone call, where there is banter, a personal relationship and the chance to check up on something on the spot. Although generally the take up of information technology is positive for some it was still seen as a barrier. One businesswoman had tried a computer course in order to learn excel but found it “a bit fast” and could not keep up. This year she has not even set up the excel for her tax. She now rarely puts the computer on as she is “so busy”. Another woman also commented on difficulty with new technology. She is convinced local libraries should stock such user friendly books but says that library staff claim the software changes too quickly. She said that people 58
  • 59. who don’t have the time to attend courses can “… work through the skills at home by themselves in their own time.” A third woman did not quite trust computer technology, …you cannot rely on computer inventories - you need someone to really check up on the shelves. Ecommerce would not work for me, though I may get listed on the town web page. Although access to technology is high some problems with application remain which may become relevant for training issues. 4.4.5 Training And Background Most (72%) of the sample had work experience before setting up their business and the most useful aspects of this experience for their business, according to proportion of total responses, were customer service and management skills (33.5%); same industry experience (27.4%) and bookkeeping (25.5%). Respondents were asked if they were aware of, made use of and found useful a number of specialist services and courses for the start up phase of their small businesses. Of some interest are the following items. Table 4.15 Use of Services by Sample Percentages of valid cases on all training options* Training Course/ Aware available Used Found Useful Service Agency NEIS 31 6 13 Australian Taxation Office 39 29 9 Chambers of Commerce 60 8 4 Women’s Assoc/networks 25 5 4 Accountants 24 39 32 Solicitors 37 34 17 Other eg. Colleagues 9 25 43 *Percentages refer to the valid responses for each column category and bear no relation to other columns. In terms of help available the sample endorses the importance of colleagues, accountants and New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), had some reservations about the Tax Office and solicitors and made limited use of Chambers of Commerce and Women’s Associations. 59
  • 60. Training is a practical area that governments can respond to, hence considerable resources are committed in this area. There were some concerns expressed about the quality and experience of those running business training courses. I am very suspicious of courses, I feel that anyone running a course for business needs to have hands on experience. If not, all I have had anything to do with live in a fantasy business world and do more harm than good. In spite of some complaints about inappropriate content, timing, place, cost and eligibility of courses (12%) and a few who thought they were poorly run (4%), most women found the course they did useful. The NEIS was particularly commended, as the following comments highlight: NEIS was most useful in providing bookwork skills and knowledge necessary for our business. NEIS gives us security to get through the teething stages of starting up, and assists us with any unanswered questions we may have. I used the NEIS scheme which helped set out my business plan, helped finance while starting, and provided continual back-up in case of any problems. The NEIS scheme helped us to make a business plan, and showed us how to budget to keep us afloat. NEIS course was most useful in helping with confidence and forming contacts. Free information and mentoring was great. It was comforting to know NEIS was available if needed. However, few of the women who were aware of NEIS actually made use of it, see Table 4.15. The restrictive eligibility criteria were one reason cited by those who were aware of the NEIS program but who did not make use of it. I asked about NEIS but they said I wouldn’t qualify. I had a determination to succeed and did a Horticultural course at Longerenong. I also used common sense and hard work. Those women who lived in or close to Ballarat or close enough to other TAFE colleges or other providers found the business related courses run by these institutions very useful. For example “My first year of marketing at TAFE produced a marketing plan which was useful. Computer technology at BRACE was also very useful,” and “I did a small business bookkeeping management course through BRACE which was excellent and didn’t consume too much time. I did extra hard work, learning the hard way.” 60
  • 61. That most women who completed courses found them useful suggests that extension of TAFE and other small business courses could also be considered. This need was evident in the following responses: I did a small short business course at TAFE before starting a business that was very basic. I made a huge amount of mistakes in the early days of the business. Took a long time to learn to get education before mistakes. Industry courses have been excellent; there is a huge gap in education on delivery of customer service, effective communication, goal setting, etc. Of some interest are the responses from 206 respondents who set out how they compensated for a lack of courses. Table 4.16 How Lack Of Training Compensated For Factor Percentage of responses Experience or professional qualif. 35 Self taught 11.8 Use/employment of specialist 11.4 Trial and error 11.4 Mentor/seeking advice 10.6 Instinct/gut feeling 8.5 Perseverance/hard work 6.3 Organised own training 4 Strength of partner relationship 1 Prior experience and (less often) professional qualifications were perceived as very important. Thirty-one percent of women stated that they had experience in a similar or the same industry. Twenty-nine percent had bookkeeping skills 47.8 had customer service, staff supervision and management experience. Of the latter group often the skills were acquired whilst working previously in a similar industry, as noted by one woman, “Twelve years retail experience helped me to cope as six years had been in management.” Another woman summed up with: Although formal training has its place, nothing teaches you more quickly than practice and mistakes and listening to other people. My family had their own small business. I love owning my own business. The skills and knowledge gained from professional qualifications were also used. My management certificate provided me with clearer objectives, and allowed me to formulate my business plans. I still use my knowledge re marketing, finances etc. most days. I continue to use my Bus. Grad. Certificate skills as I operate the business. 61
  • 62. The Diploma of Management was excellent to build my business/management skills. I also learned through trial and error. I had accountant support and network support in the region. As one woman concluded, “You can’t beat experience.” There was also an interesting minority opinion voiced concerning a natural proclivity for business expressed as ‘instinct’, ‘gut feeling’, and ‘common sense’. This is exemplified by the following comments: “I used my brains”, “I had to use my own gut feelings,” and “I used my common sense, that’s all that is necessary. I read instructions re tax returns or car fix-up manuals. Read.” Additionally women spoke of trial and error, learning on the job (being self-taught) and the importance of mentors. Women who were in a business partnership could also draw on their husband’s or male partner’s experience. Many of those women commented on the invaluable help this gave them. For example “My husband had prior qualifications,” and “My partner had been in small business before, same industry, and had much experience.” Of more importance however is making use of specialists, with 38.6% of women making use of accountants. “At the time of setting up business, minimal help was available – Accountant the best. I managed hard work by asking questions.” At the conclusion of the survey, respondents were asked what courses or training they would like to see available. Almost all who responded asked for small face-to-face workshops (94%). Only 8% of cases wanted internet chat groups. More than half wanted courses at night, 27% wanted day time courses and a little less than half wanted part time (49%). Table 4.17 below indicates the percentage of cases requesting various types of course content. The three most important were Marketing, Financial and Promotion. 62
  • 63. Table 4.17 Courses Desired By Sample Content Percentage of cases Marketing 61 Financial 50 Promotion 49 Computer 38 Interpersonal skills 22 Internet 20 Staff supervision 16 Ecommerce 15.5 Export 7 Other 7 In terms of accessing courses a number of respondents commented on the difficulty getting to the larger regional centres where many courses are conducted. At a focus group meeting the comment was made that, “The main talks, seminars that we’d like to attend are in Melbourne.” A suggestion for self-paced learning (correspondence and internet based) was made. For example “There are some training courses that I would be interested in. E.g. Workcare, Workplace relations, Awards etc. but they tend to be in Melbourne and expensive for us,” and “I am really unable to leave work early. Self-paced learning is the best and would need to be of a standard that would be useful.” 4.4.6 Domestic/Family Issues Underpinning many of the constraints facing women in business are issues concerning household responsibilities and kinship links. When asked which household tasks they were mostly responsible for, business women responded in a way that clearly reflected a gendered household division of labour, but they also revealed significant involvement in outdoor, ‘male’ activities. 63
  • 64. Table 4.18 Proportion with Most Responsibility for Domestic Task by Business Operation Task % Sole female & % Females in % Total female & female partnership with n =352 n = 130 males n= 222 Minding children 33.8 43.9 38.7 Transporting 36.9 43.2 40.7 children Cleaning house 87.6 91 89.8 Cleaning clothes 94.6 91 92.9 Cleaning dishes 81.5 84.2 83.3 Buying food 91.5 91.4 91.5 Cooking food 89.2 91 90.4 Maintaining garden 60.8 56.3 58.2 Lawn mowing 26.9 24.8 26 Waste handling 45.4 37.8 40.7 Maintaining 30 18.9 23.2 vegetable garden House/car 40.8 23 29.9 maintenance Budgeting & bills 81.5 77 78.8 Almost all women, whether in partnership with a male, or in business on their own or with a female, were mostly responsible for cleaning clothes, buying and cooking food and cleaning the house. The style of partnership made a notable difference for maintaining a vegetable garden, minding children, waste handling, and house and car maintenance. Here sole operators and those few with a female business partner had more primary responsibilities. Business partners were almost all family members, mostly husbands (n =203). Other family members included sister (4), mother (2), father (3), brother (3) and, where there was a second partner, child (12). The most common reason for forming a partnership was the close kin or residential tie (n = 117) but a number of others noted that access to complementary skills was important (n = 55) and, to a lesser extent, business network (11), finance (11) and tax minimisation (11). Women in business with females were mainly so because of close kin ties (6) or complementary skills (3). Family members were also those most noted for offering unpaid labour and advice. The numbers who answered this question (and who did not) give the impression that sole operators were more reliant on family and friends than others and less likely to gain unpaid helped from local and state government sources, but numbers are too small to attach statistical significance. 64
  • 65. Table 4.19 Sources Of Unpaid Help Noted By Total Numbers Business Operation* Source % Sole female % Females & & females males Family 41.5 29.7 Friends 19.2 11.7 Associates 4.6 5 Suppliers 5.4 7.2 Local Nil 3.2 Govt.Authorities State Nil 2.7 Government Other 3.1 1.8 * Responses relating to help were compared to total number of women in different partnership arrangements, rather than those who answered this question. The type of help offered was mainly work in the business (n = 72), advice (40), childcare and housework (24) and cleaning and maintenance of business (22). The type of help was not altered by the type of business operation. Many could not estimate the time given to these activities per week but of the 139 who did, unpaid help given amounted to a mean of 8.8 hours a week (median 5, mode 2 and standard deviation 12.2). Family help extended for some to financial aid for start up of business. Fathers were mentioned by 8% (over-represented by sole–female businesses with 14, compared with 13 responses) of the sample and mothers by 5% (over-represented by sole/female businesses with 8 c.f. 7 responses). Most, as stated, were reliant on their own (and partners’) savings and bank loans. Although responses were rather small for some of these issues, questions relating to domestic issues reveal the continuing overwhelming responsibility for domestic work by women and the centrality of marriage partners to their business partnerships noted in focus groups. Some unpaid family help on businesses is strong and a minority received financial aid from family members. On a number of these measures sole women and women with female partners differ, undertaking more of the outside domestic tasks and receiving more help from family members. 4.4.7 Time 65
  • 66. Figure 4.13 demonstrates the average hours per week that women estimated they spent on domestic tasks. (The detailed task-related questions were designed as a memory aid for this estimation.) Over half of the respondents work more than 20 hours a week and almost a fifth, more than 40 hours a week on domestic tasks. Figure 4.13 Average Hours per Week on Domestic Tasks Missing entries 2.5% less than 10 hours over 40 hours 12.3% 17.8% 30-39 hours 10.9% 10-19 hours 31.5% 20-29 hours 25.1% Group discussions revealed that women’s biggest constraint is time. They know what they have to do but do not have time to do it, or do it well. Recently at a meeting of farm women from Nhill, they were advised by the facilitator to take off a day a week for their family, and the response was incredulous laughter. Other women too spoke of their responsibilities arising out of gendered expectations. Some women feel isolated because, even if they could afford to pay for household services like cleaning, they are too far out from town, so have to do it all themselves. Two said they would “feel bad” about paying out for something they could do. It was hard to get someone to ‘run a house’. Some women had minimal help with ironing etc. and some were not negative about housework. If their partner took the long shift at work they were given the flexibility to start later and do other things. One found the break from home office work useful. Vacuuming for one woman was a physical release that allowed thinking time. An older woman in retail however expressed anger at having to do all the housework and household organisation, as well as running a business. 66
  • 67. When the survey data on domestic work data was cross-tabulated with type of business operation some differences were perceived. Female sole operators and those in partnership with women were likely to work fewer hours on domestic tasks in spite of their acknowledgement that they were mainly responsible for more tasks. More, however, did perceive that the time on domestic tasks was likely to increase in the next 5 years. Table 4.20 Estimation of domestic work in five years by business operation Estimation % Sole female & females % Females & males Stay same 56.6 62.7 Decrease 24 26.4 Increase 19.4 10.9 Given past research that suggests that women may have only a part-time commitment to business, it is noteworthy that more than half of the sample work more than 40 hours a week on the business activity and a fifth work more than 60 hours per week. Figure 4.14 Average Hours Per Week Put Into Business Missing entries 1.1% more than 80 hours less than 20 hours 8.4% 13.9% 60-79 hours 12.8% 20-29 hours 11.7% 30-39 hours 12.8% 40-59 hours 39.3% A bigger proportion of sole female operators worked 40-59 hours a week in comparison with women in partnership with men. The latter, however, had proportionally more working over 80 hours a week. Table 4.21 Hours Worked In Business By Business Operation 67
  • 68. Hours % Sole & female % Partner with male $Total n = 127 n =224 Less than 20 11.8 15.2 14.1 20-29 11 12.1 11.8 30-39 16.5 11.2 13 40-59 45.7 36.2 39.7 60-79 11.8 13.8 13 80+ 3.1 11.6 8.5 There is a statistically significant difference between the hours spent in a business, and whether the respondent was partnered or in sole operation (χ2 11.406, df = 5, p = <.05). Of those who put in less than 20 hours per week on their business, 69% were in partnership with males, (n = 34) compared to 31% of sole/female operators (n = 15). Furthermore, for respondents who put in more than 80 hours per week, 87% of this group were in a partnership with a male (n = 26), compared to 13% (n = 4) of women in sole/ female partner operation. Those in partnerships with males therefore more likely to do both low part-time hours as well as extremely high hours. Over half the sample wished that the time they put into the business could decrease. Given that when business workloads are added to domestic workloads many women were working in excess of 80 hours a week, the wish for the workload to decrease is understandable. Table 4.22 Preferred Time Commitment Desired time % Sole female & % Females & males Total females Decrease 49.6 57.5 54 Stay same 36.8 32.1 33 Increase 13.6 10.4 12 4.4.8 Indicators of Success Objective Success Indicators A main objective of the research was to attempt to isolate features associated with success. Usual indicators of success for economists include profit and turnover measures and age of business. In this research a substantial number of respondents (79 or 22%) chose not to fill out questions relating to such measurable returns in particular the item relating to profit/income. It was decided therefore to construct an objective measure of success based on four indicators and to include as successful, those businesses with three out of the four criteria. The indicators of the “success” variable were: 68
  • 69. • Profit of $10,000-19,999 or more in 2000; • In business for 5 years or more; • Respondent reported ‘Moderately Strong’ to ‘Rapid Sales Growth’ and • Respondent reported Business ‘Performing Well’. When these criteria were applied exactly one third of the sample proved to be a ‘success’. That two thirds were not may be some cause for concern, given the large time input of most women. Cross tabulations were made with a number of variables but many that may have been expected to make a difference to success, did not. For example, there was no statistical relationship between ‘success’ and where respondents lived; the number of hours spent per week on domestic tasks or on business work; work experience; source of start-up finance; how they obtained raw materials and services, how marketing was done or how financial records were managed. None of the points listed on the question exploring ‘factors influencing start up’, that is, finance, confidence, information, bank not taking you seriously, rejection by finance, lack of experience, lack of information and support, were statistically significant. Furthermore, out of the 258 respondents who answered the question on amount of start up finance, 167 (65 %) did not meet the criteria of success, and 91 (35 %) did meet the criteria of success. There was no significant difference between the median amounts of start-up finance used (i.e. those who were successful started with a median of $27,000, while those who were not, started out with a median of $30,000). A Mann-Whitney test of independent samples indicates that there is no significant difference between the amount of start-up finance acquired by those who were successful, and those who were not (µ = 7554, p >.05). Many aspects of business style failed to make a difference to objective ‘success’. There was no significant relationship between success and style of communication in business, communications and interaction with staff, and managing and interacting with employees. Neither having access to the internet, nor using it for research and constructing a web page, made a difference to success. 69
  • 70. The following aspects are however statistically significant, or approaching it, and are therefore worthy of more detailed analysis. a) Living arrangements and “success”: There was a significant relationship between the living arrangements of respondents, and those who met the criteria of “success” (χ2 13.400, df = 4, p = <.05). Only 7% of people living alone (n = 27) met the criteria of “success”, whereas 36% of respondents who lived with a partner (n = 156) met the criteria of “success”. b) Local government area and “success”: There does not appear to be a relationship between which local government area the business is located within, and meeting the criteria of “success”. However, proportionally more of the expected ratio of 33% successful businesses, were from the farming areas of West Wimmera (50%), Hindmarsh (48%) and Yarriambiack (47%). Least successful Local Government Areas were Moorabool (24%), Northern Grampians (29%) and Hepburn (29%). It is possible that farming business has skewed this success ratio. c) Number of employees and “success”: There was a statistically significant relationship between the number of staff employed in the business, and the criteria of “success” being met (χ2 17.864, df = 3, p = <.001). Of the businesses that employed between 1-4 employees, 27% met the criteria of “success” (n = 66), while 73% did not (n = 180). Of the businesses that employed between 5 – 9 employees, a greater proportion (53%, n = 36) met the criteria of “success” when compared to those who did not meet the criteria (47%, n = 32). This could suggest that there is a relationship between an optimum number of employees and “success”. d) Main source of household income and “success”: There is a relationship between the criteria of “success” and whether the business is the main source of income (χ2 4.717, df = 1, p = <.05). Of the respondents who stated that the business was their main source of household income, 38% met the criteria of “success” (n = 70
  • 71. 85), whereas only 27% of those who did not use the business as the main source of income, met the criteria (n = 34). e) Type of loan, gift, own savings, sale or assets and “success”: The type of loans, gifts, own savings, sale of assets, credit, and government allowances did not differentiate respondents in terms of meeting the criteria of “success”. However, where respondents received a ‘superannuation or redundancy’ payment, this did differentiate between those who met the criteria of “success”, and those who did not (χ2 4.450, df = 1, p = <.05). Respondents who received a superannuation or redundancy payment were more likely to reach the criteria of “success” (67%, n = 6) compared to 33% (n = 3) who did not meet the criteria. However, because of the small numbers involved in this analysis, it is not possible to generalise from these results. f) Training courses, services, agencies, and “success”: On this question, a significant difference was noted between the respondents who met the criteria of “success” and those who made use of various training courses, services and agencies. Various possibilities were tested, and these included the Chamber of Commerce, Industry Associations, TAFE, Women’s Associations or Networks, Accountants, and Solicitors. There was no significant relationship between being aware of, or using these various agencies and meeting the criteria of “success”. However, with regard to the NEIS scheme, a significant difference was noted between respondents who were aware of, or had made use of this scheme, and meeting the criteria of “success” (χ2 12.308, df = 3, p = <.05). It is of interest to note the direction of the difference obtained. Almost a third of the respondents who met the criteria of success were not aware of the NEIS scheme, and a further 45% of “successful” respondents were aware it was available, but did not use it. In total, 92% of respondents (n = 12) who made use of the NEIS scheme, were not successful by our criteria, although attention is drawn to the small number of respondents. This result can largely be explained in terms of the recent start-ups of most of these businesses and the profile of those eligible for NEIS, those who are unemployed for twelve months 71
  • 72. and lack their own assets. Also, the types of businesses that are started by participants of NEIS tend to be very small, and require low start-up capital, thus struggle to meet our criteria. g) How lack of training was compensated for: There was a relationship between meeting our criteria of “success” and seeking advice from a mentor (χ2 4.394, df = 1, p = <.05). A small number of respondents (n = 29) stated that they had sought advice from a mentor, and of these, 55% met our criteria of “success”. This was significantly more than expected. This suggests that mentoring has a positive outcome on the success of the business. h) Formal written plans: There was a statistically significant difference between respondents on this question. Those who had a business plan were much more likely to meet the criteria of “success” than those who did not (χ2 5.405, df = 1, p = < .05). Forty per cent of respondents (n = 60) who had a business plan met the criteria of success, whereas only 28% (n = 54) of those without a formal written business plan were “successful”. i) Factors limiting business growth: This question considered if a relationship existed between “success” and factors that may have limited business growth. Three areas were chosen to provide a focus: competition, time and size of outlet. There appears to be a significant relationship between what respondents believed to be limiting factors and whether they were “successful” (χ2 21.468, df = 2, p = <.01). Of these factors, competition was the most frequently mentioned response (n = 138). Of those respondents who thought that competition was a limiting factor, only one quarter met the criteria of “success” (25%), whereas 75% of this group failed to meet the “success” criteria. One hundred respondents commented that ‘time available’ was a factor limiting business growth, and 54% of this group (n = 54) met the criteria of “success”. This number was more than the expected 33%. Of the 20 respondents who believed that the size of their outlet was a contributing factor to business growth, 40% (n = 8) met the 72
  • 73. criteria for “success”. Hence time and size of outlet were more likely to be seen to limit successful businesses, while competition was more likely to be seen as a limiting factor by those not successful. j) Attitude to business risk: This question addressed whether success or failure was dependent on an individual’s attitude to risk. Fifty four per cent of those who had strategies in place to manage risks met our criteria for “success” (compared with 46% of respondents who did not meet the criteria). There appears, then, to be a relationship between attitude to risk and “success”, which is approaching significance (χ2 9.260, df = 4, p = . 055). k) Perception of risk avoidance: There is a significant relationship between our measure of “success” and self perceptions of being a ‘risk avoider’ (χ2 4.910, p < .05). Of the respondents who met our criteria of “success”, 50% saw themselves as ‘risk avoiders’, whereas only 38% of those not “successful” were risk avoiders. Of the 200 respondents who indicated they did not avoid risks, 71% did not meet our criteria of “success”, and only 29% did. Therefore, it appears that if people do not avoid risks, this exacerbates the likelihood that they will not be “successful” by the objective criteria. This result suggests that risk avoidance may be associated with success. l) Key success factors of your business: This question addressed if there was a relationship between our definition of “success” and what the respondents thought were the key success factors for them in their businesses. No relationships were noted on skills, reliability of suppliers, location, networking, creative ideas, quality, weather, genuine care for clients or being unique. However, on the factor ‘dedicated friendly staff’, sixty nine per cent of respondents (n = 13) who considered that dedicated friendly staff was a key success factor in their business, also met our criteria of “success”. This is much more than expected. It is noted, however, that a small number of respondents answered this question, and hence caution must be taken when considering these results. 73
  • 74. Objective success, then, is not clearly distinguishable from a lack of success. Successful women in business were more likely to live with a partner, to come from west Wimmera, Yarriambiack or Hindmarsh, to employ 5-9 people, and to recognise the importance of good staff. The business was mostly their main source of income and although they were likely to be risk avoiders, they were more likely to have strategies in place to manage risk as well as having formal business plans. In addition, they made more use of mentors. Subjective Success. Several questions on the survey produced some understanding of subjective motivation and success and these were elaborated and qualified by open ended questions and group discussions. The following responses to reasons for being in business were as follows: • sense of achievement (n = 168) • creating employment for self (n = 125). • a sense of being in control of one’s own destiny (n = 114), • better lifestyle (n = 100). • extra income for the family (n = 98) • desire to ‘be their own boss’ (n = 61). The question, What does business success mean to you? considered the various subjective responses made by the sample in relation to the meaning of business success. The following categories created in relation to the answers received, were cross-tabulated with success. a) Market dominance (n = 12) Greater than the expected number of those respondents who met the criteria of “success” wrote responses that could be encapsulated by the concept “market domination”. There were 83% (n = 12) of respondents who met the criteria of “success”, compared to 17% (n = 2) who also wrote similar responses but did not meet the criteria of “success”. 74
  • 75. b) Market respect (n = 90) Greater than the expected number of respondents who considered market respect important (47%) met the criteria of “success”, compared to 53% who did not meet the criteria of “success”. c) Better income, profit and comfortable lifestyle (n = 103) Of those respondents who reported that better income, profit and comfortable lifestyle were an important definition of business success to them, 73% were not “successful”. This is considerably more than expected (65%) whereas only 27% of respondents (n = 28) who said that better income, profit and comfortable lifestyle were important met the definition of “success”. That is, more respondents met the criteria of “success” who did not consider that better income etc. were important aspects of their definition of success. The profile of the business partnerships did not indicate a difference between any of the factors (i.e. market dominance, market respect, family subsistence or security, satisfying and happy work environment, better income, profit and comfortable lifestyle, and achieving the self worth and rewards of hard work). This suggests that there is no relationship between subjective measures of business success, and whether or not the respondent is in a partnership with a male. When asked what their original aspirations were regarding the size of their business, ‘steady growth’ summarised the most common response (29.6%). The comments relative to growth included, “Within two years be able to financially justify building studio to work in and within three years to be able to work five days per week on good money,” and “… to be as big as a supermarket”. The second most common (27.1%) response was staying small, i.e. to fit with family responsibilities. Many also desired market respect in that they had a product or service that they could be proud of and that clients and peers thought well of them (20%). A minority wanted market dominance, for example the biggest shop in the area, the best product made (7.5%) or a large income, profit and a comfortable lifestyle (8.6%). A not insignificant proportion of the responses focused on family subsistence (10.4%) and work for self or family members (15.7%). 75
  • 76. Though for those whose concern was family lifestyle a more modest idea of growth prevailed, I never ever wanted to get too large to handle the business on my own. No desire to complicate things by going too big or employing staff. My original idea came about to be here for the children when little and now I’m still here before and after school - very important. For these women it was considered important to, “… be able to maintain a regular income on a weekly basis sufficiently supporting myself and lifestyle.” There were others whose desire for growth was a means to a more complex end. For example , “To grow as rapidly as possible, to provide for myself and for local young workers.” Others wanted to grow to a point where they were able to employ a certain number of staff, “To be able to employ 4-5 people; make an income and pay my bills, and “Two or three employees and sufficient income to provide weekends off and an annual holiday.” Responses that suggested a desire for steady growth were the most often cited, for example: “To grow as rapidly as possible, to provide for myself and for local young workers, and “It was operating as a three day a week business; we aim for a 6-7 day a week business.” The majority however wanted to stay small or grow only to the point where they could support themselves and their families. Their main objective was independence and flexibility, “Self employment of ourselves only, not to employ staff. “We thought we would like it to remain small and manageable,” and “Not to become bigger than we can control. Self employed”, and “I wanted to make enough money to personally survive on, enough to save well and live comfortably without worry.” A quarter of the respondents said they would be happy if their business could ‘break even’ and they kept enjoying the work. This may have meant covering business costs with or without a salary being drawn. However, the majority (60.7%), wanted the business to grow and make more profit, a little 76
  • 77. less than half of these wanting to produce or service more for the same market. Others wanted to produce more for a different market (18.6%), or to produce something else in the same sector (19.2%). Only 11.3% anticipated employing more people to enhance growth. When asked what business success meant, the women mentioned similar motivations to their original aspirations. Self-worth and reward for hard work was the most common type of response (36.5%) with better income, profit and a comfortable lifestyle second most important (34.4%). Once again market respect (30.1%) was important and market dominance (3.7%) reflected the views of a smaller minority. A satisfying happy work environment (28.1%) and family security or subsistence (23.4%) were also significant. Personal autonomy was mentioned by 8% of the sample and 6% saw success as serving the community in some way. When asked what the key success factors were for their business the most frequently mentioned response was ‘skills’ (77.6%) followed by ‘creative ideas’ (44%), ‘location’ (42.9%) and ‘reliability of suppliers’ (37%). Networking was mentioned by a quarter of the sample and several pointed to the significance of staff (4%, n=13), quality of product or service (7%, n=23) and genuine care for the client (45%, n=14) in the ‘Other’ category. A few attributed their success to being a market leader, or having a unique product (n=5). At the focus groups women were also asked to discuss their perceptions of business success. Their responses and those from the survey can be categorised as both intrinsic and extrinsic measures of success. Enjoyment/ personal satisfaction and achievement can be termed intrinsic measures of success. There was discussion of success leading to self-confidence and the importance of positive feedback to self worth. One woman described how her initial shyness and reluctance turned to self confidence as she began to realise that clients were responding positively to her: With Avon type selling it is all set up for you so you do not have to make any big decisions but the first time selling was difficult. Now I find it easy and I go inside for 20 minutes rather than leaving the catalogue in the letterbox as some do. Some clients like the social interaction and like me to stay longer. 77
  • 78. In terms of intrinsic measures of success women in business on their own and women in business with men said similar things. The following comments focus on achievement, job satisfaction and confidence. A number of women noted that their reason for going into business was that they wanted to achieve and that it gave them social contact. “I have financial security, sense of achievement, job satisfaction,” and “confidence in my own abilities of various types. A purpose in life as well as happiness and room to do whatever I want.” The following comment is also typical of many responses. Whilst this woman emphasises personal fulfilment she also recognises the need to be profitable and the importance of how her business is perceived by others. Personal and employee satisfaction and fulfilment. Obviously we must be profitable enough to justify remaining in the business, such as return on capital. Business name and reputation I view to be very important in gauging success. Growth, profit and business status can be termed as extrinsic measures of success. To have achieved growth and be making a profit was also deemed important as a measurement of success, as the following comments demonstrate, “For me it is financial independence, to build a reputation as an effective operator in charge of my destiny,” and “To have lots of money and a sense of self worth - next step world dominance.” It is worth noting that even when extrinsic factors are spoken of relative to success the women still focus on satisfaction and personal lifestyle issues. “Doing what I do with a passion; keeping my business small and manageable, but also making a profit”, and “Having a balance between work and life-style. Being financially self-reliant.” Financial independence and security was also an important measure of success for many of the women. Often these two issues were their reasons for starting the business. Many women wanted to work because they needed a second income to keep their farms afloat. The rural downturn and the subsequent lack of jobs in rural and regional areas was another factor. The women knew that in the absence of opportunities for waged work they had to make their own work by running a business. 78
  • 79. Success factors discussed in previous research include a focus on a small multi-skilled staff and a strong orientation toward customers (Ackroyd, 1995). Many respondents in this research nominated high quality staff and their ability to satisfy customers as an indication of success. Both women operating on their own and women in business with men also placed emphasis on customer satisfaction. For example one woman noted that, “Being able to provide a personal service that has my character and individuality associated with it,” was important to her and another woman felt that, “Having a good reputation in the community, giving satisfaction to clients and providing a high quality effective service,” was important. Additionally another woman said, Being responsible for the improved quality of life and a means of communication to my clients and their families. As a result continuing to receive referrals and maintain a good reputation. Ultimately the main issue was that customers are satisfied and “gladly return to do business”. Mostly women understandably placed importance on financial reward however they also placed great importance on intrinsic rewards such as happiness and a sense of achievement. For example, “A sense of achievement and I suppose to create an identity for myself. I like myself better when I can make a contribution,” and “A feeling of achievement and increased self-worth, “Validation of existing skills and talents”, “Independence, financial and personal”, and finally “Business success to me means that after all the hard work a sense of achievement and personal satisfaction and self-worth has been conquered”. 79
  • 80. 5.CONCLUSION 5.1 Introduction The number and scope of businesses, the significant proportion of sole operators and strong optimism among women in business in the Western Region reflects the growth and interest in women’s businesses in recent decades. On the other hand the data bear out some aspects of the influence of rural decline and the struggle some households have to survive, in terms of long hours input and limited financial returns. In conclusion we draw attention to some other ambivalent findings. First the Western Region sample has many similarities with the general literature and similar surveys of women in small business generally. Secondly the sample as a whole has some internal, broad-based, commonly experienced features. Thirdly within that homogeneity, diversity can be discerned. On some matters there is a wide range of experience of business. Comparisons between sole/female businesses and those partnered with males, and between those objectively defined as successful and those not, bring to light some characteristics of interest that should allow a more refined approach to policy. 5.2 Similarities To Women In Small Business Generally The study revealed that there was much about the sample that reflected general patterns for women in small business described in literature and previous surveys. They were broadly similar in terms of education, age, industrial sectors, gendered division of labour, business style and preferred communication patterns, and use of family links and help. They claimed to be flexible in staff dealings but not to lack authority. Although there was no direct evidence of acts of discrimination, the gendered horizontal segregation of industries could be a factor constraining women to a restricted number of employment options. The gender division of labour in the home and business reflects previous studies of ethnic family business and wider women and business studies. The occupations of the women and industry sectors of the businesses reflect a growth in service work but do not appear to reflect ‘non employment’ of people forced to contract for their 80
  • 81. former waged work. Most of those surveyed do not appear to be such peripheral workers. 5.3 Internal Homogeneity Most of the sample worked long hours when domestic and business work was considered jointly and half wanted their time on the business to decrease. On the other hand 60% wanted their business to grow. Most also had some work experience before going into business and had strong regard for pragmatic experience as the best preparation for business. Lack of finance, confidence and prior experience were considered the most significant factors hindering them at start up and, once operating, time, competition and finance were most important. Domestic work competed with business time, but isolation, finance and guilt reduced the potential for outsourcing housework. Although not addressed in the survey dominant concerns with bureaucratisation and over-regulation appeared to erode the social capital of the community. The growth of non- standard work amongst salaried community workers also compounded this situation. Professionals, in particular accountants, as well as mentors and colleagues were deemed by respondents as more vital help to business success than training courses and business organisations, but informal interaction and support from fellow traders and similar business owners was valued. Dominant marketing techniques such as ‘word of mouth’ could be considered basic. Although many did not make a profit the majority remained optimistic about their business. 5.4 Differences within the sample In spite of similarities the study also brought out the range of scale of business and spectrum of attitudes within the sample. A close look at the demography revealed some differences that may prove to be important. Although many of the sample were mature women, it was younger than the Victorian business women’s sample and contained more sole operators. The women had more access to the internet than previous studies of small business had shown. 81
  • 82. Turnover ranged from less than $10,000 to over $1 million. Profits ranged from nil to $100,000. Just over half claimed they were risk avoiders while the rest self-defined as risk takers. Attitudes to success ranged from minimal subsistence, to a desire for world dominance (perhaps tongue in cheek); from strong commitment to strengthened self worth, to community altruism. Some had a strong wish to be entrepreneurial and others were constrained by the need to find employment for themselves or for family members. In relations to motivation and success then the findings support a model that embraces diversity and extrinsic and intrinsic features among women, which might also cross over to men’s motivation (Baines & Wheelock, 1998). Survival and security are obviously important to many and market dominance, market respect and the desire for profit appear to reflect the enterprise culture or classic entrepreneur of a smaller minority. When sole/female businesses and those partnered with men were separated out more differences emerged. Although the research did not directly compare men’s and women’s businesses, the comparison between sole and female partnered businesses and others revealed some interesting points of agreement with previous generalisations about women’s business, especially in relation to size of business and finances. The sole businesses were more likely to be in Personal, Cultural, Health and Property sectors, to experience banks not treating them seriously, to have responsibilities for more household tasks but to spend less time on them. They were more reliant on family and friends for unpaid labour and financial help. Data support the notion that women, particularly sole operators are more kin and social tie bound and could benefit from more use of official, business, professional networks. Women in partnership with a male were dominant in Construction, Transport, Farming, Accommodation and Manufacturing sectors and the business was more likely to be the main source of household income. They obtained more start up finance, sought to borrow more and were more successful when they did. They made more use of unpaid help from Local and State authorities and were more likely to work both short, part-time hours and extremely long hours in their business. Thus the model of women in business with men has similarities to male business. 82
  • 83. 5.5 The Success Model Isolating success factors proved to be difficult, for while there were some significant differences between the objectively successful and the others on some variables, there were very few independent variables that appeared to affect the dependent variable. The successful business women were more likely to be living with a partner and for the businesses to be the main source of household income. They were more likely to have between 5 and 9 employees and to see lack of time and size of outlet as hampering factors. They did appear to recognise and value good employees and to value mentors. Their aims were more likely to be market dominance, market respect, more profit and a comfortable lifestyle. Although more likely to be risk avoiders, they tended to have strategies in place to manage risk. More had formal business plans. Comparisons that suggest that the farming LGAs (Local Government Areas) appear more successful should be viewed with some scepticism, as primary production should be analysed within a larger time frame and financial context, including some recognition of debt. 5.6 Final comment Time, future training needs, and access to finance could hinder future success of women’s small business. Greater family equity, efficiency or outsourcing of domestic tasks may have to be negotiated to allow the necessary time release for those committed to business growth. The long hours worked by the women in small business in the western region warrant greater levels of success and survival than is currently apparent. In relation to training, although most women prefer face to face contact for business interaction, the wide use of computers and the high email accessibility of the 162 who expressed their wish to be on a data base suggest potential developments in an IT direction. In addition, the women, like those in the Assessment of Rural Women’s Business Training Needs (1999) want, foremost, marketing and financial planning business skills. Finally, finance was a major problem perceived by many of the women in small business. This problem in all likelihood applies more broadly to small business, and has been reported in earlier studies (Mason & Harrison, 1992, p.148). The present research has found that financial difficulties may be more acute for sole/female traders. 83
  • 84. APPENDIX A University of Ballarat Mt. Helen Campus PO Box 663 Ballarat Vic 3353 October, 2001 Dear Small Business Owner The University of Ballarat in partnership with the City of Ballarat recently attracted funding from the Department of State and Regional Development and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to identify the extent of women’s involvement in small business within the Western Region. The project entitled ‘A Model of Success: Women’s Entrepreneurial and Small Business Activity in Regional Areas’ is being managed through the University’s School of Business. The information gathered as a result of this project will influence future government policies and aims to assist women in rural areas. To assist in providing information and identifying the factors leading to success, we require your assistance in completing the attached questionnaire and either handing it to the researcher in a sealed envelope or posting it in the reply paid envelope provided. It will take approximately thirty (30) minutes to complete the questionnaire. All information provided will be treated with the strictest confidence and data will be stored separately from any listing that includes names and addresses. Aggregated results will be used for government reports, research purposes and may be reported in scientific and academic journals. It should be noted that individual businesses will not be traceable. Your consent to the above is implied by completing and returning the questionnaire. Yours Sincerely Janice Newton Lorene Gottschalk Glenice Wood School of Business A return by late October would be greatly appreciated. 84
  • 85. SURVEY ON WOMEN'S ENTREPRENEURIAL AND SMALL BUSINESS ACTIVITY IN REGIONAL VICTORIA (For this survey small business is defined as a business employing less than 20 people.) Questions are on both sides of the page. Please tick the box provided or write on line provided. PERSONAL DETAILS 1. Age Less than 30  40-50  30-39  Greater than 50  2.Ethnicity Born in Australia  Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander  Born Overseas  If yes, year arrived in Australia _________ What is your most commonly used language in relation to running your business __________________ 3.Education Did not finish high school  Completed high school  Completed basic or skilled vocational  Completed Degree or Diploma  Completed post-graduate degree  Other eg. Currently studying (explain) _______________________ 4.Residence Rural town/area below 500 people  Rural town 10,000 to 19,999 people Rural town/area 500-999 people  Rural town over 20,000 people  Rural town 1000 to 9999 people  Bi-local (move between different areas)  5. Are you: Living alone  Living with partner  Living with partner and dependent children and/or elderly/disabled dependant  Living without partner with dependent children and/or elderly/disabled dependant  Other  Age of children (if applicable) ___________________ 85
  • 86. Domestic Responsibilities 6.What are your main domestic responsibilities? (tick only those that you are mostly responsible for) minding child/ren/elderly parent, or arranging for their minding  lawn mowing  transporting child/ren  waste handling  cleaning house  maintaining vegetable cleaning clothes  garden/chickens  cleaning dishes  house and vehicle buying food/household provisions  maintenance  cooking food  budgeting & bills  maintaining garden  other (name) ________________________________________________ 7. How many hours a week, on average, would you spend on all these tasks? Less than 10 hours  30-39 hours  10-19 hours  Over 40 hours  20-29 hours  8. Do you anticipate that in the next 5 years your time on this domestic work will: remain the same  decrease  increase  CURRENT BUSINESS PROFILE 9.Current Business Sole operator In partnership with male/s, shared leading role  In partnership with female/s In partnership with male/s, leading role  10. If in partnership, what is your starting point partner’s relationship to you, and reason for forming the partnership? Partner 1’s relationship to you Partner 2’s relationship to you husband  partner  husband  partner  father  friend  father  friend  mother  acquaintance  mother  acquaintance  brother  Other brother  Other sister  __________ sister  __________ Reason for forming partnership: Reason for forming partnership: Close kin or residence tie  Close kin or residence tie  Access to finance  Access to finance  Access to business network  Access to business network  Access to complementary skills  Access to complementary skills  Tax minimisation  Tax minimisation  Other Other 86
  • 87. Industry Sector 11.Tick the category that best describes the primary activity of your business (Choose only one). Mining  Manufacturing  Construction  Wholesale trade  Retail Trade  Accommodation,  Transport &  Communication  cafes & storage services restaurants Finance &  Property &  Education  Health &  Insurance Business community Services services Cultural &  Personal & other  Farming &  Recreational services agriculture services 12.What type of product/service do you make or exchange? ______________ 13.Please give a 2-5 word description of current business. ______________________________________________________________ 14. Local Government Area of business. West Wimmera  Hindmarsh  Horsham  Yarriambiack  Northern Grampians  Ararat  Pyrenees  Hepburn  Ballarat  Moorabool  15. Location of your business home residence  farm  town (less than 10,000 population)  on net ( e business)  town (less than 11 - 20,000 population)  Other (please state) large town (more than 20,000 population)  ______________________ 16.Type of business premise/s desk at home  shed/studio at home  room/office at home  office and/or factory in a town  shop/gallery  Other (please state) _______________ Numbers Employed 17. Numbers employed in this business including self __________________ 18. Effective number of full time employees (ie 2 half times = 1) __________ 87
  • 88. 19.Unpaid labour and advice. Source of help Type of help Estimate of average weekly hours of help Family Friends Associates Suppliers Local Government agencies State Government agencies Other Income 20. Is the business your principal source of personal income? Yes  No  21. Is it the main source of household income? Yes  No  CURRENT BUSINESS - START UP PHASE 22. Beginning the business Year Time first conceived idea of having this business _______ Year business actually began _______ 23. Did you: Start this business  Purchase business as a going concern  Inherit this business  Obtain a franchise for this business  Take on direct selling  Other _________________________________ Work Experience 24. Did you have past work experience prior to setting up your business? Yes  No  25. If ‘Yes’, what knowledge and skills that you acquired from your prior work experience have been the most useful in your business? (eg. bookkeeping, staff supervision.) _____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ 26. Source, type and amount of actual ‘start up’ finance. Source eg. self, Type eg. loan, gift, own Purpose Amount in dollars father, bank, savings, sale of assets. financial institution. 88
  • 89. 27.If you were refused finance, what were the main reasons given by the financier? unable to service loan  insufficient cash flow  not enough security  no business plan  Other ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Training 28. Tick if you were aware of, used and/or found useful the following training courses, services and agencies in your region for the start up phase of your business. Training Course/Service/ Not Aware Made Found Agency Aware available use of useful NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme)     Certificate II to IV in Small Business     Certificate III to Diploma in Business     Management Diploma of Business     Certificate II to III in Retail Operations     Certificate IV to Diploma of Retail     Management Australian Taxation Office     Dept of State & Regional Dvlpt     Koori Business Network     Small Business Counselling Service     Victorian Civil & Admin.Authority     Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria     Austrade     Victorian Workcover Authority     Chambers of Commerce     Industry Associations     Tourism Victoria     Victorian Business Centres     Business Enterprise Centres     Women’s Associations/networks     TAFE (local)     Accountants     Australian Customs Service     Consumer & Business Affairs, Victoria     Solicitors     Council Economic Development Unit     Other, eg Colleagues 89
  • 90. 29. Please comment on usefulness of courses, if applicable. ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 30. If you did not make use of any courses, how did you compensate for this? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ Factors influencing start up 31. Which factors hindered or inhibited start up phase, if applicable? Lack of finance  Lack of prior experience  Lack of confidence  Lack of support from spouse/partner  Lack of access to information  Lack of community support  Lack of infrastructure Lack of child care  (eg.water supply, telecommunications)  Bank not treating you seriously  Lack of information and support Rejection by financial institutions services  (eg banks, building societies)  Accountant not treating you seriously Other _______________________________________________________________ 32.In hindsight what would have helped you in start up of your business? Finance  Training Courses  Business  Mentors  Financial advice  Other _________________ ________________________________________________________________ CURRENT BUSINESS OPERATIONS Planning 33.Do you have: Yes No a formal, written business plan?   a financial plan?   formal goal setting and planning?   90
  • 91. 91
  • 92. Time 34. How many hours are you able to put into the business per average week? Less than 20 hours  40-59 hours  20-29 hours  60-79 hours  30-39 hours  More than 80 hours  35.Would you like this amount of time to: decrease  stay the same  increase  Training 36. Tick if you were aware of, used and/or found useful the following training courses, services and agencies in your region for the operating phase of your business. Training Course/Service/ Not Aware Made Found Agency Aware available use of useful NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme)     Certificate II to IV in Small Business     Certificate III to Diploma in Business     Management Diploma of Business     Certificate II to III in Retail Operations     Certificate IV to Diploma of Retail     Management Australian Taxation Office     Dept of State & Regional Dvlpt     Koori Business Network     Small Business Counselling Service     Victorian Civil & Admin.Authority     Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria     Austrade     Victorian Workcover Authority     Chambers of Commerce     Industry Associations     Tourism Victoria     Victorian Business Centres     Business Enterprise Centres     Women’s Associations/networks     TAFE (local)     Accountants     Australian Customs Service     Consumer & Business Affairs, Victoria     Solicitors     Council Economic Development Unit     Other, eg Colleagues 92
  • 93. 37.Please comment on usefulness of courses, if applicable. ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 38.If you did not make use of any courses, how did you compensate for this? _____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Obtaining Raw Materials & Services 39.How do you obtain the following: (Raw Materials/resources = RM; Services = S) RM S RM S Local distributor   Melbourne (self drive)   Mail Order   Melbourne (delivered from)   Intermediaries   Interstate   Overseas   Carrier to nearest major town   Other ______________________________________________________________ Marketing and Advertising 40.What is your main method of marketing and advertising? Internet  word of mouth  existing personal relationships  newspaper advertisements  fliers/brochures  posters/noticeboards  shop front  incentives to current customers  exhibitions and trade shows  television  Other (please state)___________________________________________________ Financial Records 41. How do you manage your financial records? I do my own bookkeeping.  A family member _________(name I pay someone to do my books.  relationship) or friend does my books. 93
  • 94. Measures of profit and growth 42. Per annum profit last financial year 1999 –2000 43. Turnover 1999-2000 did not make a profit  0- $10,000  less than $1000  $10,001 - 20,000  $1000-$5000  $20,001 - 50,000  $5001-$10,000  $50,001 - 100,000  $10,001-20,000  $100,001 - 300,000  $20,001-30,000  $300,001 - 500,000  $30,001-50,000  $500,001 –1,000,000  $50,001-75,000  $1,000,001 +  $75,001-100,000  $100,001 +  If business is more recent, estimate last quarterly profit $ ____________ 44. Sales Growth 1999-2000 45. Percentage of Export Sales Nil or declining  0%  Low (less than 10%)  1-9%  Moderately strong (10-24%)  10-19%  Rapid (25% +)  20-39%  40% +  46. Compared with your competitors, would you say you were Performing well/growing  Struggling  Keeping up  Other ______________________ Factors limiting business growth. 47. Please tick the 3 most important. competition  size of outlet  time available  domestic responsibilities  venture finance  transport of product  access to market  lack of information  infrastructure (roads, telecommunications)  Other ___________________________________________________ 94
  • 95. Factors affecting Operation 48.Which factors hinder or inhibit operation of business? Lack of finance  Lack of information and support services  Lack of confidence  Lack of support from spouse/partner  Lack of community support  Bank not treating you seriously  Lack of child care  Lack of infrastructure Lack of prior experience  (eg.water supply, telecommunications)  Lack of time  Other (please state)___________________ ______________________________________________________________ 49.Have you ever sought to borrow for ongoing business activities (eg expansion)? Yes  No  50. If ‘Yes’, were you successful? Yes  No  51. If ‘No’ what reason was given by financier? unable to service loan  insufficient cash flow  not enough security  no business plan  Other ______________________________________________________________ Attitude to business risk. 52.Tick the statement that is closest to your attitude. a) I prefer to avoid large bank loans.  b) To do something properly you should start with a big financial injection.  c) I prefer to produce only a small batch and see how a product goes, or start in a small way with service provision, before investing too much money.  d) If I really believe in what my business has got to offer, I am prepared to take risks to start or build up my business.  e) I have strategies in place to manage risk.  53.Would you perceive yourself as a risk avoider?  or risk taker?  54.How do you manage risks? Goal planning  ‘go for broke’(not worry)  Rely on others  having a contingency plan  Other ______________________________________________________________ 95
  • 96. Information and Communication 55.Main sources of information that aid you in business. (Rank from ‘1’ most important to ‘7’ least important, until not applicable). Radio (specify program)  ____________________ Television (specify program) ____________________ Newspapers (specify) ____________________ Magazines/journals (specify) ____________________ Rural Women’s Network  Internet searches  Professionals (eg accountant, solicitor)  Mentors  56.How do you communicate with your business partner/s, if applicable. (P1 = Partner 1, P2 = Partner 2) Typical frequency Type of interaction P1 P2 P1 P2 Continuous   Informal   Daily   Set, formal meetings   Several times a week   Telephone contact   Weekly   Fax contact   Less than weekly   Email contact   Less than monthly   Web contact   Varies   Other (please state)   57. How do you generally communicate with staff as a whole, if applicable? Typical frequency Type of interaction Continuous  Informal  Daily  Set, formal meetings  Several times a week  Telephone contact  Weekly  Fax contact  Less than weekly  Email contact  Less than monthly  Web contact  Varies  Other (please state)  96
  • 97. 58.What is your normal style of communication for business (Tick the appropriate box) STYLE OF COMMUNICATION WHO YOU Face to face Telephone Fax Email/ COMMUNICATE WITH contact contact contact internet contact Friends and acquaintances Experts/specialists, accountants, suppliers, other like businesses etc. Women's or Business organisation eg. Chamber of Commerce, CWA 59. Generally, what is your preferred style of communication in your business dealings? (Tick appropriate box) STYLE OF COMMUNICATION WHO YOU Face to face Telephone Fax Email/ COMMUNICATE WITH contact contact contact internet contact Friends and acquaintances Experts/specialists, accountants, suppliers, other like businesses etc. Women's or Business organisation eg. Chamber of Commerce, CWA 60. If your actual style of communication and your preferred style differ please comment on the reasons for the difference. _____________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Managing/Interacting with Employees 61. Decision making style with staff, if applicable. Please tick one statement that is closest to your typical style of making business decisions. I allow subordinates to function independently within limits.  I make a decision then announce it.  I present a tentative decision and allow that it is subject to change.  I let the staff make group decisions within defined limits.  I present ideas and invite suggestions before making the decision.  I make a decision then explain it.  I present a problem, take suggestions and then make a decision.  97
  • 98. Staff management 62.Mark the statements that are generally true, false or not applicable for your business. True False NA I have a fairly quick turnover : few staff stay longer than 6 months. Most of my staff have been with me since I began/for several years. Staff willingly work back when required. I have difficulty getting the staff to work the odd/flexible hours I need for my business. Staff work set hours. Staff have a say over when they take their annual leave and some flexibility to suit family needs. Staff can alter start and finish times as long as the required hours are put in. I generally feel that I have the skills required to effectively manage my staff. Staff respect my authority. Information Technology 63. Do you have access to the Internet through a computer? Yes  No  64.If yes, tick what uses you make of the internet? Email  Research  Buying or selling (e-commerce)  Website or homepage  Other (please state) ______________________________________________ SELF REFLECTION Objectives 65. Why are you in business? (tick up to only 3 main reasons) extra income for family  tax minimisation  extra income for self  better lifestyle  sense of achievement  satisfying work environment  sense of being in control of own destiny  creating employment for self  creating employment for family members  satisfying a local need  inherited business  wanting to be own boss  recognised market niche  Other (please state) ___________________________________________________ Aspirations for business growth 66.What were your original aspirations regarding the size of your business when you set up or obtained your business? ___________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 98
  • 99. 67.Tick the statement that most fits your aspirations now. a) As long as I break even and keep enjoying the work I will be happy.  b) I would be happy if I could make $_________(insert number) profit per year.  c) I want to sell or close my business  d) I would like the business to make lots of profit and to keep growing.  If d) This is how I would anticipate growing: producing more ( or servicing more) for the same market  producing more (or servicing more) for a different geographical market  diversifying, producing something else in same sector of industry  diversifying, producing something else for a different industrial sector  employing more people  Other (please state) ________________________________________  68.What does business success mean for you? ______________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 69.What are the key success factors of your business? Skills  reliability of suppliers  location  networking  creative ideas  not known  Other ____________________________________________________________ 70. What sort of courses or training would you like to see made available? Delivery style Content Timing Small workshops face to  Financial  Night  face Internet chat groups  Marketing  Day  Large city based seminars  Promotion  Part-time  Other  Ecommerce  Fulltime in block  Export  Interpersonal skills  Computer  Internet  Staff supervision  Other  Thank you very much for your time and cooperation Janice Newton, Lorene Gottschalk, Glen Wood 99
  • 100. THIS SECTION IS DETACHED BEFORE QUESTIONNAIRE CODED AND MAY BE MAILED SEPARATELY, SO NAME REMAINS ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL ----------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- • I would like to become part of a database network for rural women in small business managed through the Department of State and Regional Development.  • I would like to be a mentor for other women  Please leave your name and phone number and/or email address, postal address if you would like to be a mentor or part of the database (Alternatively, you can also phone this information to Janice Newton 03 53279623.) Name: Phone: Email address if applicable: Postal Address: Any questions regarding this project can be directed to Janice Newton on telephone number 53279623 . Should you have any concerns about the conduct of this research project, please contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics Committee, Scholarship and Educational Development Services Branch, University of Ballarat, PO Box 663, Mt Helen VIC 3353. Telephone: (03) 5327 9765. 100
  • 101. APPENDIX B LIST OF OCCUPATIONS Bold indicates sole or female partnership Accommodation (17) 2 General store (2) 1 Accommodation and meals Giftware (3) Accommodation- B & B (6) 3 Glazier (3) Accountancy (4) 2 Grain cleaners Adult education Graphic design Advertising Grass seed supplier Agri tourism (2) 1 Grazier Alternative therapies Grocer (2) 1 Amusement machines Grocery wholesaler Aromatherapy Hairdresser (15) 12 Art classes and supplies Health advisor Auto repair (2) Health supplements Auto sales Hearing aids Auto-electrical repairs Home help Bakery (5) 1 Honey gathering and packing Beauty therapy Horseriding (2) Bookkeeping Hospitality Builder (3) Hotel (5) 1 Building materials House restumping Business advisor Human services Cabinet making Interior design (5) 2 Café (8) 1 IT services Café & Bakery Jewellery manufacture Catering (2) 1 Joinery Ceramics (3) Kitchen manufacture Chemical manufacture Laminated benchtop manufacture Cleaner (2) Legal services (2) Clothing Licensed bar Clothing alterations Liquor trade Communication Maintenance manuals Consultancy Make-up direct sales Consultant – engineering Manufacture -Navigation buoys Corporate writer Manufacture – candy Dance supplies (2) Manufacture – chocolate Dance teacher Manufacture – confectionary Dental care Manufacture Clothing (2) 1 Dietetic consultant Manufacture – food (3) 1 Digital illustrations Manufacture – Hand knitting Doll making – porcelain Manufacture – wrought iron products Dry cleaning (2) Manufacture Animal food Earthworks (2) Manufacture –Curtains (3) Engineering Manufacturer – steel Environmental management Manufacturing – canvas goods Farm machinery Marketing consultant Fast food (2) 1 Massage (3) 2 Florist (4) 2 Milkbar and sandwiches Food (4) 2 Milkbar and videos Food – sandwich bar Motel (7) 2 Food – takeaway Motor parts manufacture Food – takeaway and deli Multimedia consultant Food products Music teacher Food –takeaway Natural health Food, hospitality Natural medicines Function centre Naturopathy Furniture maker Newsagency (4) 1 Furniture removals (2) ) 101
  • 102. APPENDIX C (Continued Retail – small engines Occupational health and safety Retail – souvenir training Retail – specialty Office supplies Retail – sporting goods (2) Orchardist Retail – sportswear (2) 1 Painter Retail – underwear (2) Painter and wallpaperer Retail – uniforms Patchwork quilting (2) Retail – wine Personnel Retail furniture, removalist Pet cages Retail –haberdashery Pet care Retail, petrol, garden supplies Pharmacy (3) 2 Roadhouse restaurant Photography (5) 3 Saddlery Photography, design Secretarial service Physiotherapy (2) 1 Secretarial support Picture framer (2) 1 Security Plant nursery (2) Service station Postal (2) Service station and mechanical Primary producer – organic vegetables repairs (2) 1 Primary producer – cereals and Shopkeeper (2) legumes Snack food Primary producer – grain (3) 1 Speech pathology Primary producer – sheep, grain Spray painting Primary producer – wool (3) Steel fabrication Primary producer – wool and grain Stockfeed, calf rearing Primary producer –Agriculture Supermarket (2) Primary producer –Flowers Superphosphate supplier Primary producer –Wool, Taxi accommodation Tobacconist Primary producer – cropping, grazing Tourism (2) 1 Property maintenance Transport -sheep and grazier Property management Travel consultant Psychologist (2) Veterinary services Real estate (2) 1 Video hire (3) Retail –Children’s clothing Vineyard (3) 1 Repair – TV Vineyard and accommodation, Repairs – electrical appliance tourism Restaurant – vegan Vineyard, wool, accommodation Retail (3) Waste collection Retail – antiques Wholesaler - Chinese goods Retail – apparel (12) 9 Wildlife Art manufacture Retail – apparel and Manchester Wood turning Retail – baby products Writer – children’s book Retail – children’s clothing (2) Retail – confectionary Retail – crystal Retail – electrical (3) Retail – electrical motors Retail – fabric and gifts Retail – floorcoverings Retail – Footwear (3) 1 Retail – fuel Retail – furniture Retail – garden supplies Retail – giftware (4) 3 Retail – hardware Retail – homewares Retail – kitchen ware Retail – Manchester (2) Retail – menswear Retail – motorcycles Retail - shopkeeper 102
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