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DSRD Report

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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