A joint study commissioned by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Ink from Chase, found that personal and peer relationships have a significant impact on how owners run their businesses. Conducted by the research firm Braun Research, they surveyed 580 women and 481 men who are owners of U.S. small businesses (having fewer than 100 employees).

Regarding who exerts the greatest influence on them:

  • Almost 90 percent identified their personal relationships as having the greatest impact on business operations;
  • More than 65 percent indicated the importance of peers on decision-making processes;
  • Slightly more than half (53 percent) cited the influence of other small business owners as playing a strong role.

When asked who or what had the least impact or influence, half of the respondents said mentoring by others in the same field of enterprise had little or no effect.

The study also provided key statistics as to what small business owners are planning, with growth and efforts to facilitate growth leading the way.

  • 61 percent are planning an increase in marketing initiatives;
  • Close to 60 percent will increase hiring to help with the growth process;
  • 57 percent have plans for geographical expansion over the next twelve months; and
  • 56 percent plan will implement a social media outreach program as a means of growth.

Laura Miller, the president of Ink by Chase believes, “The…abilities of small business owners to remain nimble while focused on expansion are crucial for this critical portion of the U.S. economy.”

Differences between male and female business owners concerning perception, philosophy, tactics, and technology were offered by the report. For example:

  • More than 40 percent of women said the experience they gained from running a household influenced how they ran their business; only a quarter of male respondents identified this;
  • More than half the women in the survey found it challenging maintaining a work-life balance;
  • 45 percent of men found it difficult to achieve a work-life balance;
  • A greater number of men identified e-commerce as an area concentration than did women;
  • A greater number of women identified social media platforms as a target than did men.
  • Equal percentages of female and male respondents (45 percent each) identified utilization or better integration of mobile-payment platforms as important.

Regarding these findings, Darla Beggs, the National Board Chairperson of NAWBO observes, “These survey results demonstrate some different approaches men and women may bring to their businesses as they strive toward the same goal of growing their businesses and growing our economy.”

Laura Miller concurs, “The results of our survey show a strong small business climate that is primed for continued expansion by utilizing new and innovative ways to increase customer engagement.”


Helmrich, Brittney. “Personal Relationships Influence Small Business Owners Most,” Business News Daily; September 11, 2014.

Ink from Chase and NAWBO Survey Reveals Female Small Business Owners Are Most Likely to Turn to Social Media to Grow Their Businesses.”