Fifty-four percent of women-owned businesses genuinely feared they'd have to permanently shut their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research conducted for October's National Women's Small Business Month.
In fact, nearly 75% of women-owned small businesses said they've been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
A new poll of 522 female small business owners across the 15 most populous states found one-quarter believe that it will take more than a year for their businesses to get back to normal.
The study commissioned by Groupon and conducted by OnePoll aimed to understand how women small business owners are meeting the challenges that COVID-19 presents, the unique obstacles they face as women entrepreneurs, the secrets to their successes, and important issues women want to see addressed by the 2020 presidential candidates. The survey also revealed which states have been the most supportive towards women-owned small businesses during the pandemic.
"Every one of us has a role to play when it comes to investing in the success of small businesses. It's certainly great to have an entire month and campaign dedicated to the promotion and growth of women-owned businesses, but it's also very important that we continue to support them all year long," said Groupon CFO Melissa Thomas. "This year, Women's Small Business Month comes at a time when many women-owned businesses are facing even greater challenges than usual due to the pandemic and they need our help now more than ever."
Women small business owners who took the survey were twice as likely to say that lockdown restrictions implemented to stop the spread of the virus disproportionately affected women- and minority-owned businesses as opposed to saying they impacted all businesses equally.
Four in 10 of those surveyed who applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan said they were rejected.
And 20% said they either plan to or already had to lay off employees and less than 10% said they plan to hire more people in the next year.
Of the states surveyed, results revealed that Massachusetts ranked the highest for doing the most to help women-owned businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19.
New York, Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina rounded out the top five.
Unfortunately, the results underscored some of the difficulties women face when starting their own businesses.
Over half (55%) of female small business owners say men have an easier time starting their own businesses, according to new research.
More than half of those surveyed said they're sadly held to a much higher standard than their male counterparts.
Fifty-four percent say they sometimes find it difficult to balance running a business with family life.
Women small business owners said that putting in hard work, taking pride in the quality of their product or service, building a personal network, having an innovative business idea and being a woman in business were the top five keys to their success.
Women small business owners said it took an average of two and a half years for their businesses to become successful.
And three in five say they go out of their way to mentor other female entrepreneurs.
When it comes to making it easy for women entrepreneurs to start their own business, Florida led all states.
The Sunshine State's no personal state income tax and warm climate proved to be big drawls. Following Florida in making it easy for women to start their own business were New York, Colorado and Texas.
Sixty-seven percent of women business owners surveyed said they're paying close attention to the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
When asked to identify their preferred candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden had the support of 47 percent of respondents compared to 34 percent who indicated support for President Donald Trump.
The top five issues that women small business owners identified from a list that they want to see addressed by the presidential candidates were the economy (chosen by 75 percent of respondents), healthcare (54 percent), gender equality (43 percent), tax credits and/or cuts (42 percent) and social justice (36 percent).
National Women's Small Business Month was created by the Small Business Administration to celebrate the contributions of women-owned businesses. According to the American Express 2019 annual State of Women-owned Businesses Report, there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States--supporting over 9 million jobs and generating $1.9 trillion in revenue.