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Small business landscape is changing

Date posted:  6/12/15 08:45:00 AM Women are more likely to start a new business than men.

The number of small businesses with active Facebook pages is on the rise.

According to Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small businesses, the company went from 25 million small businesses with active pages in November 2013 to 30 million at the start of June. That's a major surge, but Facebook also recently started counting e-commerce stores, whereas previously, it was only including brick-and-mortar stores, according to TechCrunch.

Levy said Facebook has been "really trying to pivot to be more proactive" to work with small businesses. He added that many business owners are wondering how they can adapt to an increasing mobile environment.

"If you have a mobile phone and you have a Facebook Page, you have a mobile marketing strategy," Levy said.

Women leading newer businesses
The idea that men are controlling the majority of the nation's businesses is starting to seem like a cliché. According to the Associated Press, women are starting companies at a much faster pace than anyone else.

From 1997 to 2014, the number of women-owned businesses increased throughout the U.S. by 68 percent. In contrast, the rate of all companies created across the country jumped by 47 percent, according to an American Express analysis of Census Bureau figures. Women are now launching an estimated 1,288 companies each day, up from 602 in 2011-12, which also shows that the economy has improved enough that more people have enough confidence to start a new business.

"Women are becoming more aware of the opportunities for entrepreneurship," Susan Duffy, an executive director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, told the AP. "It's becoming more of an option for a career move than it ever has been in the past."

She said that women business owners should continue to increase as the interest in entrepreneurship surges among younger women looking up to established, famous women as role models.

Duffy pointed out designer Tory Burch, Oprah Winfrey, and Marvell Technology co-founders Diane Von Furstenberg and Weili Dai as top role models. She also noted that a woman - Maria Contreras-Sweet - is at the helm of the Small Business Administration, and her predecessor, Karen Mills, was also a business owner at one point in time.

"More women are seeing themselves out there in their heroes in the business world," Duffy said. "They're saying, this is fabulous, I want to be like her."

Women and small businesses by the numbers

The AP cited a survey that women tend to be more optimistic than men, which is one reason why women are dominating the nation's business startups. According to the Bank of America survey, 70 percent of women expect their revenue to rise over the next year, a four percent increase over their male counterparts. Women also seem more likely to hire in the next year, with 56 percent believing they will do so compared to 50 percent of men. Women also seem to be thinking bigger, as 68 percent of women plan to expand their operations compared to 63 percent of men.

Women also tend to face different challenges than men when owning or operating a small business. The survey revealed that 29 percent of women feel that they have less access to money and 32 percent said they have less access to business opportunities than their male counterparts.

Part of the trend can be traced back to the growing number of resources for women business owners. The Small Business Administration sponsors Women's Business Centers. Duffy also said women's business organizations are encouraging women to start companies.