‘Support squads’ proven to boost small business owners’ bottom line

Building strong 'support squads' can significantly boost small business owners' revenue growth, as revealed in a new study.

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Visa, the digital payments provider and exclusive partner of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, is launching a new campaign in collaboration with England star Fran Kirby to celebrate the impact of ‘support squads’ for athletes and business owners alike.

Visa commissioned a study which found that women small business leaders who have a strong ‘support squad’ consisting of friends, family, or colleagues are nearly twice as likely to report revenue growth in the last year compared to those who have a weak support system (67% vs. 32%).

The study found that 91% of women small business leaders surveyed in the UK consider their support network crucial in achieving their professional goals, with 78% stating that their businesses wouldn’t be where they are today without it. 88% of seasoned entrepreneurs embarked on their entrepreneurial endeavours with a team, whereas only 58% of first-time founders did the same.

The findings from this research align with another recent study by Pink Salt Ventures, which reveals how the absence of female funding infrastructure negatively impacts the startup ecosystem.

These results underscore the significance of establishing support systems through joint venture partnerships, venture capital specifically for women or mentorship programs for female founders.

Fran Kirby, Lioness for England and Team Visa football star shares her thoughts: 

“My own support network has been instrumental in my journey, celebrating my successes and picking me up during tough times. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of a powerful platform that promotes gender equality and empowers women and girls to achieve their dreams. 

Building a supportive squad

The research highlights that trustworthiness (51%), honesty (42%), and positivity (40%) are the top three qualities sought by women business leaders when assembling their support squads. Furthermore, diversity of thought was found to be critical, with 78% of women business leaders valuing different perspectives and viewpoints in their pursuit of professional goals.

Business psychologist Dr. Lynda Shaw, who offers advice on building support squads for achieving professional goals,  recommends the following:

  • Enlist open communicators: when forming a support squad, prioritise individuals who value honesty and positivity, exhibit enthusiasm, and remain focused even during challenging times. Their optimism should be realistic and sensibly brave.
  • Encourage mutually beneficial goals: an effective support squad shouldn’t require micro-management. Instead, openly discuss the best way to overcome obstacles and trust the judgement of other squad members. Additionally, understand the intrinsic motivations of each squad member and explore how they align with your goals.
  • Embrace diverse opinions: creating a successful support network involves fostering mutual respect for different points of view and encouraging learning among squad members. Diverse ideas and thoughts benefit organisations, so it’s wise to facilitate meaningful connections among squad members.

Supporting women at every stage

As the world gears up for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is expected to be the largest women’s football tournament to date, Visa’s Celebrating Squad Goals campaign and FIFA Player of the Match Award acknowledges women-owned small businesses. 

The winners, who will receive a total of £500,000 in grant funding, will be announced during the trophy presentation at the 64 matches of the tournament across the UK and Europe.

Mandy Lamb, Managing Director of Visa UK & Ireland, expresses the company’s commitment: 

“As our research shows, support networks are truly the unsung heroes of the economy, and for this reason, we urge everyone to join us in shining a spotlight on the individuals who help them thrive.”

Photo source: Sky Sports

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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