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Women started more firms than men "The economy is the reason we started the company, absolutely," Webster says. Of course, the sour economy hasn t helped the bottom line. "It s harder to make a sale because it s frivolous," she says. "You can live without a tennis shirt. Maybe not as happily, but you can live." If opening a business demands courage, opening one in the aftermath of the worst economic downturn since the Depression demands a special steeliness, especially for female entrepreneurs. Because women owned businesses are concentrated in retail and service industries think Este Lauder, Coco Chanel, Mrs. Fields Cookies, even Zipcar they were among the first to feel the downturn. Now, in a fragile recovery, the business climate requires other qualities, like resourcefulness and patience. "They re rediscovering the art of bootstrapping and keeping your overhead low and keeping your operating costs low so you can adjust to these economic ugg scuff shocks and keep adjusting," says Jeffrey Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. "It doesn t mean they re not growing their business or not starting their business, it means they re finding another way to get there." Take Mary Frankie Forte, owner of the It s a Grind coffee shop in downtown Oakland, Calif. "Customers are definitely cutting back," she says. Some have downgraded from lattes to drip coffee, which costs half as much; others may get a muffin only twice a week instead of daily. "I m just trying to make do with what I have. Loans to ugg boots china pay back, I don t need." This tendency of women entrepreneurs to take out fewer loans and grow more slowly is well known. "Women tend to be . more conservative and careful in their financial ugg heels management practices," says Susan Coleman, professor of economics at Hartford University in Connecticut. That may be the right strategy for this era, says Dr. Cornwall. "Those businesses that right now are taking on less debt are going to be those that are much stronger coming out of the recession."
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