Better Sales Performance Achieved When Spouses Get Involved, But Not Too Much

Each year we conduct an assessment of our Wonder Women entrepreneurship program to evaluate its impact and test how different variables may affect sales performance. We asked 66 Wonder Women about the level of involvement from their spouses in their business. The answers ranged from “no involvement” to “fully involved.”1 We found that the increasing participation of the spouse corresponded to proportionately higher sales - but only to a certain point.

When the spouse was fully involved in running the business, the sales performance dipped. While our standard assessment doesn’t explain why this is, it’s something we’re going to keep our eye on as we optimize the performance of our sales agents moving forward. However, it is notable that full involvement from spouses still outperformed those businesses that were being run solely by women entrepreneurs or with only some assistance from their spouses.

The three most common areas of spousal involvement were for transport, sales, and promotion. Transport was found to be the most effective input that a spouse could provide. Arguably, this may be because men feel more comfortable to travel further distances from home. Therefore, having the support from their spouse to sell and deliver technologies away from their communities, may result in the Wonder Women being able to reach broader markets.

What are your experiences with the involvement of spouses in women-led businesses?

One of our Wonder Women, Mama Emi, with her husband, ready to distribute technologies in Bajawa, Central Flores.

1. Full involvement essentially means that the spouse is fully running the business.