January 31, 2012

4 Categories That Describe Women Entrepreneurs’ Financial Goals, Needs

Survey considers how women business owners can improve financial security

What keeps women business owners up at night? A study released Monday by The American College, a nonprofit educational institution devoted to financial services, found that 95% of women entrepreneurs fall into one of four categories that reflect individual confidence, different stress levels and abilities to achieve work/life balance.

  • 31% of study respondents comprise the Sleeping Soundly segment. These have the highest business revenues of all the groups. They feel they have met their expectations by being an entrepreneur. They enjoy a good work/life balance, and manage the financial aspects of their businesses. They are confident about their current financial stability, and feel they have planned well.
  • 15% of respondents spend the night Tossing & Turning because they are extremely stressed by their businesses. Being a business owner is not what they expected. They fret about almost every aspect of owning a business. They overwhelmingly feel their business robs them of important time with family and friends.
  • 16% of women business owners can be found Sleeping with One Eye Open. Among the four groups, they have the lowest reported business revenue and fewest employees. They do not focus on planning for retirement or transitioning their business to family members. Nevertheless, they report a strong sense of contentment with their work/life balance, and say their business meets their expectations.
  • 33% of women are asleep Dreaming about the Future. These entrepreneurs are comfortable taking risks. They are motivated to grow their businesses while maintaining financial stability and transitioning to financial independence. They report a good work/life balance, with sufficient time for family and friends.

The survey of 835 American women and 420 men was conducted online by Ipsos on behalf of the State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College in mid-July last year. “Business owners” were defined as individuals who own half or more of a business with annual revenues of $50,000 or more and who make or share in financial and other business decisions.

The State Farm Center has constructed a quiz http://www.theamericancollege.edu/why-us/faculty/mary-quist-newins-chfc-clu-cfp women business owners can take to test themselves. In a statement, the center said the quiz is intended to help women entrepreneurs who want to better understand where they are and how they can improve.

“Women business owners can do more to improve their financial security when they identify priorities for their work and home lives, implement prudent cash management practices and create plans to both grow and protect their wealth,” Mary Quist-Newins, the center’s director, said in the statement.

“Engaging a competent and trustworthy financial professional (and/or team) can provide tremendous benefits, as indicated in this and other studies. With sound financial planning, more women business owners can begin ‘sleeping soundly’ instead of ‘tossing and turning’' all night long.”

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