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For the last several years, women have been starting new businesses at a faster rate than any other segment of the economy. Another interesting note about women is that they are the decision-makers in terms of finances both for their families and businesses.

According to a recent report, 74% of female workers say that saving for retirement is the long-term financial issue about which they are the most concerned.

These statistics alone demonstrate a need by women for retirement planning and funding products and services.

Women-owned business start-ups have been succeeding and growing, adding assets and employees. They are now candidates for employee benefit products. Experience indicates that employee benefit decision-makers within companies are overwhelmingly women.

Research shows that women currently run nearly half of all small- and medium-size companies. Clearly, professional women and women business owners are a viable and attractive market for a retirement focused business.

Building Relationships is key to the womens market

To market successfully to women, its important to know how they approach the buying process when they look for employee benefits and financial products for their personal and professional lives.

Research shows that women seek companies with a solid reputation that understand their specific needs and goals and show commitment to them and to womens issues in general.

A company interested in tapping this market would be wise to exhibit commitment by affiliating with organizations and opportunities that touch professional women and women business owners, such as The National Association of Women Business Owners.

The association provides an opportunity to impact women business owners on both a national and local level.

To make the most of local chapter exposure, place a dedicated marketer in each group. The marketers should become working members of the chapter concentrating on chapter building, supporting chapter events and the like.

Working within the organization gives marketers credibility and allows them to build relationships with members that lead to sales and referrals.

Working successfully in this marketplace takes respect, professionalism and patience. Patience, because women want to be well informed when they make a decision. They will ask questions, review materials carefully and really think the decision through.

is corporate marketing manager of The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at swanda.michelle@principal.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, April 22, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.