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5 things to know about business owners

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You already know your business owner clients have special needs that differ from others, but how well do you really know them? We set out to learn more about these dynamic individuals through our study of business owners, Business Owner Perspectives.

For the 2015 survey, 500 small business owners shared their thoughts on topics from employee benefits to their own retirement plans to what keeps them awake at night. We asked these owners to rank the importance of 10 benefit categories. They were also asked to identify the benefits they offer for their businesses, for themselves and for their employees.     

A few common themes rose to the top from our analysis that may help you gain additional perspective on this customer market, including:

  1. Priorities and reality don’t always align
  2. When it comes to retirement, they don’t have a plan
  3. Their top benefits concern is affordability
  4. Male and female business owners having differing views around top workforce concerns
  5. The vast majority say their firms are growing or established

What stood out the most from the research is not so much what business owners say, but what they do. For instance, business owners consider business protection their top priority, yet the majority don’t have any plans in place. At the same time, we saw a significant decrease in the percentage of owners who have business protection coverage compared to our previous study three years ago. There is also a significant decline in the percentage of owners with income protection, even though it ranked second in their list of priorities. 

Despite the importance they place on business protection and income protection solutions, business owners continue to put the needs of employees above their personal planning needs, and the risk protection needs for the business. It makes sense. Owners are busy and while they have good intentions, they have many demands and not enough time to get it all done. All these competing priorities make it difficult to determine where to start when it comes to planning and implementation.

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The bottom line? Business owners need your help developing a plan to take steps towards turning those priorities into reality. This leaves a big opportunity for you. The next time you meet with business owner clients, help them identify and prioritize their needs personally, for their business, for their family and for their employees. Then show them how all of these needs can be met through comprehensive planning.

Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll share more insight into the hearts and minds of business owners. Knowing more about these individuals and their businesses will help you build yours. 

About the research: 2015 The Principal Financial Group® Business Owner Market Study, conducted by Harris Poll.