With October designated by the Small Business Association as Women in Small Business Month, BMO Harris Bank today issued the results of a survey that found 40 percent of female small business owners say they have a good work/life balance, compared to 29 percent of male owners.
The survey of 580 U.S. small business owners also found:
• The proportion of men and women who say they have no work/life balance is similar – 5 percent and 6 percent respectively
• A third (32 percent) of men say they try to have a balance, but “often” work too much. This compares to 17 percent of women
A similar number of men and women (34 percent and 37 percent) say they generally have found a balance, but “sometimes” work too much. “We are seeing some positive changes in the small business sector, with more women now starting their own businesses than in the past. The results of our survey further drives home that female small business owners are making strides, with an 11 percent lead over men when it comes to saying they’ve found a work-life balance,” said Mollie Gawronski, Head, Small Business Strategy, BMO Harris Bank.
“There are an estimated 9.1 million women owned businesses in the United States today, with that number on a continuous growth trajectory,” said Emilia DiMenco, President and CEO, Women’s Business Development Center. “With the support of economic development centers such as the Women’s Business Development Center, women learn how to effectively and efficiently operate sustainable and profitable businesses which create jobs that lead to thriving communities.”
According to BMO Economics, small business confidence has risen to the best level in almost seven years in recent months, and small business employment has rebounded to well above pre-recession levels even as employment in mid- and large-size firms remain below their respective peaks. In terms of improving U.S. employment, strength has been concentrated in professional and business services, industries with higher proportions of women workers.
When asked about the work/life balance of their employees, both genders were of similar minds. Most women (89 percent) and men (85 percent) said it was important to them. However, women were notably more likely than men to describe it as “very important” (57 percent versus 44 percent).
“Striking that balance involves a number of factors, from hours worked to traveling and family time. When it comes to finances, time and efficiency is of the essence. We offer small business owners the option to get all of their banking needs in one place, from a business credit card to payment processing,” added Ms. Gawronski.
BMO Harris Bank recently launched the Small Business Builder, which offers a customizable package of business banking products and services with a number of special offers. It starts with a small business checking account, and can be built to include a business credit card, small business loans or lines of credit, payment processing, overdraft protection and access to bill pay and mobile banking.
If business is booming, but your personal life isn’t, BMO Harris offers the following tips to find a better balance:
Manage your hours: being a small business owner rarely means working 9-5, but shutting off is still important. Fielding calls and emails late at night and throughout the weekend might indicate to clients that you are available to work 24 hours a day.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish each day: planning a too-busy workday may prevent you from dealing with issues and opportunities that inevitably come up. Overbooking may actually cause you to be less time-efficient, because you’ve overextended yourself.
Delegate to others: at work, don’t be afraid to let go. While you may want to maintain control, hiring the right talent should allow you to disperse the workload among your employees. In life, ensure that your network of family and friends understands the lifestyle required to be an entrepreneur, and have them step in when you can’t get away.
Become as efficient as possible: Being organized can help you complete more work in less time. Use technology and software to coordinate and track various tasks. Put your finances in one place so you’re not constantly trying to remember what loan or account is where.