The entrepreneurial spirit knows no bounds, and thanks to shifts in technology, the landscape for small business owners is ever evolving. According to a recent report from Bank of America, 67% of small business owners foresee revenue increasing over the next 12 months. As a small business banking vice president for Bank of America Arkansas, I love seeing this kind of confidence from entrepreneurs, especially minority and women business owners.
But I have also seen firsthand how the journey toward success is both thrilling and demanding for a small business owner. The payoff can be big, but so can the burnout. It can feel like a juggling act, balancing the needs of your business with your personal life. Finding the elusive equilibrium between the two is a difficult balance, but one that is of the utmost importance in order to achieve and sustain success. After years of working with small business owners, I have a few tried-and-true financial tips and tricks that I hope will make entrepreneurship a little easier and empower you to take your business to new heights.
Unlock Growth Potential
The report's findings are promising, with two-thirds of small business owners encouraged by their revenue prospects in the coming year. The statistics reveal a shifting landscape, indicating there is optimism and vast opportunities waiting to be seized. But how can we ensure those opportunities are available to everyone? Some banks, including Bank of America, offer an access to capital directory for women, Hispanic-Latino and Black entrepreneurs.
Balance the Books and Build for the Future
With revenue forecasted to be on the rise, it's paramount you maintain financial discipline and continue to save for the inevitable rainy day. It’s hard to see the potential for growth and not start making moves and investing in additional staff, stock or improvements, but you can’t get ahead of yourself because, as we all know, forecasts can change. Take your optimism and harness it by creating a robust budget, investing strategically and exploring funding options to fuel future growth.
While the data is undoubtedly encouraging, it's essential to acknowledge the unique challenges faced by women and minority entrepreneurs. Approximately 31% of women business owners said they do not think they will ever have equal access to capital to start a business, while 35% of Black business owners, 20% of Hispanic-Latino business owners and 20% of AAPI business owners said the same. But here’s the good news: Small business bankers are here to help. We can support you by exploring a variety of funding sources — from traditional loans to grants specifically targeted to underrepresented entrepreneurs — and we can help forge a plan for financial success.
Network, Network, Network
One major benefit of utilizing a small business banker is that by connecting with us, we can connect you with local businesses, entrepreneurs, funders and associations dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs. I can’t emphasize this enough: When starting a new business, leveraging the power of networking to learn from others and form partnerships is key to success.
Make Time for Me Time
Your business is only as strong as its leader. And as the leader, it is imperative that you make the time and effort to take care of yourself. Developing a habit of self-care and demonstrating the importance of finding balance to your employees will make you a better boss and, therefore, help your team and your company thrive. But how can you be everywhere at once? Your banker can help. We can be your eyes and ears on the financial side and keep you updated on funding opportunities, market trends and financial best practices, alleviating a bit of the burden so you can care for yourself and your family.
Counterbalance Childcare and Career
The report found that, on top of juggling business responsibilities, women business owners are more likely to take on caregiving roles compared to their male counterparts (34% of women vs. 23% of men). Many also reported modifying their daily routines around caregiving, even planning their business schedule around caregiving duties (32%) and taking time off from work due to these responsibilities (31%). As a single mom of twins, I know firsthand how grueling juggling schedules, school drop-off, extracurriculars and family time can be while still prioritizing your career. That’s why building your support tribe and realizing it’s okay and beneficial to lean on them can make a huge difference.
The statistics from our report indicate that the path to success is brighter than ever for women and minority small business owners. It's a thrilling time to support this community!
Just remember, balancing the demands of your small business and personal life is an ongoing journey. It's about making conscious choices and taking care of yourself. By implementing these strategies, hopefully you can not only run a successful business, but also enjoy a fulfilling and well-balanced life.
Jantel Stamps is the vice president of Bank of America’s Small Business Banking division in central Arkansas.