As a sponsoring partner of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the annual NAWBO Women’s Business Conference on behalf of Bank of America last month. It was an honor to celebrate a special 40th anniversary of an organization that is the voice for more than 9.1 million female business owners nationwide. During an enlightening and interesting few days, I learned from notable speakers such as Bonnie St. John, Muffy Davis and Leigh Anne Tuohy, as well as a diverse and knowledgeable group of business owners. A few takeaways throughout the conference resonated with me personally.
It’s apparent that small business owners make sacrifices every day, from working long hours, delaying their own raises and using personal funds for the success and betterment of their business. For many, it can be difficult to find the ideal balance of personal and business success. We were interested to learn how the findings from the latest iteration of the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report compared to the responses from NAWBO attendees on three specific areas many small business owners struggle to manage.
- Utilizing personal funds for business purposes. Have you ever jeopardized your personal assets in order to carry costs for your business? You’re not alone – about half (53 percent) of NAWBO attendees have carried business costs on their personal credit cards (37 percent of female entrepreneurs nationally have, too).
- Rewarding ourselves with fair compensation. When was the last time you gave yourself a raise? For our NAWBO attendees, 31 percent have never given themselves a raise, compared to nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of women small business owners nationwide.
- Failing to find the right work-life balance. How often do you look at the clock and realize you’ve stayed at work far longer than expected? It’s common among female entrepreneurs, more than half (52 percent) of NAWBO attendees and about 56 percent of women business owners nationwide are working more than 50 hours a week.
The NAWBO Women’s Business Conference further illustrated the passion, dedication and hard work female business owners put into their organizations. This year’s conference theme of ‘inspire the change’ really stuck with me. It’s amazing to see such extraordinary women inspiring change each day by being leaders in their businesses, communities, and role models for future generations of female entrepreneurs.
The conference provided the opportunity for many of us to start an open conversation. What are you doing to reward yourselves? By rewarding yourself, you’ll not only see the benefits in your personal life, but in your business as well.