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Attributes_Thumb3.gifEvery owner’s story is different. But as a group, there are five common and positive characteristics that help shape their approach to life and wealth. Find out what these shared traits are – and the opportunities and challenges that come with them – in our new report, “Five Attributes of Today’s Business Owners.”

Click here to download Guide: Five Attributes of Today’s Business Owners (PDF).

Top-Concerns-Thumbnail.gifOwning a small business means there's rarely a time when thoughts of how to run, grow, and manage it better aren't top of mind. With that, we took a look at the top concerns that small business owners have today, and how they view the economic environment for hiring, healthcare, technology, and work/life balance in the months ahead.


Click here to view the infographic.  

You can also download a PDF version for printing by clicking here.


Note: Is cash flow a concern for your small business?
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Inc-Article-Logo.gifFrom cracking glass ceilings to breaking industry barriers, today’s women are defining business ownership on their terms.


There’s a national conversation in play about women in the workplace and the challenges they face with regard to pay equity and advancement opportunities. But that conversation is centered on women who work for someone else. Shift the focus to women who work for themselves and the whole dynamic changes—which is one reason why more women are exploring the opportunities they can create as small business owners.


“I don’t see that there are any ceilings once you become an entrepreneur,” says Susan Rittscher, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Center for Women and Enterprise. “Capital is a little bit more challenging at times, but we help women through that. The other thing is that many women who are on a corporate ladder have decided that they don’t want a corporate lifestyle. They opt for becoming an entrepreneur so they can have more flexibility and have a better work-life balance.”


Choice is one of the perks of entrepreneurship. Women who need to juggle business ownership with other priorities can turn to organizations like Rittscher’s to learn how to manage and control small business growth. Others find that with the right management structure, they can pursue more ambitious profit and growth goals. As entrepreneurs, they’re in the driver’s seat.


That can prove especially true where you might not expect it: in traditionally male-dominated industries in which women are underrepresented. Those who are strong in areas such as science and math or industries like technology or construction may discover that they have a competitive advantage. “Large corporations have to set aside a certain portion of their spend for contracting to women and minorities,” Rittscher says. “If a woman gets into those areas, is very good, and understands contracting, it can be very lucrative.”


With that in mind, she encourages women to look into getting their enterprises certified as woman-owned businesses. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) grants certification through local organizations like the Center for Business and Enterprise. Among her clients who have completed the certification process is a marketing and promotional materials company that “really learned how to use the process well and now has contracts with six or eight Fortune 500 companies,” she says. “So it does work.”


Women who work as consultants and sole proprietors can land clients in those tiers, as well, either on their own or through subcontracting. And given that 92 percent of woman-owned businesses generate less than $2 million in revenue, opportunities of that magnitude can propel them to unprecedented levels of profitability and growth. “It’s not necessarily easy, but I find that women are quite resilient and able to do a lot more than we think at times,” Richter says.


Visit the WBENC website for more information about the benefits of certification, which begin with access to a list of supplier diversity and procurement executives at corporations and government agencies. The site also offers a walk-through of the certification process and the documentation required.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Inc.. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.


©2015 Bank of America Corporation

Manufacturing.jpgAccording to the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC), manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, and small business is a substantial part of it. The coalition says that 99 percent of manufacturing employees work for companies with fewer than 500 people.

Although manufacturing is a significant driver of economic growth, the industry has serious hurdles to overcome to keep its engine humming. On the following pages we outline the four key challenges small manufacturers face, and solutions suggested by those on the front lines.

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Student_Debt_Entrepreneurship_body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.

The millennial generation is typically considered one of the most entrepreneurial ever, launching new businesses from their dorm rooms and garages.

But new research is showing that an unlikely factor—student debt—is having a major impact on this generation’s ability and desire to be entrepreneurs.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, the share of new entrepreneurs in the 20- to 34-year old age group has decreased dramatically, from 34.8% in 1996 when they first started tracking numbers, to 24.7% in 2014 – the only age demographic that has consistently trended downward over time.

“We know that rising levels of student debt affect different aspects of your career path, as well as decisions to get married and buy a house,” says E.J. Reedy, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

These two elements are associated with entrepreneurship because having wealth in the form of owning a home and having a spouse contributing to family income are tied to an increased propensity to take the risks involved in starting a business.

Student_Debt_Entrepreneurship_PQ.jpg“We’ve seen a real decline in business ownership through younger households,” he says, adding that most new business owners rely heavily on personal assets and loans to get their companies started.

The numbers for student debt are crushing and continuing to rise. In its ninth annual report on student loan debt, the Institute for College Access and Success found nearly seven in 10 graduating seniors in 2013 left school with an average of $28,400 in student loan debt, an increase of 2 percent from 2012.

According to Reedy, there has been an increase in programs designed to help people with student debt, but many are tied specifically to government or nonprofit work.

“We don’t want to artificially incentivize anyone to work in an area where they’re not suited,” he says. “We need to find solutions that allow people to move jobs and follow opportunity rather than feeling locked in because their student loan debt deferral is tied to the sector they are working in. The United States is starting to make progress here but needs more work.”

In addition to the decline in millennials starting businesses, the school debt issue has other impacts for small businesses since they are traditionally a rich source of jobs for younger people. Reedy says that small business owners who have a young workforce should be aware of this additional burden and recognize that workers with additional debt might have a need for different benefits, such as financial counseling.

“Where we get concerned is how this debt will affect the willingness of this generation to take risks,” he says. “The debt will have long-lasting repercussions that we don’t fully know.”

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.


©2015 Bank of America Corporation


cpa.jpgBesides staying current on topics like tax law, CPAs must also deal with problems common to almost every type of business: how can they attract and retain clients? How can they raise their fees without losing important accounts? How can they provide value to their clients throughout the year and not just when they prepare returns? In the following article, experts explain how making strategic moves on these matters can help position a CPA firm for success and long-term growth.

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Veterinarians.jpgIt's not unusual for consumers to think of their pets as members of the family and seek out the best medical care for them. This devotion can give veterinarians an opportunity, provided they work at building a relationship with prospects and patients before, during, and after pets are brought in. Experts say that a deft use of communication and technology tools, defining your practice's brand, and putting out relevant, trustworthy information on issues affecting pet health are essential for acquiring and retaining patients. Read on to learn how you can use these best practices to build your business.

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