Bridging the Financial Planning Gap: A Deep Dive into Women-Owned Businesses

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, the spotlight often focuses on the trailblazing endeavors of women launching businesses. While considerable attention is rightfully given to ensuring equitable access to venture capital, a recent in-depth study conducted by BMO Financial Group reveals a persistent challenge faced by women entrepreneurs—a challenge that extends well beyond the initial funding phase. This challenge is none other than the nuanced realm of financial planning for sustained business success.

Financial Planning Challenges for Women-Owned Businesses:

Unveiling Disparities in Financial Preparedness

While the entrepreneurial journey is often celebrated during its initiation, the BMO for Women Survey brings to light significant disparities as businesses progress along their trajectory. A mere 36 percent of women business owners boast a detailed financial plan for their companies, falling behind the 41 percent reported by their male counterparts. This discrepancy extends to contingency planning, where only 64 percent of women have a plan in place, compared to a more substantial 76 percent among men. Furthermore, a scant 32 percent of women business owners possess a detailed transition plan, highlighting a stark contrast with the 50 percent reported by men.

Transition Challenges:

Navigating the Complexities from Growth to Maintenance

Adding a layer of complexity, the survey underscores a noteworthy trend in post-transition phases from growth to maintenance. There is a significant decline in the percentage of women business owners continuing to work with financial advisors—47 percent compared to the 25 percent reported by their male counterparts.

The Importance of Financial Advisors:

Strategic Insights from BMO Wealth Management U.S.

Shannon Kennedy, Head of U.S. Advisory and Interim U.S. CEO of BMO Wealth Management U.S., underscores the pivotal role financial advisors play for all business owners, with particular emphasis on the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Kennedy asserts that neglecting the development of a robust financial plan is a critical mistake, irrespective of the business stage.

Practical Considerations:

Integrating Business and Personal Wealth for Holistic Planning

To delve into practical considerations for women business owners, BMO spokespersons Carolynn Pfaff and Caroline Donlin offer insights. Pfaff emphasizes the importance of understanding how to strategically pull assets from the business to build personal wealth for the future. Donlin, on the other hand, stresses that working closely with financial advisors not only provides valuable insights into various financial options but also serves as an essential sounding board for informed decision-making.

Overcoming Challenges:

Empowering Women through Dedicated Support Initiatives

Recognizing the need for a tailored approach, Pfaff highlights that BMO has established dedicated teams of women advisors, creating a supportive environment specifically designed for women business owners. The company’s initiatives, including BMO For Women and Women & Wealth, actively engage women across various lines of businesses through educational seminars, events, and support programs.


In a contemporary landscape where discussions about money are no longer considered taboo, the financial planning journey for women-owned businesses emerges as a critical aspect that demands meticulous attention. Bridging the financial planning gap requires acknowledging existing disparities, embracing the indispensable role of financial advisors, and integrating considerations of both personal and business wealth.

Navigating Entrepreneurial Realms: Unveiling the Confidence Paradox

Debunking Stereotypes: Women’s Entrepreneurial Confidence on Equal Grounds with Men

Venturing into the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, deeply rooted gender stereotypes have persistently propagated the belief that women inherently lack the confidence required for success in their entrepreneurial pursuits. However, a groundbreaking and meticulously conducted study, led by the accomplished Jennifer Jennings, a distinguished professor at the Alberta School of Business and Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship, Gender, and Family Business, boldly challenges and defies this long-standing stereotype. Published in the esteemed pages of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and co-authored by Zahid Rahman and Dianna Dempsey, the research illuminates a profound truth—women stand not only alongside but at par with men, showcasing a level of confidence in their entrepreneurial abilities that aligns seamlessly with their male counterparts.

Unmasking Overconfidence: A Surprising Gender Disparity

As the study delves even deeper into the intricate fabric of entrepreneurial confidence, a surprising revelation emerges—a subtle yet noteworthy gender disparity in confidence levels. While women consistently exhibit accurate entrepreneurial self-efficacy, the findings uncover a nuanced propensity for overconfidence among men. This nuanced trait, albeit by a slight margin, is linked to a decreased inclination among men to actively seek opportunities for improvement. Moreover, it correlates with a heightened likelihood of engaging in risky business ventures and an increased tendency to overcommit to endeavors with questionable prospects, raising crucial questions about the delicate balance between confidence and prudence in the entrepreneurial journey.

Bridging the Participation Gap: Questioning the Confidence Factor

Beyond the realms of individual confidence, the study casts a discerning eye on the broader entrepreneurial landscape. Despite women demonstrating a confidence level on par with men, data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor paints a contrasting picture—female participation rates in entrepreneurship are reported to be up to 20 percent lower than their male counterparts. This dissonance prompts a critical examination of the widespread belief that women’s perceived under-confidence is a pivotal factor contributing to this participation gap. Jennifer Jennings emphasizes the significance of questioning these assumptions, highlighting how they often shape training policies that assume a confidence gap between genders, categorizing it as a “female deficiency” requiring correction.

The Confidence Conundrum: Exploring Long-term Implications

As the study navigates through the complexities of gender and confidence, an additional layer of inquiry unfolds. Do individuals, irrespective of gender, who manifest an “overconfident” approach—typically deemed beneficial for business launch—truly experience better long-term entrepreneurial outcomes? The research poses this intriguing question and, in doing so, initiates a profound exploration into the behaviors of those who overestimate their performance in entrepreneurship-related tasks. The results reveal a compelling pattern—individuals, regardless of gender, who overestimate their performance are less inclined to engage in behaviors conducive to successful business ventures. These behaviors include critically evaluating their performance to identify areas for improvement, raising a pivotal discussion on the delicate interplay between overconfidence and sustainable entrepreneurial success.