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Martha Trumped by Oprah and 'the Donald'

April 23, 2007 at 10:26 AM EDT
    National Survey Reveals that Two-thirds of Americans Dream of
   Starting a Business and Prefer Oprah as their "Fantasy" Business

    Findings Also Indicate that Access to Financing is the Primary
               Deterrent to Pursuing Business Ownership

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 23, 2007--In advance of National Small Business Week (April 23 - April 27), a new national survey confirms the spirit of entrepreneurship is strong among Americans, as is faith in Oprah Winfrey's business savvy. According to a study commissioned by the Small Business division at Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF), of 66% of respondents who dreamed of owning their own business, Oprah Winfrey was found to be the most desirable partner, followed by Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, then U2's Bono.

The survey also revealed that while "being your own boss" and "making more money" are very appealing aspects of small-business ownership, "lack of financing" and "fear of the unknown" prove to be paralyzing obstacles. Additionally, as indicated by the recent momentum of the "mompreneur" movement, women are more inclined to start a business for the benefits afforded by being the boss rather than simply the financial upside.

"Entrepreneurship is inherently as much an American tradition as baseball and apple pie. In fact, despite the seemingly large number of public corporations, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 95% of all businesses in the U.S. are small businesses with less than ten employees," said David Wasik, Senior Vice President, Capital One Small Business Solutions. "While being in business with Oprah is unlikely for most, numerous resources are available to help convert dreams of business ownership into a reality. Capital One Small Business Solutions understands the unique needs of small business owners and offers a full range of products designed to bring ease and excitement back into an often intimidating start-up process."

Wasik provides the following suggestions for those individuals making their first foray into business ownership:

    --  Consult a credible financial lender

    --  Familiarize yourself with both your personal and business
        credit history, since lenders typically underwrite based on
        both. If you see errors, contact the credit bureaus to make
        sure your credit history is accurate

    --  Ensure that you have sufficient capital to both cover
        operating expenses for at least six months and build your
        business to a sustainable level

    --  Contract with reputable vendors and partners. Deals that are
        "too good to be true" usually are and may cost you more in the
        long run

Additional small business tips, including guidance on creating a business plan and information on business start-up costs, are available for free online at (use the site's keyword search function to find specific topics). For more insight into building and establishing a business, visit the Capital One Small Business Resource Center at

About the Survey

The study was conducted for Capital One using ICR's EXCEL telephone omnibus survey with a nationally representative sample of 1015 US adults age 18 and over between March 15-19th, 2007. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. ICR is one of the nation's leading market and opinion research firms and is headquartered in Media, PA. For more information on this methodology and ICR please go to:

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company with more than 720 locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and Louisiana, that offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Its principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank, Capital One, F.S.B., Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., Capital One, N.A., and North Fork Bank collectively had $87.7 billion in deposits and $142.0 billion in managed loans outstanding as of March 31, 2007. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.

Capital One offers a range of products to meet small business needs, including small business credit cards, small business loans and lines of credit, and small business savings accounts. As the largest issuer of small business Visa credit cards, and the third largest lender of SBA loans, Capital One provides specialized support designed to make it easier for small business customers to manage their finances so that they can focus on what's important to them. Capital One small business products are available via direct mail,, phone (800.926.1000) and fax.

Capital One Financial Corporation, McLean
Stephen Schooff, 972-378-8105

Capital One Financial Corporation