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Women-Owned Businesses Generate Trillions in Sales but Report Finances are a Hassle; Women Business Owners Not Taking Full Advantage of Small Business Financing Tools

October 18, 2005 at 9:05 AM EDT

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 18, 2005--Today, more than 10 million companies in the United States are owned by women and those firms generate an estimated $2.5 trillion in sales each year. Yet, according to a new survey by the Small Business division at Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF), women entrepreneurs report that time and financial management are two of the biggest challenges they face in owning their own business. However, many aren't taking full advantage of the various online tools, resources and small business lending products available to help them succeed.

Thirty-five percent (35.5%) of the women small business owners surveyed said they struggle to achieve a good work-life balance. Another forty-one percent (40.7) cited financial issues as the biggest hassle they face in building a successful company, noting the challenge of keeping up with day-to-day finances and getting the capital they need to grow their businesses. Despite these hurdles, nearly the same percentage of women (39.7%) reported that they are not taking advantage of loans, credit lines and other common small business financing options, and 65% don't leverage online banking.

"There are a variety of business planning tools, financing options and other resources available that are designed to make life easier for small business owners," said Wendy Alexander, Director of Small Business Solutions at Capital One. "By using online banking tools and leveraging products like small business credit cards and loans, small business owners can simplify cash flow management and focus on what's important to them."

Alexander stresses the importance of separating personal from business finances. It protects the business owner, but also simplifies the reporting process. And online banking removes many time-consuming steps associated with paying bills and tracking cash flow. It's also critical to plan ahead.

"Small business owners need to be prepared in advance to manage their cash flow needs and ensure they've got the financial footing to grow," said Alexander. "Establishing a strategic plan for the growth of your business - particularly identifying sources of funding - is critical for success. Entrepreneurs should write a detailed business plan, map out a clear financial strategy and set up a small business loan, credit card or money market account before they really need it to address cash flow gaps and avoid unnecessary stress."

At each stage of a company's evolution, there are a vast array of resources and financing options available to help. Capital One and the Better Business Bureau have developed a series of tips designed to help teach small business owners how to plan and prepare for every stage of growth.

Tips for securing a small business loan

Preparation is critical when seeking a small business loan. The goal is to convince the lender that you and your company are a good credit risk and that they will be putting their money to good use when they grant you a loan. This requires a sound business loan proposal, one that illustrates how reliable you are, demonstrates that your business has the potential for success, and clearly details how much money you need, why you need it and how you plan to pay it back. Small business tips, including guidance on creating a business plan and information on business start-up costs, are available for free online at www.bbb.org/tips/capitalone.

Survey Methodology

Braun Research was engaged to conduct 253 interviews with a representative sample of women business owners across the United States. Surveys were conducted by telephone from October 5th through October 6th, 2005, using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. The margin of error for the interview is +/- 6.161 percentage points. Interviews were monitored at random. The sample was drawn from a Dunn & Bradstreet database of businesses in the United States. Statistical weights were designed from business ownership data.

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a bank holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank, Capital One, F.S.B. and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc. offer a variety of consumer lending products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 48.9 million accounts and $83.0 billion in managed loans outstanding as of June 30, 2005. Capital One is a Fortune 500 company and, through its subsidiaries, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 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, capitalone.com, phone (877.561.9847) and fax.

CONTACT: Capital One Financial Corporation, McLean
Pam Girardo, 703-720-2351
pam.girardo@capitalone.com
or
APCO Worldwide
Alison Athay, 206-239-0140
aathay@apcoworldwide.com

SOURCE: Capital One Financial Corporation