How Do We Close the Opportunity Gap for Women-Owned Financial Planning Firms?

The time has come: You are finally ready to start your own financial planning firm.

Perhaps you want to enter a new phase of your professional career, one that better meets your needs — whether it’s more fair compensation or a healthier work-life balance. Maybe you’re motivated by the flexibility and freedom that come with being your own boss.

No matter what is driving your decision, we commend you for taking the leap. At Equita Financial Network, we meet women just like you every single day — aspiring firm leaders who are creating their own path to independence.

Of course, that path is filled with both opportunities and hesitations: How do you leave the security of your paycheck, while supporting your personal and business expenses? Will your clients want to continue working with you once you’ve left your current firm? How do you find the solutions you need to run your business effectively? We know these feelings well, because we’ve been there before.

Getting access to the right resources and support can be a difficult undertaking for any business owner who is just starting out — but research shows it can be significantly more challenging for women.

The Opportunity Gap

Inside and outside of the financial services industry, the data proves that women are natural entrepreneurs. Between 2007 and 2016, women started businesses five times faster than the national average, according to a report commissioned by American Express OPEN. The research also shows that compared to men, women also reinvest more of the profits they earn from their businesses back into their communities and families.

All great news, right?

Underneath that progress lies a critical issue: access. Women business owners still struggle with securing the resources they need to launch their enterprise and foster future growth. For context: Only 2.2% of all venture capital in the United States goes to companies founded solely by women. What’s more, just 2% of women-owned businesses make it to $1 million in revenue — 3.5 times less than their male peers.

While there are many systemic factors that have contributed to the access issue, we can’t help but think of the network piece — the closed communities and barriers to entry that exist for women in the workplace, especially in spaces dominated by men.

In previous blog posts, we have often repeated the old adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” — and in the world of female entrepreneurship, this couldn’t be more accurate. The marked increase in the number of women business owners has signaled a need for outlets that provide women with opportunities to learn from one another — to share stories, solutions, and most importantly, resources, that can fuel their path to growth and success.

Why Collaboration Wins — and How Firms Fall Short

We can personally attest to the power of collaborative outlets for women. Prior to establishing Equita, our founders, Bridget and Katie, were busy leading their own financial planning practices. After bonding over similar career experiences, they wound up collaborating with each other on a few client cases, which led to mutual success. Bridget and Katie soon discovered that by leveraging each other’s unique abilities and resources, they were able to run their businesses more efficiently and spend their time focusing on what mattered most to them, both personally and professionally.

What resulted was a rare and wonderful combination of community and accessibility — and thus, the concept of Equita was born. We believe there is something truly unique in having a network that allows for support, collaboration, connection, and education, while providing all of the resources one could need to run their business, on their own terms.

In recent years, it has become clear that the industry is catching up and understanding the unique challenges female planners face. Some firms have even ramped up recruiting efforts to attract next-gen women to the field, but there’s still a critical missing piece:

These efforts fail to empower women who are already in the industry with the resources they need to stay and succeed.

This is where a network created by women — for women — can make all the difference.

We See a Better Way

Today’s female firm leaders certainly need practical business solutions to achieve success and face challenges head on — from compliance support, to technology, to portfolio management. But beyond those solutions, we at Equita believe there’s an even greater value that comes with fostering a community that women can rely on — one that empowers women to fuel each other’s success, advocate for each other, and feel supported at every stage of their business.

Ultimately, this is how we’ll close the opportunity gap once and for all. It’s like the late Hazel Hawke once said: “Women’s networks are a necessary part of life. A mixture of empathy and brainstorming can move mountains.” Let’s move mountains and seize success, together.

Are you interested in learning more about Equita’s platform? Get in touch with our team today.

Author: Equita