Generational gaps: Do they make a difference to lenders and financial advisers?

Jessica SarterSmall Business Lending

Financial advisers are looking to expand their small business clientele in light of an improving economy and the jump in credit demand that such a recovery entails. Small business owners are also seeking financial consulting services to pave their way to a stronger 2012.

But new research from Securian Financial Group shows how generational differences may impact an organization's decisions regarding financial management. Specifically, the report shows how baby boomers' top financial concerns regard the state of the economy, healthcare costs, personal retirement plans and exit strategies.

Members of Gen X, however, are much more concerned with day-to-day business needs and financials, such as taking care of family and paying off student loans. They also tend to be more aggressive, risk-tolerant investors. This is an important consideration for small business lenders, many of whom have been tightening their credit standards in light of excessive risk.

"Small business owners are a large, diverse group," said Kerry Geurkink, director of individual annuity marketing at Securian. "Our research shows that the proven strategy for building a successful practice – target a market, work it and become an expert – applies to the small business owner market as well."

The ability to finance a small venture is still a daunting task, and one's success on that front may often have nothing to do with the viability of a business idea. Too often entrepreneurs get bogged down in the process of finding capital that they lose track of their core management responsibilities.

Lending marketplaces like BoeFly offer business owners the opportunity to identify prospective lenders and work toward improving their credit applications. That is something many financial advisers are beginning to realize in their own dealings with small enterprise.