Starting your own business is a dream for most women. Only a few make that dream a reality. The difference between the two is rarely anything to do with having a ground-breaking idea or higher levels of creativity. In reality, most successful businesses are not particularly innovative, they just take a well-established type of enterprise and do it better. To slightly misquote Edison:
“Starting a successful business is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
It’s about hard work and planning. If you succeed the pay-off is not just financial. The benefits of autonomy over your work and time, and being able to work at something you believe in, are priceless. So how do you get there? Here are 5 steps to start with:
Choose the Right Business for You
This is one of the most basic factors to consider when starting a business. How your business performs in the beginning and up to the distant future depends largely on how compatible your skills and passions are with your chosen business venture. Give yourself an honest and fair assessment in terms of skills, interests, and knowledge. Next, conduct a study on the viability of the business you will run for the long term. Then you can proceed in finding a niche in the market. Think of the demand of the market and the possible competitors in this niche. When you have these factors considered, you can create a business plan to help guide you in the early stages of your business.
Thoroughly Plan Your Finances
One of the most pressing questions when it comes to starting a business is, “Can you afford to start a business?” Yes, capital is an important factor in starting a business, and this should be well thought of and planned first before you can implement the other steps in your business plan. Most often, the money we set aside for funding our business startup will not be enough because we have not thoroughly accounted for the different costs related to starting and operating the business. This is a particular issue for women, who capitalise their businesses to just one-third the level of male counterparts on average. This undercapitalisation is one of the main factors in business failure.
Loans, investments, sponsorships and crowdfunding are just a few of the options that can stabilize your business capital. The first option is perhaps the most preferred option due to the definite timeline of acquiring the funds. Women entrepreneurs should be careful in choosing the right loan program for their business, and carefully compare loan terms, and payment arrangements.
Friends and family can be another significant source of loans or investment. If this is an option for you, do make sure that you have a formal agreement drawn up. Things can and do go wrong in business and your relationships are more likely to survive that if everyone is clear in advance about what will happen in the worst-case scenario.
Get Your Business Requirements Ready
Timeliness is a crucial element in starting your business. This can be a particular issue for women. We tend to be more careful; this is a huge positive for your business when it presents as thoroughness. But you need to be careful that it does not present as hesitation.
Commit to deadlines and accountability partners and then go all out to push ahead.
There can be various requirements in getting your business operational. Picking out a name for your business, whether land-based, online, or both, is essential and should be done ahead of time to prevent delays. The same is true for preparing the necessary licenses and permits. Do early research on the relevant permits and licenses for your business and the type of industry where your business belongs. This way, you can prepare the necessary documents and applicable fees to get your business to legally operate.
Have a Strategy for Building Your Team
No matter how small your business may be, there will be areas of it that are not your strong point. Aim to focus on what you do best and then hire for, or outsource, the rest.
Get your team in place as soon as possible. Overview the skills that are needed to deliver the whole range of tasks and then decide what you can sensibly do yourself and what it would be better to delegate. Hiring an accountant should be an early action. As well as putting in place financial management systems, a good accountant should be able to advise on regulations and legal structures as well as strategic planning.
The first 18 months of your business operation are crucial, and you need to carefully select key people who will work for you in this period. Hire employees who are diligent, committed, trustworthy, and possess soft skills that are necessary for customer and coworker relationships. The early months of your business may be crucial but at any stage of your business lifecycle, having the right employees is just as important.
Build a Reliable Business Network and Advisers
Having friends and acquaintances in the business world is a great advantage for your budding business. Don’t be afraid to establish connections, friendships, and partnerships with different professionals, especially those in the field of finance and business. They may become helpful to your business when you need them, especially for investments and advice.
Speaking of advice, the larger your network becomes, the more people you can choose to constitute your advisory board. The competent, experienced, and trustworthy members of your board can help you handle issues, projections, and plans for the future operations of your business. Your board can help you strengthen your credibility and reputation as an entrepreneur and help sway investors in your favor.
Starting a business, running it, and driving it towards success takes courage, persistence, and tenacity. It also demands rational thinking, strategy, and planning. To make money out of your business, you also need money to start one, so manage your finances wisely. Lastly, harness the power of communication and relationships. How you connect with your employees, customers, investors, and other people relevant to your business can help a lot in steering your business towards success.
Download our set up your business checklist to work through these steps and start moving forward with your business today.