A Woman’s Guide to Starting a Business

The top reason a lot of businesses fail is poor management. This is closely followed by poor financing and lack of experience. Many people, not just women, go into business with more passion than business sense. Whatever path you choose, passion is important, but passion alone won’t pay your bills or replace your day job. You have to have a plan.

One thing we need to think about is whether our chosen business is one which has a high income potential. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, there are more than 10.4 million businesses owned by women, but only 3% of all women-owned businesses earn revenues of over a million dollars compared to 6% of men-owned businesses.

On the other hand, according to All About Women Consumers, when women are provided with relevant information, they do more research and due diligence than men. They also tend to become millionaires younger than men and own the majority stakes in over half of privately owned businesses.

Ask yourself the following questions as you consider starting your own business:

Do you know why you are going into business?

You may think it’s just to quit your job, to be home with your kids or to pursue a dream you’ve always had. It could be to attain more of a sense of fulfillment than you can ever achieve by working for someone else. It could be because of the earnings potential. Whatever your reasons for going into business write them down and keep them where you can refer to them often when the going gets hard and you want to quit.

Do you have what it takes to be the boss?

For a lot of women who are trapped in an 8-5 environment, the answer is an unequivocal yes. But owning your own business means you have to be committed around the clock. It means you may get phone calls in the middle of the night or while you’re traveling on vacation. It means you have to deal with all aspects of your business, not just the ones you like. For example, you may need to have meetings with lawyers or accountants or consultants.

Do you have a clear vision of where you want to be in five years? Do you have a plan on how you are going to get there?

A successful business grows out of vision and planning. Know where you want to go. Then make a plan to get there.

How does having a business fit into your personal life?

Having your own business means you no longer get holidays and weekends, at least at first. It means you may have to limit family time during the early years when you are trying to get your business off the ground. Can you make the necessary sacrifices to give your business a fighting chance? Can you hang in there when you don’t attain instant success and persist in the face of defeat?

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION

Once you’ve decided that starting a business is definitely for you, the next step is to visit the Small Business Administration (sba.gov/.) This site has a ton of information about everything from planning your business to naming your business. There is also information on getting licenses and permits, financing your business and paying taxes.

The SBA also has a division called the Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) which helps women start and own successful business. For more information, visit sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/onlinewbc/index.html.

There are OWBO women’s business centers across the country. These centers were created to help women start businesses, and obtain financing if necessary.

Starting your own business is an achievable dream. Take the time to know what your dream is, why you want to pursue it, where it’s likely to lead you and how you’re going to get there. Then make it happen.