We’re on the cusp of a new year, and that means many of us are evaluating our goals for 2020 and putting in place the necessary steps to achieve them. If entrepreneurship is your plan for the year, as a woman, how can you build a successful, thriving business?
Brick-and-Mortar or Online-Only?
A big decision that not only female entrepreneurs but anyone who wants to start a business faces is whether to stick with an online-only model or do brick-and-mortar. If you do a brick-and-mortar business, there are more initial startup costs. For example, you’ll have to think about renting a commercial space, choosing business and office furniture, potentially hiring employees, and you’ll have to invest in more traditional forms of marketing.
If you do an online-only business, you can cut down on many of the upfront and initial investments, but there are downsides.
Online-only businesses may lack the sense of legitimacy that comes with a brick-and-mortar business, and you lose the benefits of face-to-face relationship-building and interactions.
It’s a decision that only you can make based on your personal needs, as well as the type of business you’re hoping to open.
Choose Something Meaningful
When you’re building a business, you want to achieve a few things.
First, you want to solve a problem. This may be a problem that you yourself have faced in your life. You want to not only solve a problem but fill a general need that exists.
Then, beyond that, you want to build a business that has personal meaning to you.
If your business isn’t meaningful to you, it’s going to be much more difficult for you to be inspired to work on it day in and day out.
If you can think about these objectives even before you think about profitability, it’ll help you build something with staying power.
A big part of building something meaningful also relies on identifying an audience and then getting to know and understand that audience on a deep level.
You want to start your business with your eye on one particular community. This might grow and expand over time, but in the early days, that one community should be your sole focus.
You’ll market your product to that audience, and this will allow you to have a fit between your product or service and your market.
Then, you can follow the lead of these customers for targeted expansion.
Have Defined Goals and Be Decisive
The idea of owning a business is one that may seem like a dream, but to make that a reality, you need to have clearly defined goals and a very specific vision of where you want to go.
Then, if you have clear goals, it will allow you to set strong metrics to measure your success.
Make sure you are decisive every step of the way as well. There’s no time to second-guess yourself in business.
Don’t second-guess yourself, and don’t see yourself as an imposter or someone who doesn’t belong in the business world. Go forward with confidence in your decision and the knowledge that you are a business owner and an entrepreneur.
Create a Compelling Story
The one thing that will set your business apart, no matter what is you and your story.
Work on building and then refining your story so that it appeals to not only your targeted audience but investors as well.
The more succinctly you can sum up your story and your purpose, the better.
It’s up to you to become the ultimate salesperson on your business and your brand.
You’re going to be doing a lot of selling of your products and services and your brand if you own a business.
This includes selling not only to customers and clients but to investors and employees.
Put in the time to practice and refine your pitch, and get feedback on it.
Take Advantage of Resources
There are many resources available to help women entrepreneurs specifically, and you should take advantage of anything available to you.
You can get in touch with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration, to find options available to you.
Some of the partners of the Office include the National Women’s Business Council and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
The National Women’s Business Council is an advisory group that works on providing advice to the President, Congress, and U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues that are relevant to women business owners.
Build a Great Website
Even if you don’t have an online business, you still need an amazing website. People will go to your website first to see what you’re all about before they visit your location, so make sure it represents who you are, what your brand is about, and what you have to offer.
Connect with a Mentor
When you’re a female business owner, you may face more challenges than men who launch businesses. There is often more pressure on female business owners because of family responsibilities, for example.
It can be tough to navigate everything, so try to find a mentor who’s been through these challenges and can provide you good insight that you wouldn’t otherwise think about.
Finally, a big logistical concern when you’re starting a business is the need to protect your personal assets if something were to go wrong.
As soon as you start building your business, you should incorporate or form an LLC. Don’t wait until your business starts to take off to do this, because by then it could be too late.
You should form an LLC or incorporate so that you can separate all of your business finances from your finances. If anything goes wrong, which it very well could, your personal assets will be properly protected.
If you feel like it’s your time to start the business you’ve had on your mind for years, let 2020 be the year you go for it.
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