One of the biggest advantages of starting your own business is the flexibility it affords you. The opportunity to create your own schedule, work from home, and even restrict the number of projects you can take on at one time are just a few of the advantages entrepreneurs rave about. These benefits are especially meaningful for working mothers, a quickly growing sector of the entrepreneurs club. Now, many women find themselves able to work and raise a family at the same, without sacrificing much of either. If you are in a position of trying to juggle your multiple lives and looking for a way out, starting your own business may be the way for you too. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Come up with a Great Idea. This is easier said than done. One of the most important parts of coming up with a great idea is that it be something you enjoy and is profitable. While most people don’t start out thinking they’ll be the next multi-millionaire, everyone starts a business thinking it will make some money. One of the best ways to come up with a great business idea that you are interested in is to think about voids you see in your daily life. It’s also wise to ask yourself what you are passionate about and what your most successful work style is. The answers to these questions may also dictate what kind of a business will work best for you.
- Organize your Business. Once you have your business idea and you’re ready to get started on it, there are few technicalities that you should work out. The first is what kind of a business structure you need. There are many different types of business entity, each with its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of taxes, shareholders, and structure. To create the structure, you need to file the appropriate paperwork with the secretary of state for your state. A lawyer can help you figure this process out but it can be costly. Online filing services are cheaper and they can make sure you get all the right forms taken care of just as well. The next step is to trademark your business name, logo, and any product names you intend to use. While this may not seem too important now, it will protect you in the long run from being confused with other businesses, especially if you ever decide to expand your business past your own city or state.
- Create a Business Plan. A business plan is a game plan for how you want to run your business and setting goals for yourself. Hiring employees, looking to expand, coming out with new products, these are all part of your business plan, just put together in order with some steps to getting there. To create your business plan, it’s best to start with what you want your business to look like ten to fifteen years out, then work backwards. You also should incorporate what you’ve decided your best work style to be. If you don’t particularly want employees, plan on doing the work yourself or hiring independent contractors. If you only plan on working part time during the school year, some expansion may come a bit slower. All of these things add up to creating your business plan.
- Find your Financing. Many people find this to be the most difficult aspect of starting a business but it doesn’t have to be. After asking friends and family to invest and investing yourself (the most obvious), there are many other places to find investors. Loans and small business grants and popular means of getting financing. Also associations that specialize in your particular field are also a good place to look. A distinct advantage women have in this department is that many people are interested in increasing the amount of women who are business owners. As a result, there are many loans, grants, or credits that are intended only for women entrepreneurs. This of course means that many women are having an easier time finding financing, even in this economy. A few websites that may help in this regard:
- Start Marketing. The most important part of making your business successful is finding customers. There are three main ways of reaching out to potential customers, all of them may not work for you so it’s important to first establish who your company appeals to most. That will determine how you market yourself in many cases. The first way to advertise is through the internet. Almost every business in today’s world should have a website. It’s a great bonus for you if your website is compatible with mobile devices and allows for online ordering (if applicable). People today use their phones as computers and having a website that can be viewed easily on a phone allows customers to find and contact you. The second way to advertise is through social networking sites. It’s not just the 20 somethings on Facebook or Twitter anymore. More and more professionals are joining the trend and if your business is there, they can find you. Lastly, print advertising is a key component. While the internet is taking over, some print advertising is important, especially among your circles. If there are places you frequent or where people know you (think the grocery store, PTA meetings, or even the local newspaper), you will get customers more quickly because you already have a trustworthy reputation to build on.
Starting a business may sound like a daunting task but the rewards it can bring you make it worth it. The ability to set your own schedule and do your own thing is immensely powerful to the working mom or any woman with many other responsibilities. These tips can help you on your way to running a successful business, and there are many additional ways to be successful. The most important thing is to keep up creativity and seek advice from other entrepreneurs. With this in mind, starting your own successful business is right at your fingertips!