Tips for Women Wanting to Start a Business From Scratch
Danielle Tate is the CEO of MissNowMrs.com.
Now more than ever, women are seeing the benefits of building their own businesses and are doing just that. In a world full of complicated and contradicting start up information, consider my eight simple tips for launching a successful business as a woman. It does after all help to get advice from someone who’s been there.
Don’t quit your day job, at least not at first. While it may be tempting to jump feet first into building your business, it is wise to map out your financial needs and obligations before giving your two weeks notice. Consider working part-time as a transition into entrepreneurship. I’m a big fan of bootstrapping a business instead of beginning with seed rounds. It allows you to truly focus on your product/idea instead of cap tables and keeping investors happy.
Have an original idea. So you’ve come up with an amazing solution to a problem. Awesome. Now take some time to research the problem and see if any other companies have come up with similar solutions and/or products. It is rarely fruitful to create a copycat company, unless your concept is radically innovative. Next step, talk to the people that experience the problem you’re solving and find out what they really need/want. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn from your potential customer.
Generate and act upon continuous good ideas. It isn’t the one good idea you had for your business that will make you successful, it is the good ideas you have daily. Continuous improvement and innovation create a thriving business that is hard for competitors to copy.
Play to your strengths. Know what you do well and make sure that those things are your responsibility in the business. If you lack a key component to running your business, consider finding a partner to handle that aspect. CoFoundersLab.com is a free service that matches entrepreneurs based on their strengths and personalities. If you don’t want to bring in a partner, hire someone to fill in your “business gaps”, because it is exhausting to try to do everything yourself and invariably whatever you’re not comfortable doing won’t get done for the business.
Plug into a community. Building a startup is tough, but building a startup in a vacuum is virtually impossible. There are amazing groups like Startup America and Lean Start Up that hold meet-ups for entrepreneurs to network at and collaborate. Women rely on relationships for support and happiness in life...it is no different in business. Finding a few female entrepreneur friends that you can talkbusiness woes and successes with can make all the difference in your success.
Strictly Business. Allow your friends and family to help you with research and any other aspects of your start up, but beware hiring them as employees. As women we want to keep our friends and family happy, which makes managing them a nightmare. The transition from friend to employee to entitled can happen quickly and result in some tough decisions. I personally had to fire two friends-turned employees and we are no longer friends. Learn from my mistakes.
Strive for Balance. It is incredibly easy to get completely wrapped up in your start-up, but it can also be suffocating and lead to tremendous amounts of guilt. Schedule time weekly to meet up with friends and family to maintain your relationships. Trust me, if you don’t schedule time, it won’t happen. If you have children, earmark at least 3 evenings to hang out and simply enjoy them (and then go back to work after you tuck them in). I find that when I take time out from work to relax, my best ideas happen.
Find Inspiration. Be it music, art, exercise or hobbies; you know what inspires your mind and soul. Don’t forget to feed that part of you to fuel your business and creativity. Personally, I have an inspirational quote board on Pinterest that I look through when I’m feeling drained or need that extra edge for a big meeting.