1/8/2013 1:03:00 PM A Woman’s Place is in Business
by Dave Thomas SCORE Counselor
Question: I have been planning a business venture for a number of years, but because of my husband and children, I am concerned about going into business and wonder if SCORE could give me some pointers for balancing my responsibilities and getting this business off the ground.
Answer: As a woman considering starting a small business, one thing’s certain: you already have a lot of company.
According to the National Women’s Business Council, there are nearly 8 million woman-owned businesses in the U.S. today. While women own more than half of all health care and social assistance businesses, they are also well-represented in educational services, retail, and recreation. Also women are increasingly heading technical and research-oriented companies.
Although the steps toward becoming an entrepreneur are not gender-specific, women often face unique issues and decisions. Small business ownership represents an exciting opportunity, but who really wants to give up spending quality time with family and friends?
That’s why beginning this venture with a time management plan is essential. It’s also possible you may need to redefine your support network (e.g., spouse, family members, neighbors, trusted friends) so some of the roles you’ve been fulfilling can be taken off your hands.
Many households also need multiple incomes to get by these days. If this is your situation, then careful budgeting is essential to make sure your family can accommodate the loss of that paycheck until the business begins generating revenue.
Then there’s the matter of choosing what type of small business to pursue. Prior experience is always a plus, but there’s no reason not to consider a new field that interests you. Just remember that such a move may require additional preparation time and research.
Lahle A. Wolfe, a single mom of four, an entrepreneur, author, speaker, web programmer and application developer says, “The best business idea is one that you are passionate about. The most valuable business skill you can develop is networking. To succeed in business it helps to have a mentor and be willing to learn from others. Surround yourself with positive people and never doubt your ability to succeed. To strike it big, you have to plan big -- dreams won’t get you anywhere without momentum.” Wolfe is a regular contributor to http://WomenInBusiness.About.com.
The Women in Business Section of http://About.com encourages contributions from women entrepreneurs. These are women who have successfully learned to balance their families with their business and the advice offered is generally practical and easy to implement.
Count on doing a lot of research as you assemble your business plan. With so much information now available online, much of your prep work can be done on the computer. But learning more about a small business opportunity typically raises more questions. You may need to take time to visit similar businesses to get a better feel for the enterprise you are considering.
Of course, every aspiring entrepreneur needs a sound financial plan and credit history, and lending institutions are required by law to treat men and women equally when it comes to small business loans. Nevertheless, the recent financial market upheaval has caused many lenders to be more selective about whom they lend money to, requiring all entrepreneurs to be very meticulous about every detail in their business plans.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to think big. “Sometimes women are uncomfortable with risk, or worried about disappointing others if they fail,” says Chicago-based author, consultant, and entrepreneur Carol Roth. “Women need to have more confidence in their ability to succeed, and understand that if the risk/reward tradeoff makes sense, there is no reason why they can’t go bigger.”
Your SCORE counselor is an excellent resource for launching your new business. Be sure to count on SCORE as you move forward with your business plans.
Getting sound advice on issues facing today’s small businesses is important for long term success. REGISTER NOW for the SCORE Business Plan Workshop for the Verde Valley; Saturdays 9:00AM – 12:00PM Feb. 2, 2013 through Feb. 23, 2013. Cost of the series is $90 for two participants from a single business. Contact Northern Arizona SCORE today at 928-778-7438, email email@example.com or visit our website at www.scorenaz.org