This is a guest article by Andy Mutt
Did you know that 22nd September is American Businesswoman’s Day?
Women-owned organizations comprise forty percent of all firms in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. Faced with job cuts and the need to juggle family and work, many women are realizing the benefit of working for themselves. But are you ready to become your own boss?
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
Lack of planning is the reason most businesses fail. The first step to a successful business is putting your business vision and mission on paper. Know what your company’s core strengths and weaknesses are. Once you’ve know exactly what your business goals are you can plan your marketing activities, accordingly.
Due to globalization and the increase in competition, firms have realized the importance of getting their brand noticed. Remember, you might be offering a great product or service but it won’t matter if customers don’t know about you. For most start-up companies, lack of a budget is the reason for not engaging in promotional activities. However, promotion need not be expensive. There are cheaper alternatives to mainstream marketing. Instead of spending mega bucks on Television and print commercials, opt for economical marketing methods such as Promotional Giveaways. The major benefit of Business Promotional Products like pens and calendars imprinted with your company logo is that they are retained by recipients for long periods of time (research has shown that most people hold on to Promotional Products for a year, on average) You can give away promotional products to your customers, suppliers and employees to promote your brand and increase your brand image.
One of the biggest obstacles to starting a business can be the lack of funds. Getting a loan from a bank can be difficult as usually banks don’t lend money to new ventures that don’t have a track record of success. However, there are other sources for finances. Women can definitely look into Women’s Business Centers (WBC), community development financial institutions (CDFI), local community banks and credit unions. Both WBC and CDFI offer guidance to women entrepreneurs and loans up to $100,000.
Networking is one of the best ways to create opportunities and market your business. Develop your own network of entrepreneurs that you can meet frequently and bounce ideas off. Attend trade shows and industry networking events regularly. Form long lasting relationships with influential people you meet. You never know who could be a potential customer or investor! With the integration of technology in our lives, networking even consists of participating in online discussions and joining social networking sites.
Entrepreneurship is all about enthusiasm. Pick an industry, product or service you love and you’ll never run out of passion. Learn to be realistic and be prepared for your start-up not taking off the first time around. Learn from your mistakes and try again. Remember to enjoy the process!