Ever thought of starting your own business?
Many women have started what have become very successful businesses from a single idea or a throw-away comment from by a friend. Women all over the world are making significant contributions to their economies by their own entrepreneurial efforts. On the other hand, many women think of starting a business but never get any further than that.
The history behind the majority of women entrepreneurs is similar. More often than not women decide to set up a business because they have a genuine passion to provide a particular service or a strong desire to develop and market a particular product. Sometimes it is from economic necessity, though not as often as you might think, and it is interesting that the woman who sets up a successful business from her kitchen table is still somehow not regarded as highly as a man who works from his spare bedroom for two years before buying his first premises.
External attitudes to women entrepreneurs extend well into the banking system as women, however well-armed with detailed business plans they have, still find it more difficult to secure revenue. This has been borne out in recent years by the growth of financial operations which specialise in lending to women entrepreneurs and wouldbepreneurs.
There is also the internal attitude, how we, as women entrepreneurs, view ourselves and our business ideas. At the risk of over generalising, the following facts hold true for most women who set up in business:
They want to build their business over the long term, not just get it up and running and successful and then sell it off and go onto something else
They see customer satisfaction to be the cornerstone to this growth
They are risk managers rather than risk takers and pay great attention to even the smallest aspect of their business
They tend to set up on a shoestring, finding as many ways as possible to do something for no cost/low cost possibly because they know it's hard to be financed by venture capital or perhaps because they need to prove to themselves that their business will work well before they go and ask for help
They are highly motivated to succeed and determined not to give up
These elements, except perhaps the last one, are not traditionally characteristics of male entrepreneurs.
How can I begin?
If you're one of the woman with an idea but nothing much else, than what do you need to take that next step?
I think, initially, it comes down to 3 C's:
COURAGE – yes, you need to be brave as you step up and do something different. But women are known for their courage so it' s in you somewhere
CONFIDENCE – you have to have belief in yourself before any belief in a product or service. AND you have to find ways to deal with the gremlin questions that will pop into your head at fairly regular intervals at first –"Can I do this?" "How do I know I can do this?" "Why did I ever think this was something I could do?" and so on*
COMMUNICATION - when you've got the courage in your hand and built your self confidence to the sky, you have to talk about your product or service. If you don’t, no-one will know you're there! It's not enough to have the idea, you have to communicate about it and with the Internet, there are hundreds of ways to get the message out.
Once you have these 3 C's in place, then there's lots more to do as you enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship, but get them right and you'll stand a better chance of success.
Where are you with your 3 C's today?
*I'm running a FREE two-part webinar series for women in June when we will look at the issue of self confidence and how to get more of it. Places limited so book here for a place "Get Confident, Get Going or How to Take Tactical Steps To Build Confidence" https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/855277462
Feature contributed by KATE COBB
on May 27, 2011 at 10:24 am.