Don't Be Discouraged By This Month’s News About Entrepreneurialism In The U.S.
A recent report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that start-up activity plummeted in the first half of 2010, its lowest rate in two decades, as would-be entrepreneurs were either…
A. Scooped up by employers (Bravo!), or
B. Scared off by fragile economic conditions (Eek!)
By these 'fragile economic conditions,’ we mean a tight lending market and uncertainty over the sustainability of the economy.
Meanwhile, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, “The total number of women-owned businesses doubled from 1992-2006 from 5.4 million to 10.4 million.” It would be a shame if this fabulous trend reversed over the next decade. When women are able to call themselves “boss” of their own successful start-up, large or small, it is not only empowering for themselves, but the entire female workforce as well.
Until The Lending Environment Loosens Up, Don’t Take The Harsh Economy Personally
In this lending environment, odds are high that it’s really not you, or your business model to blame. Since the start of the credit crunch, the banks’ capacity to make loans to anyone has been drastically reduced. But if you’ve got a good plan, a solid credit score and determination, keep knocking on those doors, one will open eventually!
Pick a profitable niche. Too many start-ups fail because they pick niches where there is not enough demand. Don’t further flood a saturated market, and if you must, make sure you find one factor that really differentiates you from competitors. Taking a note from Poppy King of The Lipstick Queen, it’s important to understand the concept of “narrow and deep,” meaning that you don’t have to do everything. You just have to do something really thoroughly and that alone will separate you from the competition. It is also smart to draw from past experiences, especially in the beginning. Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne of Georgetown Cupcake drew from their former careers in fashion and private equity to pursue something a little sweeter.
Meet With Others For Motivation
Supportive spouses and friends are helpful, but sparking magical connections with other entrepreneurs is crucial. Only they can truly empathize and give advice through the day-to-day grind of running your own business. Meeting with them weekly, bi-weekly or monthly will provide not only a support system, but also a new business network. Michelle Sterling was only in her twenties when she started her business the Global Image Group, but mentorship helped her overcome many fears.
Avoid This Common Pitfall
Keeping your head buried in your business operations may make you feel productive but it may prevent you from making that one magical connection, be it a big client referral or a funding opportunity. More harmful, it may have a negative effect on your family life or burn you out very quickly. Sustaining a healthy balance between work and personal life can help keep you in the game, according to Jennifer Rozenbaum of Jenerations Photography.
Protect Your Business With Good Bookkeeping
The most important tip for women is to treat their start-ups not just as a passion or a hobby, but as a real business with a bottom line. Hire a great accountant and keep excellent books and records. Treating your endeavors like a business from the get-go, will help keep you laser-focused on profit and loss and cash flow and help to better-guide your financial decisions.