Female entrepreneurs possess a great ability to start up — and sustain — any business imaginable. Follow these 10 steps to script your own happiness by pursuing a life and career that lights you up.
Given the current economic reality, more women are waking up to the realization that the career they thought was waiting for them simply does not exist. Many women are also tired of the 9 to 5 soul-crushing cubicle workplace that holds down latent talents with an iron bar while offering very little in terms of free thinking and balance. If this scenario resonates with you, it may be time to summon your inner entrepreneur.
Here are 10 steps to launching your own business:
- Develop clarity around your business model
When it comes to choosing the right business path, many people — especially women — are not very clear about what they want. I recommend spending time on exploring the right option for you. Assess and evaluate the different facets of yourself: personality, family, relationships, education, social styles, environment, age, interest, strengths, and finances. Pay careful attention to your inner voice, as your intuition will be your most reliable GPS in weighing the myriad options you may be exploring. One of the key questions to focus on is: What gives you drive and energy even when you’re exhausted? That’s the space you want to work in!
- Find your niche
Be authentic. Women in general are naturally intuitive. Tap into your inner reservoir to bring out your talents and start sharing your true gifts with the world. Ask yourself the following: How can I help people grow and in what ways can I help them deliver value? These are important questions that will help you bring to the world what you can best deliver and will guarantee lasting success and fulfillment.
- Identify your approach to entrepreneurship
Are you going to become the next lady boss to solve a problem in the market by inventing a product, or are you going to use your skills and talent to package a product/service, or even emulate some other business model? Conduct a feasibility study or maybe a survey to see how much of a need there is for your product or service, who your target audience is, what the size of the market segment is and who the competition is. When considering your customers or clients, add value by asking yourself: What can I deliver and how can I make them successful in their own pursuits? This approach can lead to new ways to hone your product or service and deliver more value, which your customers will certainly appreciate. Once you’ve decided on your line of business and you are clear about the way in which you want to shine — there’s no stopping you.
- Create a business plan
A business plan will help you remain focused and give you a benchmark to gauge your progress. In addition to a master plan for growth, it should include your mission statement and clear value proposition — this is your ‘promise’ to your customers/clients. Get help creating a business plan if you don’t know where to start. This is a key step in the implementation stage and to the daily operation of any business. Not having a business plan can result in endless struggles and challenges, something which many lady bosses experience.
- Establish a realistic budget
Assess the health of your finances. It would be great if you can afford the option of a wealth/financial manager to guide you. What does your current budget allow you to do? If you have a very small capital outlay, yet have a line of business that requires a substantial initial investment or recurring cash flow, perhaps you should explore crowd-funding, sponsorship, or applying for government funding. It all depends on the type of business that you’re engaging in. Some businesses might only require registration, setting up a website, hosting a domain and paying for Internet charges, while others might require a large capital outlay. Plan your finances in advance to avoid nasty surprises.
- Carve out a creative workspace
Ladies, whether you’re working from home or an office, your workspace needs to inspire you. If you’re a lifestyle business you can even run your business from home, but make sure that you’ve defined a place where your work is carried out. Decorate it and customize according to your taste and budget.
- Execute daily action steps
All the planning in the world will not deliver results if you’re not willing to take action. Take baby steps; break down your company goals into sub-goals and execute these small steps on a daily basis. For example, if you’re setting up an online business you will need a website to execute your product/services, so break this goal down into mini steps — such as outsourcing a good web designer, consulting with your designer, putting your ideas on paper, tracking progress of the web design, and co-coordinating with the designer on a daily basis. Set a timeframe by which the website must be built, tested and launched. Put a timeframe in place to execute your sub-goals, and then take action on a daily basis to reach them. Reward yourself for every milestone you reach and celebrate your success.
- Recruit support
Women in general tend to shy away from networking and recruiting support, yet the best piece of business often comes via this platform. Enlist the support of your family, friends, associates, and both online and offline networks. Embrace and use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn to kickstart your networking. Attend networking events. Join business forums and groups by participating on a regular basis. Be willing to say who you are and what you do with conviction and confidence. Get your ‘elevator pitch’ down!
- Deliver your best
Always deliver by creating the highest value possible. Whether you’re doing something on a pro bono basis or getting paid for it, try to do it with the intention of adding immense value. Strive to over-deliver on your promise. When we create and deliver from this angle, then success is bound to follow.
- Enlist a mentor or coach
The journey of an entrepreneur isn’t an easy one. That’s why it is important to learn from those who have been where you are and where you want to go in order to grow your business. Find a good mentor or productivity coach to work with you, then listen to their advice and ask for their help when you need it. A mentor/coach will also hold you accountable for your actions — this step alone will help you to take action on a daily basis.
As a female entrepreneur, I strongly believe women possess a great ability to start up — and sustain — any company imaginable. Follow these 10 steps to script your own happiness by pursuing the life, career and business that lights you up. And while you’re paving your path, be mindful of helping others on their same journey.
>You may also enjoy reading The ROI (Return on Investment) of Your Values, by Ajax Greene