There are lots of different circumstances that can lead women to start up a business.
For some, a business idea has been nurtured and developed over time and putting plans into action and starting up is the next step. For others starting a business can be quite unexpected, for example after redundancy or at a time where work needs to fit in with family caring commitments.
Whatever the path has been to starting up a business, most people feel at least a little nervousness as they strike out and make the jump to start up. It’s natural to feel like that – few people are serial entrepreneurs – so we have developed our Start-up Ready Checklist to help prove to yourself that you are ready to make the jump.
At the heart of the checklist is your business plan. This is the document which pulls together all your research and work to date and shows (as far as you can at this stage) that customers need your product or service. It sets out how you will make your business different from the competition, why people will choose to buy from you, how you will identify and reach customers, the income you will make and the costs you will incur in running your business. It’s important that you can show how you will make business sales and cover your costs.
Spending time on shaping your business plan, seeking feedback and testing out your assumptions is really useful before you start up. Be realistic about the sales you will generate at the start and the costs you will incur. Test out some worst-case scenarios – for example what if it takes longer to make sales? What if your costs unexpectedly increase? Ask for feedback from potential customers to ensure that your product or service is compelling and competitive i.e. do they really like it, would they buy it? This will all help to see any problems with your plan and ensure that you can correct them before starting up. It’s about getting all your ducks in a row before you start selling.
Another useful area to look at is your own skills set, including digital skills. There are lots of online tools that can help you run and grow your business, saving valuable time and money. Understanding all the legal things you need to do as a business owner is pretty important and finding business advisors who can offer support and direct you to sources of grant funding and training can all help strengthen your business, and your confidence at the same time.
Using your existing friends and colleagues and networking to meet new business people can help pave the way to sales opportunities. Networking is also a good way of finding a business mentor, someone who has already started up a business and can help you through their own experiences.