Today’s increasing number of women-owned businesses encourages more and more moms to consider starting a small business. Here are some questions to ask before taking the leap.
By Luisa Gavino Martinez, Business Banking manager, Wells Fargo
May ushers in Mother’s Day, and it’s a good time to celebrate and recognize the progress women entrepreneurs have made. The number of women-owned businesses has steadily grown in recent years. In fact, according to SCORE, there are currently 9.1 million woman-owned small businesses employing 7.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in annual revenue.
From creating jobs to making capital investments and contributing to local communities, women entrepreneurs are an incredible force in today’s economy. As the number of women-owned businesses grows, there are more opportunities for women to succeed in business ventures today than ever before.
There are many things to consider before starting a business. Here are four questions for women to ask themselves before leaping into entrepreneurship:
Do you understand your funding options? – When starting a business, it pays to explore all of your funding options, such as business loans and lines of credit. Start by meeting with a business banker who can help you determine the best financing options to meet your business goals in the short and long terms. Outside of traditional bank financing, numerous community-based organizations and microlenders offer grant funding opportunities designed for women business owners.
Have you set measurable goals? – When establishing goals, business owners should consider both their personal and business objectives, and see where they align. What’s motivating you to open your business? Do you want to grow your business and add staff, or operate as a sole proprietor? One way to get your ideas down on paper and set realistic, measureable goals is by creating a written business plan. Tools such as Wells Fargo’s Business Plan Center can simplify the process and guide you in developing a streamlined business plan that will take you through each stage of your business.
How will you prioritize work/life balance? – Small business owners wear many hats, and sometimes it can be tough to set boundaries between work time and personal time, especially when operating a business out of the home. If working from a home office is the plan, consider establishing dedicated office hours during which time you can focus exclusively on the business. Try not to let business needs bleed into family time, and commit to “unplugging” during family time. Balancing life and running a small business is no small feat, and there will be a period of adjustment. Take time to establish a schedule that works for you and your family, and do your best to stick with it.
Have you identified your support network? – Having a support system to lean on is a huge asset for any business owner, but it’s especially important when starting out. It’s a great idea to make connections and get involved with organizations dedicated to supporting women business owners, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), SCORE or local chambers of commerce. From in-person meetings and events, to online tools and resources, these organizations can serve as a great way to share contacts and connect with fellow business owners. It’s also important to establish a relationship with a banker, a lawyer and an accountant who can help you keep your business organized and on a growth trajectory.
New business opportunities are created every day as more women embark on the path to entrepreneurship. Answering these four questions will go a long way towards ensuring your business thrives.