Starting a business can be tough for anyone. As a woman, it seemed especially hard to me. When I thought about venturing out on my own, other women entrepreneurs – those who forged the path ahead of me – encouraged and inspired me the most.
I started my company three months ago. And as a female entrepreneur, I found it hard to find examples of women just like me turning an idea into a small business. Sure, there are many public women executives to inspire people like me, but where were the stories of every day women making it happen? You only read about those who had success. Rarely getting a glimpse into how they actually got started. Here’s my story, in two parts. Make sure to read the second part when it gets published in a few weeks.
For now, I’m reflecting on where I started and how far I have come. And I’d like to share with you how my dream went from an idea buried in the back of my mind (one that inconveniently cropped up at work and at home) to the business I now call my own. These are my honest thoughts on how I started and a snap shot of the steps I took to get where I am now. Save this article. Print it out and use it as a checklist. At the end of my story I will also share some free resources that you can link up with as you begin your journey now or in the future.
Writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a Plan, is a Wish”!
If you are like me, you’re sitting there one day at home or in your cubicle at work thinking about that one thing you always wanted to do. The one thing you believe will be the next BIG thing. You could just imagine the success! But, there’s also that voice that questions: Who are you to think that you can own your own business when you have kids, a spouse or significant other, and many other commitments? Even if you could make time, where would you start? Where would the funding come from? Who would be your customer? These days it seems like there are so many articles and publications on start-ups but only after they have become successful. How in the world did they get their start?
Now that I have launched my business, and before I went any further, I wanted to stop and reflect on where I am and the path I took to get here in hopes that it will help you or a woman you know.
So, what does your plan look like?
Write down what your idea is on paper and write a one page outline which should include:
- What is the product or service?
- Who will use it?
- Where will it be used (geographic location)?
- Who is offering the product or service now? In other words, who’s your potential competition!
- How much will the product or service cost? Cost of production, if it does not exist? Cost to ship?
- If the product or service does not exist, STOP and consider a patent before you move forward
You should easily fill up one page with the answers to these questions if you give them thorough evaluation and thought. Then you’ll realize, there is one more question that is more important than all of these: Why is this product or service important to you? You have to think about your own personal or professional story and how it led you to wanting to launch this for the rest of the world to use or see.
I outlined my reasons in a Curvy article a few weeks ago called “Springtime: A Time for a New You to Blossom.” The article can be found at https://www.curvyrevolution.com/lifestyle/springtime-a-time-for-a-new-you-to-bloom. Your answer will be different than mine. The point is to find out why you’re passionate enough about this idea to pursue it. For those of you already on the path to entrepreneurship, you’ll want to read Part II for ideas on how to nurture and grow your business even further.
Get Started On Your Plan
Starting a new venture is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Even if you don’t aspire to be a business owner, maybe there is another woman in your life that does. Pay it forward and pass this on to her. Support her in any way you can. Looking back on my own journey, there were women in my life whose positivity, support and encouragement fueled my fire. I am so grateful for them. On days I feel like it’s easier to go back and work for someone else, I remember them saying, “You got this,” and that is exactly what I am saying to you! So take the time to work through these questions and enjoy the exercise.I look forward to hearing about your dream business or venture, so be sure to comment on the article and share your business with us here at Curvy Magazine!
Free Resources for Business Owners Nationwide:
The Small Business Administration offers free resources, tools, and guidance to assist small businesses from start-up to existing businesses http://www.sba.gov/.
The SCORE Association “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of 13,000+ volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. http://www.score.org/ . SCORE Offers free assistance with Business Plans, Start-up Questions, and maintains a whole host of resources that Businesses need to help them get started and help them grow. Contact a SCORE office in your area.
Ulunda Baker is a writer, poet, and CEO of UBsmart, Inc, Raised in St. Petersburg, FL she has great passion for helping people, business, and communities. To learn more about her Follow her @UlundaBaker on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. She recently through writing for Curvy has become empowered to be the beautiful woman on the outside that she has always felt she was within regardless of her size. She rocks a 2x fearlessly!