Introducing SCHICK’s #SeeHerSeries, a month-long celebration of women’s voices, aimed at honouring femininity and womanhood in all its variations, with all it brings. In line with the theme for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, this March, female contributors from all around the globe will be sharing their thoughts on the female experience – from career, business and finances, to health, motherhood and style. Join us!
Written by Nkechi Alade, Principal Consultant, Elvaridah Limited
One thing some of the most successful female entrepreneurs have in common is: They started from nothing and built their brands, companies and empires from ground zero up. While most businesses start with drive and passion, the smarter decisions you make, the better your chances for success.
Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and hard work. Here are things you should know before starting a business:
Identify your reasons for starting a business
Before you venture into a business, you should be clear about why you are doing it. There are several reasons people start businesses; some do it to make ends meet, for wealth, for fame, and several other reasons. Whatever your reason is, it is valid, but the clearer you are about what exactly you are trying to achieve, the better chance you have of achieving it.
Know your skills, strengths and weaknesses
Starting a business is a process that requires a vast amount of thinking and thorough assessment. More importantly, you need to take a good look at your strengths, weaknesses and skills; this will enable you to start thinking about what you can do, what you’re less able to, ways to improve your skills and areas you should seek support.
Research your market
This is a huge one. If you don’t know the terrain in which your market operates, how will you compete? Take a deep dive into your market and study it like an expert. Search the internet for keywords and statistics that are related to your industry. Keep track of news, policies and latest developments in your industry. Understand the demographics of the market as well as the challenges currently being faced by women (or people) in the intended industry.
Identify and understand your target audience
This is the only way you can market effectively. Be certain about who your audience is. Identify your ideal customer and their interests. Clarity on who needs your product or service can help fine-tune your offerings and ensure your marketing and sales strategies are reaching the right people. It is crucial to make sure you are delivering what your customer wants, the way they want it.
Create a professional business plan
A business plan is a strategy or an outline of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:
- Executive Summary
- Market Evaluation
- Market Strategies
- Operational Plan
- Financial Plan and Projection
Network with other women in business
Connect with other like-minded women building businesses and groups focused on female entrepreneurs. They may be locally based, industry-based or nationally based. You should also consider finding a mentor in your chosen industry who is knowledgeable, and able to provide advice and guidance.
When starting a business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and neglect other areas of your life. Setting respectful boundaries and communicating effectively will help you maintain other areas of your life as a female business owner.
Starting a business isn’t easy. Whether it’s choosing a business idea, creating a business plan or marketing your products/services, a lot of things can go wrong; however, with a solid idea and a strong support system, you can become a successful entrepreneur.