Women may be at the helm of organisations today but look around you—how many of them actually own these businesses? Not many, isn’t it? There are many women today who’re leaving their full-time jobs to start their own businesses. However, they still pale in comparison to the number of men who are running their own.
According to experts, there could be several reasons accounting for this. For instance, one of the reasons why women-run firms haven’t expanded is because female entrepreneurs are likely to launch their businesses using mostly or solely their savings. One of the other reasons which is most often cited by female entrepreneurs is that they didn’t have a network of fellow entrepreneurs or mentors who could guide them in their journey.
If you’re looking to start your own business and are at sea about how to give it a kick-start, here are six tips that will help you start your own business:
#1 Get your pitch ready
Before you even put a word out to your network and begin scouting for investors, the first and foremost thing that you should get right is your pitch. What are you selling and why should someone bet their money on it? Getting an investor to open their wallet and put their money where their mouth is depends entirely on how well you’re pitching your idea. Heard about the elevator pitch? Your pitch needs to be the kind that will last for as long as an elevator ride: short, snappy, and full of chutzpah. To help others understand what you’re selling more clearly, you may also want to include an example of how a customer would use your product or service.
#2 Size up your market
Along with your sales pitch, another thing to get a grip on is your customer base. What’s the size of the customer base that you’re targeting? Is it a niche customer base or a large one? Get a hold on these questions before you decide to pitch your idea to investors.
#3 Brush up on your financial knowledge
If you’re going to make a sales pitch to investors, be prepared to rattle off numbers and financials without hesitation. Running a business is no mean feat and the financials of your business should be at your fingertips. According to female entrepreneurs, many women falter on this count. If you’re not confident about the financials, learn from someone who’s good at it before you walk into a pitch meeting. You should be able to answer questions like: “What are the capital needs of the business over time?”; “What are the gross margins?”; “What’s your break-even time frame?”, etc.
#4 Don’t hesitate to ask for help
A common refrain among a lot of female entrepreneurs is that there weren’t a lot of fellow female entrepreneurs they could reach out to for help when they started their entrepreneurial journey. Networking is a critical skill that you’re going to need to imbibe if you want to thrive in the entrepreneurial world. Men are more likely than women to tap into their networks of friends and acquaintances-circles that they’ve been building from their childhood. Network building is crucial to run a business.
#5 Surround yourself with a useful board of advisers
Adding a board early in your company’s journey can add a lot of gravitas to your company’s image. When you’re handpicking board members, ensure that these are sound individuals who can act as trusted advisers in your journey. These investors can guide you and may even lead you to your first customers. How to scout for board members? A good place to start is your own network. Invite people from your network who have prior experience in your type of business. Then once they’ve joined your board, conduct in-person or virtual meetings with them on a periodic basis to discuss two-three key issues of importance.
#6 Having a roadmap for hiring
Draw up a list of people you would need in the company over the next 18 months and start recruiting them. These individuals should be alright with working for you for equity or part-time until you get some funding.
Starting your own business may come with a ton of challenges—you might have to put in more than 10 hours a day but keep these few pointers in mind, and you’re off to a great start!
This article was originally published on bankbazaar.com and re-published with permission.