According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. In fact, 40 percent of all privately-owned U.S. firms and 30 percent of small businesses are owned by women. Businesses owned by women employ more than 13 million Americans and generated $1.9 trillion in sales in 2008.
As evidenced by these statistics, women are experiencing great - and increasing - success in the business world. Still, women-owned businesses continue, in certain areas, to lag behind the businesses owned by men. For example, businesses owned by women are only half as likely as those owned by men to generate at least $1 million in annual revenue. With that in mind - and to celebrate that this month is National Women's Small Business Month - here are four tips for women who are interested in starting and running a small business.
4 Tips for Starting and Running a Small Business
Start a business that fits with your personal life. There is no single mold you need to fit into in order to have a successful and satisfying business endeavor. Know yourself, and know what's most important to you. If you find leisure time or family time more meaningful than breaking the million-dollar-a-year sales mark, embrace that. Your happiness won't come through meeting someone else's vision of success.
Network actively. It's no surprise to hear that networking is a key aspect to starting and maintaining a successful business. These days, many small businesses are turning to electronic means - to social media, email marketing, online business directories and even wireless networks - to do most, if not all, of their networking. While new technologies offer cheap, easy, and effective ways to communicate with peers and customers, face-to-face networking is still an essential part of maximizing business success. Get out into the real world to meet new people and establish solid relationships.
Related: 6 Tips for Networking Success
Look into women-specific resources and grants. In addition to all the great ways that every entrepreneur can find funding for a new business, there are grants and resources out there specifically designed to help women-owned firms. A quick internet search for some key terms like women, business, and grants will turn up a whole host of potential funding sources. Also, many cities have women's business centers that offer loans, classes, information, and advice.
Value your own time and talents. Women are more likely than men to be reluctant when it comes to self-promotion. Additionally, women tend to be willing to give away or undercharge for their time and products, particularly when first starting a new business. Remember that a business is exactly that: a business. When you dedicate your time, you should do so for both love and profit.
Women's business endeavors are as unique and varied as the millions of women who head them. Building your business to suit your life; seeing the value in what you have to offer; and using networking, funding, and resources to keep your business thriving - these are the keys to finding true success. National Women's Small Business Month is the perfect time to put these tips into action and get to work on achieving your individual business goals.
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