Did you know that there are over 12 million women-owned businesses in the United States? This spirit of entrepreneurship could be due to women wanting to be their own bosses, be the groundbreakers, or be in a place of empowerment and leadership. Perhaps these are mothers who want the flexibility of staying at home with their children while earning an income.
With all the responsibilities of life as a woman, becoming a business owner is an admirable and challenging path to choose. It’s a full-time job that you have to stand behind 100 percent...because you’re the driving force. If you find yourself heading down the entrepreneurial road, here are four ways to make your small business become lucrative.
1. Secure Funding
You might have been able to start your business with your own savings, but your business will stop growing if you don't constantly water it. Not having the additional funds to elevate your business means that you might have to secure a loan. A loan could also help you get off the ground when you’re just starting out. Small business loans can come in the form of credit lines, business term loans, SBA loans, startup loans, and more. Each loan type varies in loan terms, interest rates, loan amount, and repayment. Be sure to research your options and compare what they offer before selecting what’s best for your business.
2. Leverage Your Network
There are two ways to use networking to make your business succeed:
- Use your existing network to establish connections. The people that can help your business succeed could already be within your network. You could have friends who are developers, marketers, creators, financiers, and lawyers. Whatever your business needs—whether it’s a website, advertising, setting up an LLC, a creative collaborator, or seed funding—the help could be in front of you. Your future partner might even be a former coworker, and your customer base might be your former schoolmates.
- Build relationships through industry events, conventions, and social media to establish a support system that gets it. The people that can empower you and give you the best advice are in your potential professional network, so be sure to join organizations, attend conferences and conventions, and follow others online so you can support and learn from each other. Find people who are doing what you want to be doing, and let them become your unofficial mentors.
Make Friends with the Competition
Ever notice that food bloggers share each other’s recipes and love on each other’s Instagram and blog posts? It’s because they’ve built a tight community based on social capital. They treat each other like support sources, not competition. They know that there’s enough to go around for everyone. Rather than feeling threatened by other food bloggers, they embrace and promote each other’s work. You don’t lose out on potential customers by promoting others in your field; you gain exposure to their customers, in addition to gaining supportive friendships.
Don’t Be Afraid to Promote
Shame often causes people to hold back from promoting their business. Some people feel silly telling others about their business because they don’t want to spam their friends or because they don’t want to share something until they have a lot to show for it. However, the best time to share with your friends is when you’re starting out and in need of a boost. How is anyone supposed to know about your business if you’re still an unknown? Your brand has to begin somewhere, and that somewhere could be in your own social network where people are invested in your success because of their relationship with you. As your brand grows and your customer base develops, your product and customer service will have to sustain the business.
Running a business is not a walk in the park, especially when you have to balance work with other responsibilities. It takes a great deal of hard work, harsh lessons, hapless failures, and a commitment to make it happen. But as long as you keep pressing on, the fruits of your labor can lead to great things. Your success is determined not only by your product, but also by your passion and perseverance.
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Guest Blog Author: Gloria Martinez of WomenLed.org