Yes, it’s generally accepted women have a harder time of it, whether in the boardroom or starting up a business of their own. But don’t make gender an excuse for failure. Millions of women across the world – an estimated 234 million, according to Forbes – were running new or established businesses in 2013 alone, creating jobs for themselves in the process and employing others, as well as actively innovating new products and services. If they can do it then so can you.
A major problem faced by newbie entrepreneurs everywhere, whether male or female, is experience, or the lack of it to be more precise. As Virgin boss Richard Branson noted, ‘You’ll learn more in the first three months of setting up and running your own business than you’ll learn in three years of study at a business school.’
But today’s entrepreneurs are in a much better position than their forefathers and mothers were because of the Internet. Facts, figures, ideas, contacts, mentors are all little more than a click away these days. For example, you can speedily change the details of any new company directors online. For assistance contacting potential partners visit duedil.com through email and social media, or chase down suppliers from half-way around the world. What’s not to like? But as easy as all of that may sound, some start-up fundamentals need to be borne in mind.
Go for more cash than you need
We’re talking cash here, having enough of the readies to set all the wheels in motion. Although you may believe you’ve the next big business idea the world has been waiting for, without adequate finance to back it up, the wheels are certain to come off rather quickly. More start-ups fail because of lack of money than anything else. Work out what it’ll take to launch and sustain the idea – and then triple it, say the experts. And, particularly in the first year or two, plough what you make back into the business so it becomes self-sustainable.
Hard-nosed is good
It really is. Don’t be afraid of developing a hard-hearted persona, at least in terms of collecting any cash owed to you. For in the initial months and years of a new business, cash flow is vital. It’ll keep the wolves away from your own door and prevent you using up valuable resources which could be better spent on developing the business further. It’s something to think long and hard about before ever venturing out on your own. So do you really have what it takes? Keep asking the question until the answer coming back is the honest one. Then take the appropriate next step.
You’ve carried out as much research as your brain can take, performed the necessary due diligence and put together the mother of all business plans, and the business bank account is looking healthier than you ever thought possible. Now what? Patience, Grasshopper – apologies to fans of the hit 1970s Kung Fu television show. If all is correctly in place and you work twice as hard and twice as long as your competitors, then it’s only a matter of time before you reap the benefits and the rewards. Although nothing is more certain, unfortunately it won’t happen overnight. Ask any successful entrepreneur, whether male or female.