Small businesses are the backbone of the United States economy. According to the June 2015 issue of Fortune Magazine, the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America is Black women. With the social media generation it is easier than ever to start a small business and compete on a more level playing field with big corporations. Running your own small business gives you pride, independence and self-esteem. Opening a business however, is only half the battle towards economic freedom. Maintaining your business afloat and sticking it out for the long haul is the next part. Many of today's successful businesses barely broke even their first year or two. It is very common for new business owners to get discouraged and give up too quickly. You may have friends and family around you who are unsupportive or jealous. Perhaps you are not up to speed on the latest computer programs. Maybe you need a small loan to get the ball rolling. You may be trying to run your business on the side while juggling a steady full-time job and family obligations. You may be receiving government assistance and need to hide your new income in order to not lose certain benefits until you are able to grow your business enough to live on. Perhaps you have encountered unreliable business partners or vendors. All of these challenges may slow you down.
- Do not be afraid of failure. Trial and error is a learning technique.
- When starting out, do not invest large sums of money. Start small and grow from there. This ties in with the previous suggestion. Expect that you will learn from your mistakes but do not risk what you cannot afford to lose. Avoid debt.
- Don't spend precious energy trying to get approval and support from friends and family. They may just not understand what you are trying to achieve and don't want to see you get hurt. Others may be jealous or uncomfortable with you changing your life because they are not happy with their own situation.
- View your obstacles as exciting challenges rather than as roadblocks. As the old saying goes, "There is more than one way to skin a cat."
- Slice up your goals into smaller tasks so that they do not become overwhelming. This is your business plan and it helps to write it down from the final goal backwards.
- Maintain your health. This may not seem relevant but eating healthy, getting regular checkups at the doctor, trying to walk more and keeping your weight under control help you keep up the mental and physical energy you need to get things done.
- Get inspired by other entrepreneurial women for example one Houston woman who saw a need in her community and went for it, now running her own successful Nail Salon the Stay Ready Studio.
Take advantage of free or low-cost resources available to you. These will help you stay encouraged and find camaraderie with others who are in similar situations to yours. Check back soon. The list below will be growing.
The Build Institute, Detroit, MI
If you are an artist or crafter: Open your own Etsy Shop