What is Women's Entrepreneurship Day?
First celebrated in 2014 and in 144 countries worldwide, Women's Entrepreneurship Day is recognized on November 19 each year and is all about women entrepreneurs breaking new ground and finding success. Each year, at an event at the United Nations in New York, prominent women entrepreneurs from around the world are recognized with Pioneer Awards for making big impacts in various industries. Smaller events are held across the country and worldwide, and social media buzzes.
Women's Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the successes of women business owners and provides both inspiration and motivation for women to launch their businesses or to get started on a Business Plan.
For already established women-owned small businesses, it's a great time for a marketing push to highlight their business and their story, as Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are right around the corner.
How do I start a business from an idea?
For many entrepreneurs, Women's Entrepreneurship Day provides the spark that sets a business idea in motion. Learning about the accomplishments and barriers that Pioneer Award winners and local sheroes achieved and overcame can be impactful for individuals considering starting their own business.
Turning an idea into a business requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and some legwork. The specifics will vary from business to business. However, creating a written Business Plan can help guide the process.
When translating a business idea into a Business Plan, entrepreneurs are confronted with the realities of what it takes to start their business. During this process, entrepreneurs can:
- Research and develop their ideas more fully.
- Make changes to their plan.
- Get legal, business, or financial advice.
- Prepare for success.
Once a business plan has been created, smaller, more manageable tasks can be put on a to-do list, prioritized, and given due dates to ensure the plan stays on track.
How do I organize my business for success?
Businesses can be organized, or formed, in a few different ways. There are corporations, limited liability companies, nonprofits, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Since each business is as different and unique as its owner, how an entrepreneur organizes their business will depend on several factors.
If you're starting a business on your own and do not formally structure or register your business, it will be considered a sole proprietorship. If you start a business with another person and do not formalize the arrangement, it will be considered a general partnership. While common, running a business as a sole proprietorship or general partnership has the most risks as you can be held personally liable for the business. This means that if the business cannot pay a debt, the creditor can sue the owner or owners individually.
For individuals with significant assets or financial holdings, it may be smart to consider Incorporation or forming a Limited Liability Company before opening up for business. Doing so can not only help protect your personal assets, but it will also make your business more attractive to customers, clients, and investors. While the cost of Incorporation is relatively low, it does require an additional time investment.
How do I break the mold and capitalize on my innovative ideas and individual strengths?
Breaking new ground in an industry, or just getting started in an established one, can be exciting and scary at the same time. But with the right strategy, persistence, and solid resources, entrepreneurs can see their ideas come to life. Here are some simple tips to help you succeed in any industry:
Research your market. Don't rely on assumptions. Research what your potential customers, clients, or community needs or wants. Some research options may include:
- Conducting market research surveys.
- Reviewing historical data.
- Interviewing other business owners, both locally and elsewhere.
Plan, prepare, execute, adjust, repeat. Don't do anything unplanned or unprepared. And don't keep doing something that isn't working. Have a backup plan or be ready to adjust plans as needed.
Take smart risks. Don't be afraid of taking risks, but don't take bad ones. Be smart and calculating when taking risks. Know the consequences of failure, and know how to recognize failure, adapt, or move on. When taking risks, always have an escape plan or safety net.
Get help when you need it. Reach out to partners, join local or industry groups, seek out mentorship or investment, and don't hesitate to reach out for legal help along the way. Learn how Rocket Lawyer member Tahera runs her business confidently with help from Rocket Lawyer.
How do I get partners or investors on board?
While incorporating or creating a formal business structure is necessary for investors to get involved, there is more to it than just keeping up on paperwork. Entrepreneurs need to be ready to impress their prospects with how well they know the ins and outs of their industry as well as their own business. When approaching potential partners, be ready to explain the value and benefits of the proposed arrangement.
Whether seeking out an investment from friends or family, outside investors or shareholders, financing from banks, or institutional or government grants, business owners need to be organized, persistent, and not get discouraged after being rejected multiple times. Don't shy away from asking for feedback after being told no. Doing so may provide the insights needed to make the next presentation better.
Having financial statements, such as a completed Profit and Loss Form, annual projections, and costs analysis, allow for the transparency that investors and partners highly regard. Investors want to see that you are careful and thoughtful about your business's finances and will take good care of their money.
How do I keep my business running while managing another job or life?
Entrepreneurs will tell you, nothing else you have going on in your life has to stop you from building a successful business. Some business owners put their personal lives on hold, while others will take their family on the road with them. Most business owners, however, learn to integrate their business with their daily lives. Striking the right balance or finding the right solutions that work for you and your situation is the key to maintaining success.
For entrepreneurs looking to get the most out of their time, there may be technological solutions to save both time and money. For example, the Rocket Lawyer Mobile App allows business owners to:
- Get affordable legal help from licensed attorneys.
- Tap into an extensive library of customizable documents for legal and business purposes.
- Get contracts signed electronically, on any device and from anywhere.
Other online solutions may help with calendar management, inventory, payroll, bookkeeping, or nearly anything else you need to manage for your business. Having the right management tools in place can reduce the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks and maximize your productivity elsewhere.
What are some challenges that I may need to prepare for as a new woman entrepreneur?
Financial challenges, like access to funding, can put a lot of new businesses at risk of failure. Traditional banks and other institutions may have requirements that put many first-time entrepreneurs at a disadvantage. Securing legal or financial advice before seeking funding can help level the playing field.
Women entrepreneurs may also face additional challenges. Despite recent progress, historical disparities, stigmas, stereotypes, and discrimination persist. But being prepared to meet those challenges head on can make all the difference. For example, customers or vendors may express disbelief that a business is woman-owned. Another common, and exceptionally frustrating, challenge involves employees, peers, friends, and family who may not recognize their own biases and question or challenge every decision made by a woman.
There may not be a one-size-fits-all approach to solving these challenges. However, being assertive when confronted with bias and these negative attitudes can go a long way. Creating an Employee Handbook with a Diversity and Inclusion Policy, as well as strong Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies for the workplace can help foster a supportive working environment. Employees, partners, vendors, suppliers, and even customers, are increasingly valuing businesses that promote inclusivity.
Where can I find local community or government support for my business?
Thanks to the internet, finding local community or government support has never been easier. Whether you need financing, marketing, or a new workforce, help is often available. The Small Business Association is a fantastic resource that has programs to support women entrepreneurs, and can also help connect small business owners with local resources.
You might also consider joining or sponsoring social media groups as a business. Networking with other business owners can be a great way to share mutually relevant information and advice. Networking with potential clients or customers is equally, if not more, important. Local community groups are always looking for sponsors and partners. While these may often involve a paid sponsorship, you may also find opportunities to market your business, or even sell your goods or services, through these events or groups. Local government or community programs might also help you find employees who live in your business's community.
If there is one lesson to learn from Women's Entrepreneurship Day, it's that you can start a business and make an impact in your community and the world. If you're feeling inspired, start your Business Plan today, then reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney to review your plan and learn what steps you need to take to make your business dream a reality.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.