9 Lives for Women Blog

15 Tips to Avoid a Monkey Business | April 18th, 2012

Some women retire from corporate America and find endless ways to pursue interesting hobbies, and others toy with the idea of starting a business.  I’ve heard dreams of stores, restaurants, yoga salons, tutoring services, and much more—but far fewer well-researched ideas.

A few years ago I asked a group of business owners to speak to budding entrepreneurs.  These women owned an accounting firm, a landscape design firm, a communications consultancy, a retail store, an at-home children’s clothing business and a health club.  They all had this very good “look before you leap” advice:

  • Expect to work harder than you ever have in the past.
  • Prepare to be a risk taker.
  • Speak to other entrepreneurs—carefully research the do’s and don’t’s of owning your own business.
  • Keep your business idea simple.  Make sure that you can communicate your product or service in one simple sentence.
  • Don’t assume that every business idea is viable.  A solid client base will require more than a handful of enthusiastic fans.
  • Don’t try to cater to the masses.  Make sure that your business has its own customer niche.
  • Make sure that you can give customers a good reason to spend money in this economy.
  • Create a business around a product or service you will be passionate about selling.
  • Identify what needs and gaps your business will serve.
  • Write a business plan.  Even if you never actually use it, it will help you organize your thoughts, assess the competition, develop marketing strategies and set—and stick to—goals.
  • Be realistic about start-up costs and timing.  It could take significant time for you to turn a profit or break even.
  • Make double and triple sure your business has the potential to be profitable in this economy.  If not, what starts out as a passion could turn into a ball and chain.
  • Determine if your other sources of income or savings will carry you through the start-up and poor cash flow periods.
  • Assess whether you have a good balance of creativity and management.  More than one great idea has been killed by poor management.
  • Consider business partners who can and will invest time and money equally in the business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Work-Life Blend Newsletter