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In 2015, the number of women-owned businesses increased again. Women now own about 30% of American businesses and employ nearly 8 million workers. Businesses owned by women provide one in seven jobs in private businesses, reports Womenable.com.
It is not uncommon for women to face unique challenges, especially when trying to juggle the traditional roles of wife and mother with the demands of starting and running a business. Over the years, as a business owner myself, and by training women to run their own label business, I have learned a few tips that can help women looking to start a business.
1. Find your passion.
You’re going to be spending long hours working in and on your business, so choose an industry that you don’t like but are passionate about. When you are passionate, it shows, and your enthusiasm and belief in what you do translates into your customers, sparking their enthusiasm for what you offer.
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2. Adapt your business to your personal goals.
Are you looking to work part-time to supplement family income or to work around children’s schedules or are you focusing on starting a full-time business? Is money or freedom the goal, or both? There is no rule that you have to work full time when you run a business – start a shop or work as a consultant. Choose a business and a business style that fits your image of a fulfilling life.
3. Keep your home and work life separate.
It is important to set aside time for personal and professional life, in order to give everyone the attention they deserve. Set specific office hours and stick to them except in an emergency. Train at work during office hours and don’t accept calls or check e-mails after office hours. Your customers and clients will also stick to your schedule as long as you stick to it. It means do not call or send an email other after hours. Create a separate workspace, either inside the house or in an outdoor office space, and close the office door after office hours.
Related: The U.S. Is # 1 For Women LikendisLikes, But There’s Still Room For Improvement
4. Adopt technology.
Don’t let the attractiveness of an incoming message distract you, whether you’re focusing on a project or spending quality time with your loved ones. Let emails wait until morning or check them at certain times of the day only, allow your voicemail to take calls, and use answering machines. Let the technology work for you.
5. Make real connections.
It can be difficult to work alone, so the connections you make will be invaluable, not just for business. Find a mentor or create a support group for women and share your ideas, goals and frustrations. Use the “village” to help you navigate the business landscape. Join a business association such as the National Association of Business Owners (NAWBO) or the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) for professional support and resources.
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6. Define your brand.
Carefully define your brand: what does it look like and what does it represent? And respect it. Make everything you do and offer consistent with the brand, color schemes, logo design, packaging, correspondence and customer service presentations, culture and mission business. Don’t stray from your brand. It is the message and consistency by which your customers know you, remember you and trust you.
Having your own business is an adventure, so take on the challenges and rewards it offers.