Business

The right stuff: Female Entrepreneurs

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The nine-to-five rat race isn”t for everyone. There are some people out there who crave to be their own boss, and thrive in a more autonomous environment where they call the shots and see their creativity come to light. Those people typically end up as entrepreneurs and business owners.

More and more, women are taking control and opening their own businesses. From technology services to education, women are opening their own shops in a variety of industries and finding tremendous success. So, how did they do it? No easy answers here – hard work, dedication and a solid business plan are key. If you think you”ve got what it takes to open your own business, then check out these steps to launching a business.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan
A good business plan is your strongest asset when attempting to gain funding or support for your endeavor. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), your business plan should identify your product, target audience and how you plan to maintain the business and keep it running.

"First and foremost, have a written business plan," says Emily Sanders, president and CEO of Sanders Financial Management. "Even if you don”t use it to apply for a loan, the mere exercise of putting the business plan on paper crystallizes your business and allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses."

Step 2: Secure Start-Up Money
You can”t start a business without money. Sit down (preferably with a financial advisor or an accountant) and determine how much start-up money you”ll need to get your business through its first few months. From there, determine if you will spend your savings to start your business, or if you will use your business plan to make a pitch to banks and the Small Business Administration for a loan.

"If possible, go into a venture without debt," advises Sanders. "Tap into your personal savings before borrowing from banks and credit cards."

Step 3: Build an Advisory Board
Although you many think you are capable of handling everything alone, realize that if this is your first business venture, you”re going to need help navigating through paperwork, taxes and other important elements involved with running a business. Sanders recommends starting an advisory board made up of leaders from academia and business owners from non-competing industries.

"An advisory board will guide the broad strategy of the business and provide advice for the entrepreneur," explains Sanders.

Step 4: Secure Licenses & Permits
Starting a business is not as easy as placing an open sign in your window. Be sure to research the federal and state requirements for opening a business and hiring employees. Complete all necessary paperwork and obtain the proper permits and licenses. Visit the State of Georgia”s Secretary of State”s website for information about opening a small business at www.sos.georgia.gov.

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