5 Smart Steps to Getting Your Small Business Off the Ground

Entrepreneurship is the new power move for Black women. The number of black women enrolling in business courses is steadily rising.

Disenchanted with corporate glass ceilings and inflexible work schedules that make caring for children and aging parents a nightmare, increasingly Black women are starting their own businesses.

Black women are responsible for the dramatic growth of Black businesses today. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of businesses owned by Black women jumped 75% compared to 29% for Black men.

Black men however are outpacing Black women in terms of how much money their businesses generate. Most businesses run by Black women are part-time ventures, “side hustles” to bring in extra cash. In comparison Black men are using their businesses as their primary source of income.

According to government data, the average revenue for businesses owned by Black women is $39,000 versus $114,000 for Black men. It’s therefore not surprising that just 5% of small businesses owned by Black women had employees as compared to 10% of small business owned by Black men.

Lisa Price started her multimillion dollar company, Carol’s Daughter, literally on her kitchen table. She made organic beauty products at home and then sold them at church flea markets. As her company matured she began selling her products on the Internet and later opened several stores. Today Carol’s Daughter products are available on Home Shopping Network (HSN). Women entrepreneurs can create their own successful businesses by following these five steps:

1) Determine how you will fund your business:

It takes most businesses at least 2 years to make a profit. This means that you’ll need to invest money in your business before you generate any income from it. Remember, while you’re building your business, you’ll still need to pay your usual expenses. The top funding options for start-ups are: 1) staying on your J-O-B while you get your business off the ground; 2) becoming a full–time entrepreneur by dipping into your savings or 401K; or 3) getting investors to give you money in exchange for ownership shares in your business.

2) Decide on what you're selling and to whom:

You can’t build a profitable business on an idea. There are zillions of broke entrepreneurs who had good ideas. In order to make money, your "good idea" has to relate to a specific need within your market. For you to determine what is missing in your market, you must learn all that you can about your “ideal client.” You need to do research to find out if your ideal clients want your product or service enough to pay for it.

3) Write a business and marketing plan:

Your business and marketing plan doesn’t have to be lengthy or formal. Initially you don’t even need separate business and marketing plans. The main point of this document is to give your business focus and direction. It also should spell out how you’re going to make money. This means that your plan must do the following: 1) describe your product and how it benefits your ideal clients. 2) determine the costs to produce each unit or your product or service; 3) establish the unit price of your product or service; and 4) outline your plan for promoting and selling your product or service.

4) Hire a team:

Being a solo-entrepreneur doesn't mean that you have to go it alone. As much as possible entrepreneurs should be concentrating on income generating activities---not administrative tasks. Entrepreneurs can hire college interns who will receive college credits rather than a paycheck for their work. Virtual assistants (VA) are another affordable option for entrepreneurs. VAs work offsite, are paid by the hour, and can perform a wide range of office functions. Lastly there are freelancers, such as graphic designers who can be hired on a per project basis.

5) Invest in a business coach:

Similar to executive coaches who work with corporate employees, business coaches help entrepreneurs to reach their goals. Business coaches help entrepreneurs to clarify their objectives and assist with strategic planning. Additionally, business coaches provide expert marketing advice. New and experienced entrepreneurs can save themselves thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of headaches by hiring a business coach.

Yvonne Bynoe is a business coach and the founder of Soulful Affluence (http://soulfulaffluence.com), an online company that teaches visionary women entrepreneurs how to leverage their talents and skills to create highly profitable businesses. One of her popular coaching program for entrepreneurs is the Money & Marketing Breakthrough session (http://soulfulaffluence.com/programs).

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