Changing the Paradigm: A Mother’s Guide to the World of Entrepreneurialism
I want to give you six points that will help guide you and prepare you in paving the way to becoming an entrepreneur.
Point #1: It all starts with an idea.
Many people think you need an MBA, PhD, or even a college degree to become a successful entrepreneur, and you need to be knowledgeable in certain business areas. Let’s debunk that myth right away, it is true that those things help you, but they are not a prerequisite for definitive success. The last time I checked you didn’t need a degree from an accredited university to come up with a brilliant concept, service, or product. Ideas are the foundations of success. You could know everything there is to know about business, but if you have to offer, you have nothing to sell. If you have an idea to improve a product, offer a service that is needed or desired, or have a ground-breaking idea that companies, governments, or individuals are willing to exchange money for then you have the foundations for a successful business venture.
Point #2: Leverage your current skill sets
As I said in Point #1, you don’t need to necessarily have the business skills and knowledge that is taught in business schools and programs to be successful, but it helps greatly to know someone who does, we’ll talk about this a little later. First it time to look internally at your own hidden skills. We’ll start with your networking skills, they’re essential for business because it always helps to know people. You have these skills already; you just have to identify them. You meeting your neighbors, those you attend church with, your hairdresser, your child’s teacher, etc. Your social skills are the beginning of networking, which is essentially creating a roster of people you know who you may need to call upon. You have sales skills… yes you do. Getting your child to take their medicine, do their homework, do their chores, or to do anything they don’t feel they need to do is selling, same concept, just a different purpose. You have management skills, keeping your children in line, getting them off to school, managing the house, and all the errands and chores take management skills, you’ve already got them. Another skill is creativity, this cannot be taught. Coming up with songs to sing to your children, games to play, and creative outlets for them all takes an innovator’s and inventor’s mind a key skill when running your own company.
Point #3: Determine your goals
Your company can be whatever you want it to be, and for whatever purpose. You can make just enough to pay for a new outfit a month and a trip to the spa, play for Johnny’s and Susie’s college education, or become the next corporate giant. Your venture can be full-time, part-time, seasonal, day, night, etc. Your company’s strategy, focus, and direction are determined by your goals, so whatever you decide upon simply stick to it. Success does not mean a certain annual revenue, or company size, or market share. These are only definitions of success if that was the initial goal, meeting and/or exceeding your goals defines success.
Point #4: Take an inventory
This portion has to do a little with marketing, finance, strategy, sales, etc in business but within the context of who you know. You have a plethora of people who are potentially in your target market (those who you are in business for, whose needs you want to meet). You call them play groups, church groups, fellow soccer moms, the PTA, etc. If your business is a business that caters to other mom’s you already have a group of people you know to run your ideas by. You can sample your services, product, or can weigh in on your idea to see if it’s feasible or not. These same people have skill sets that may benefit you, or know people who can help. Take an inventory of who you know, and of what organizations you belong to, you may find some hidden gems that can be beneficial to your business idea.
Point #5: Exploit technology to help you
Technology doesn’t have to become a burden, being able to use it to your advantage can ease some suffering and solve many problems. Most web hosting companies offer templates of websites that you download and change, not much more difficult then using a word processor. There are services you can use for a small fee that can collect payments for you, and help run your business. If you have a child over the age of 10, chances are they can set-up all of your technology for you. Generally all you need is a computer and a broadband connection, they can do the rest. Don’t be afraid to use them, besides you’ve cleaned up after them, stayed up all night with them, time for them to return the favor.
Point #6: Know when to use outside help
Sometimes you face a challenge or task in business that is beyond your knowledge. This is when you want to look for outside assistance. Depending on whom you know (see Point #4) or your how much your making you can always bring in outside help. You don’t have to hire employees; some people will work pro bono or on a contract basis. There are also government resources that can assist you. Visit your local Small Business Association (www.sba.gov) they offer a wide variety of free services, some even cater to women in helping them level the playing field. Bringing in someone to help doesn’t mean you have to give up control or change direction. Remember this is your idea, your vision, and ultimately your company.
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