With the equal pay gap holding steady at 61cents on the dollar for African American women, more and more of us are giving corporate America major side-eye. Larger workloads, fewer raises and chronic inequity are motivating more Black women to follow their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
It’s no secret: Black women are going into business for themselves at higher rates than their counterparts. But with less liquid capital at launch, on average, how can we set ourselves up for success?
Here are six tips for successful entrepreneurship that begin before even opening your doors.
#1 Pick Your Passion Entrepreneurs work harder for themselves than they ever did for anyone else. And it often takes months to start making a profit. Make sure your new venture is based on a passion that can sustain your interest, even through the tough times. Because that might be the case at the beginning!
Consider this: What would you do for 12+ hours a day, if you weren’t paid for it?
#2 Identify Your Market You love your family and friends, but most of them will probably want a Friends & Family discount. And your Grandma can only buy but so much! Find a target market that will become repeat customers or act as magnets, leading all their friends right to you.
Consider this: Who is your ideal clientele? What value do your goods or services bring to their lives?
#3 Create a Business Plan It’s easy to have a dream. But it’s harder to build a plan. You should understand the amount of overhead versus the amount of revenue it will take to breakeven every month – especially if you will have a “brick and mortar” store location with staff. It’s better to know the truth before diving in.
Consider this: Can you actually afford to go into that type of business?
#4 Check Your Credit Most start-ups will need 3-6 months of working capital at the onset. A small business loan is one way to secure this capital. It’s important to know where your credit stands today.
Consider this: Do you know your current credit score? If you needed a small business loan, could you qualify for one?
#5 Register Your Business Make it official and claim your business name. There are also tax benefits for businesses. Laws and fees vary state to state, but the cost can be nominal compared the level of investment you’re about to make. This will also help avoid commingling your personal and business funds.
Consider this: Once registered, what tax write-offs could your business claim?
#6 Start in Social It’s never too early to start marketing. Before you even open for business, you can start building your brand voice and connecting with your future consumers. Once you decide who they are, think about where to find them.
Consider this: Which social media platforms do they prefer? What’s your ideal number of followers?
Entrepreneurship can be a wild, yet empowering ride. If you’re thinking of leaving the corporate world, make sure you’ve set yourself up for success.
Have you already started out on your own? Are there any other tips that you’d offer during pre-launch?
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