If you have always dreamed about owning a business, you are not alone. In 2009, more than 10 million businesses in America were owned by females, according to Gaebler.com. In addition, female-owned businesses grew at more than two times the rate that male-owned businesses did. Whether you want to open a retail store, a bakery or an engineering firm, there are resources, organizations and others that stand ready to offer guidance and support.
Choose the type of business you want to own. In most cases, it is smart to open a business in which you have some prior experience or knowledge. If you have worked in the field, have a degree in a particular area or have a long-standing hobby that can turn a profit, you are on the right path in business. You will spend a great deal of time working on the business, so be sure to choose something that you enjoy.
Check with the Small Business Administration for grants and loans available to women entrepreneurs. As of 2010, the government did not provide grants specifically geared to female business owners, but there are alternative routes to take in locating capital. If you or a business partner happens to be of minority descent, you can apply for minority grants that will help you get started in your female-owned operation. The SBA also has lists of privately funded grants for women in business. One example is the California Women’s Economic Ventures Small Business Loan Fund, that offers loans to female entrepreneurs in the immediate area. The SBA listing includes several state-specific funding opportunities for woman-owed organizations.
Join local businesswomen civic groups. Call your local Chamber of Commerce and city hall to ask what organizations are in the area, specifically for businesswomen. Your local newspaper might also know of several. Joining such organizations and becoming active in them provides you with network opportunities with other businesswomen, which can help you grow and locate additional contacts and funding sources.
Capitalize on the fact that you are female. Fun and kicky advertisements placed in various publications and on television can poke gentle fun at men and create a brand for your company that customers will remember.
Make sure to have established hours of operation, easily located contact information and accessibility for your customers. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than to not be able to count on you. Providing consistency and stability will create customer loyalty that will spread by word of mouth.