Updated: Oct 24, 2022
The global Pandemic of 2020 saw a huge rise in women starting businesses. Whether it be a product or service based business, many women, including myself, wanted to find fulfilment and an income from doing something we enjoyed. We had a bit more time and space to dedicate at this time however these businesses were often referred to as side hustles as we had to juggle the likes of home-schooling, working from home plus all the usual household demands!
However, just because we have found a new normality post the pandemic and usual activities have ramped up, it doesn’t mean that this trend of new female founded businesses needs to stop!
Many businesses that were booming during the pandemic (mainly due to increased online shopping, lack of social activities and furlough to name a few reasons) saw a decline in sales as the world reopened post lockdown life. The current statistics are that 1 in 5 businesses fail in the first year. Sadly I have seen many of these lockdown businesses now shut up shop and their founders go and get ‘real jobs’. My take on this is that the business foundations were not in place to enable the founders to balance running a business and having a ‘job’ plus family and life!
It is absolutely possible to run a business around working and motherhood, but it does take organisation, prioritisation and more importantly being kind to yourself! Something we mums aren’t very good at!
It still pains me that less than 1 in 3 entrepreneurs are female, so there is plenty of space for more women to start and scale a business. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not easy and there are many external factors that impact small businesses, but by building the right foundations you set yourself up for success!
Here are my recommended 6 first steps to take if you are considering starting a business;
1. Start by defining your Zone of Genius
What are you really good at? This is a really great place to start! Do you have a creative hobby that lots of people comment on? Is there a particular topic that lots of people come and ask you about? Is there anything in your day job you are really good at that you see others making an income from?
2. Know the problem you are solving and who you are solving it for!
You may be really good at something, but is that something needed? Take time to understand the problem you are solving by providing your product or service. Then start to think about who you are solving the problem for. Can you answer the question ‘who is your ideal client?’ Don’t confuse this with your niche! (something you may see from business coaches if you have already had a look into running a business!) It is important to know who you are targeting so you can get your messaging right, speak in their language and know what to say on social media! (if you're struggling with who your ideal client is, download my Free Ideal Client Workbook here)
3. Do your Market Research
So you have some idea of the problem you solve and who you think you need to target so go out and ask them! Often when women start a business it is because they were looking for something themselves at some point that no one was providing (or knew someone else that was looking), whether it was a product to meet a need or a service to provide support, go and speak to friends and family and see who else they know. Ask their opinions and thoughts on your offering, does it meet the need? How would they describe the offering if they were telling someone else, does this align with your vision?
4. Define your Brand
Branding is so much more than your business logo and colours! Your brand is how you make your customers or clients feel and the connection they have to your business. Once you have done some market research all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle should be coming together. If they aren’t then go back a couple of steps and gain some further clarity. Create a brand message to describe who you help, how you help them and the benefit to you helping them. This can be repurposed into social media bios and something called an elevator pitch….a short a snappy paragraph you can use anytime someone asks what you do!
5. Decide on a Business Name
Start to brainstorm business names from the results of your market research and branding activities and planning. Research the business names: are they already a registered business? Try Companies House for this! Are there any websites or social media profiles with this name? What comes up when you google it? Are they on the Trademark register?
Once decided on a name, claim the social media handles and domain names even if you are not ready to use them yet!
If you are registering as self-employed then your business name isn’t registered, depending on how committed you feel about your business name, consider trademarking it early to prevent someone else using it. If someone else decides to start a limited company with the same name or Trademark it themselves, you will need to submit a challenge and prove trading and an established business to stop them, which is a lengthy and painful process. Protect your name as early as possible!
6. Stay on top of your Finances from Day One!
This is something that many business owners forget to do! I speak to so many women who can’t answer when I ask how much their business costs to run and how much income it drives! Track your income and expenditure from day one even if it is only in a spreadsheet. Depending on the level of income you have, there are easy to use accounting software programmes that allow you to easily input income and expenditure and then pull together reports. However this isn’t a necessity as long as you have a clear picture of income and outgoings, this naturally helps you make better business decisions, controls the urge to overspend and keeps you conscious of the financial viability of your business so you can make changes where needs be. In addition to this, get a business bank account straight away, even if you haven’t got much coming in, there are many online providers who don’t charge for accounts for example Starling, Monzo, Tide, Mettle to name a few. This safeguards your income and makes your self assessment an easier process.
But remember, starting and running a business is a huge learning curve, no one really knows what they are doing when they start and even long established businesses will tell you it is a continual learning process!
Start small, build slowly and steadily and if you would like some support when starting out in your business then book your free discovery call here.
About the Author
Hannah Roper, entrepreneur, writer, speaker, podcast host and country music singer, founded The Female Creative to support women in finding a work/life balance to suit their needs. With 8 years experience in running multiple businesses as well as 20+ years in learning and development, Hannah uses her skills and knowledge to coach and mentor women, providing a safe space for them to ride the highs and lows of running a business. Through managing The Female Creative, Country on The Coast Festival and multiple passion projects, all whilst still working in the corporate world, Hannah demonstrates that by being strategic and building the right business foundations, it is possible to wear all the hats, have the right balance and still manage to watch the latest Netflix series!
The Female Creative provides 121, a monthly membership, networking events and The Female Creative Talks Podcast to inspire, support and lift up women in business. 2022 has seen Hannah receive an accolade for Top Female Business Coaches Worldwide from Coach Foundation and was the recipient of a Pamodzi Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Award. Hannah is also a finalist for the Women’s Business Awards.
To find out more please visit www.thefemalecreative.co.uk