In her book Birthing the Elephant: The Woman’s Go-For-It! Guide to Launching a New Business,
Karin Abarbanel writes about how starting your company is akin to having another child
. "Most people focus on the three Ms when they think of starting a business: money, marketing, and management," she writes. "But there’s a fourth M -- motivation -- and it’s at the heart of small-business survival." Here are a few more tips from other Work It, Mom! members who, like Karin, are balancing entrepreneurship and parenthood:
- Know what to look for. Not sure what type of home-based business is right for you? Here are five questions to ask yourself before start your start-up, and a primer on the different types of home-based and internet businesses that are out there.
- Find funding. Easier said than done, right? But you don't necessarily need big bucks in order to get started. Barter, vet your venders, and hone your elevator pitch as you raise capital for your company, and check out these great fundraising tips from someone who has done it successfully.
- Know your niche. Different niches require different marketing strategies and different skill sets, so make sure you know what to focus on.
- Hone your business plan. How did you come up with the idea for your company? Your business plan doesn't need to be written down, but you still need to have one.
- Take stock of what you already know. You may already have the skills you need to run your own company. Many of the things you do easily as a mom translate to the world of entrepreneurship.
- Find out about your competition. What other businesses are out there and how will you compete with them? Once you know what you're up against, you'll be able to figure out what you really have to offer.
- Simplify your systems. There are many free and low-cost tools available that can make setting up and maintaining your business a breeze.
- Read about out how other women started their businesses. Take a look at our interviews with small-business owners like Parents to Parents publisher SK Joun, Little Jet Set co-founders Nisha Cordero and Hana Wolf, and Babblesoft founder and president Aruni Gunasegaram, and Big Tent CEO Donna Novitsky, among many others.
- Consider a business coach. Why? Business coaches are often the experts who have been there and done that -- and can help teach you and support you as you do the same. (And don't forget to consult with an accountant -- many of them offer a single session for free or at low cost.)
- Talk to other people about what you want to do. In other words: network, network, network. If you're reading this, you're already in the right place -- Work It, Mom! is a great resource for working moms who want to start their own businesses. Your network doesn't have to be made up of just business professionals, either. Look through your contacts on other social media outlets like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn and see who you already know who might be able to help you.