Women startups. It’s arguably the “in” thing as more of us launch into businesses at a faster rate than ever before, and many are even leaving cushy and corporate positions to do it.
According to The NSW Department of Industry in 2014, one in four businesses were started by women, compared to one in six in 2011, while over the past 20 years there has been a 46 per cent increase in the number of women operating a business.
These facts are in line with research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2015, which also notes that despite the growth, women still remain under represented in Australian business.
The start-up community is vocal and vibrant across the world. And from the perspective of the corporate woman looking to go out and start a business, it might look easy. But it isn’t.
One of the biggest failings of start-ups is assuming their talent or idea by itself will get them through. It won’t.
Social media also adds to this false sense of security. But a ‘like’ on Facebook or another Twitter follower doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get business or any traction on those followers.
So what does a woman need before going out on her own?
The most powerful thing you can have as you leave the corporate world and start-up on your own is a strong and reliable network.
When I say strong, I am talking about a network that exists based on credibility and consistent relationship building over time. It can take up to five years to build a credible following that gives you string consistent returns.
If you’re looking to start a business then you need to do the following ASAP:
- Review your current networks. Who needs to go and who needs to be included. Be realistic about this, and weigh everybody on their merits.
- Don’t wait until you start the business. Nurture the networks now and make sure everyone you know is connected with you in one way or another — eg on LinkedIn — so they can see what you do over time.
- Start networking in groups relevant to the industry of your future business. Build a brand name for yourself now.
- Start writing and sharing what you know. Even if it is different to what you’re doing now, you need to start building yourself up as an authority in the future industry as soon as possible.
- Educate yourself. Train yourself in areas you lack if needed, but be careful you don’t waste your money on courses you “think” you need but don’t. For example, nothing beats a degree when it comes to credibility and few things beat workshops on specific topics to help refine your marketing skills.
- Start valuing yourself. Women talk themselves down too often, even if it means not going out there and taking an opportunity because of a lack of self worth. Start positioning yourself now in your mind the same way you want others to see you.
An idea or a few friends liking what you do won’t pay the bills.
Make sure you are thoroughly prepared well before taking the leap.