3 Things I Wish I Knew as Business Owner
By Sherrie Bakshi,
MET Community US Communications Lead
Last spring, American Express released a report on the state of women-owned businesses. According to the report, there are more than 9 million businesses employing nearly 8 million employees and generating more than 1.4 trillion dollars in revenue. That’s right, I said trillion – and these numbers are expected to grow. Yet, around 13% are expected to fail each year. I should know: I am a failed business owner.
What it Takes to be a Successful Business Owner
I launched my business at the age of 26. After working full time for a few years, the timing seemed right. I had the right contacts, the skills and the spirit. I also had a great support network.
But there are a few things I know now that I wish I knew then:
- Passion doesn’t necessarily equal success. I loved being a public relations professional. I loved promoting my clients businesses (in those days, they were primarily food related). I loved hosting media, contributing to my community’s economy and most of all, I loved doing great work for my clients. But, all this necessarily didn’t mean I was successful. The income that I was gathering from clients was not enough to support me or grow my business.
- Create a realistic business plan and review it regularly. When I started, my business partner and I had a business plan. It included all the basic components, including a mission statement and description of our services. Looking back, I wish we reviewed it often, and I wish we had a support network like MET Community that could help us refine the plan and review it on a regular basis.
- A mentor or coach is a must. In Charleston, where I launched my business, I had a great support network. So much of our success was due to the support we received from family, friends and members of the community. But my business partner and I also secured the services of a business coach. Whether you are a CEO of a multi-million dollar company or a small business owner, getting an objective perspective on threats, strengths and opportunities in your business is invaluable.
- Plan early and do your research. Starting a business is exciting, but it doesn’t happen overnight. An idea is one thing, but turning it into a revenue generating business requires planning and funding. Your local women-focused business centers, SCORE and of course, the Small Business Center Association are fantastic resources.
If you’re thinking of finally taking that step to running your own businesses, keep these tips in mind – and consider applying to MET’s mentoring program!
Are you a business owner? What tips do you have to offer?