Women who own & run small businesses play a critical role in eliminating gender bias for future generations by providing positive, successful role models for young women. As we celebrate women entrepreneurs, let’s address some questions that many women business owners have about starting, growing, & achieving their goals. 

What is International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day? 

It first occurred in 2014 and it was celebrated in 144 countries worldwide. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is celebrated every November 19 and its aim is to draw attention to women entrepreneurs who have been successful and those who continue to break new ground. Awards are given each year at a gathering in the United Nations building in New York to distinguish female entrepreneurs who have achieved notable milestones in their respective industries. 

Larger women’s business empowerment events are often held around the world, and smaller local events sometimes happen. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, also known as Women’s Small Business Day, encourages women to run their own businesses or provides advice on how to go about getting started. There are many different ways that you can get involved and celebrate this day, but one of the best ways would be by giving someone an award. 

From an idea, how do I start a business?

It’s not difficult to start a business from an idea. All you need is some time and the following steps: 

  1. Research your idea online to see if there are any other businesses like it. If there aren’t, that means you have an opportunity to be the first one in that market. 
  2. Consider how much it would cost to start your business and how long it might take before you’re profitable.  
  3. Obtain legal advice for your business
  4. Consult an expert in business or finance to learn about what licenses and permits you’ll need to operate your business. 
  5. Choose a business name  
  6. Register your company with the state. Hire a registered agent. You can use services such as Northwest or Legalzoom to be your registered agent and  do your paperwork  for you.
  7. File for bankruptcy protection 
  8. Learn about different types of incorporation options and decide which one is right for you.  
  9. Visit trade shows and network with other entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, and financiers who can help guide you through this process.

You may first break down the business plan into smaller and more manageable tasks which can be recorded on a to-do list and prioritized. Due dates can also be set to ensure that your plan stays on schedule.  

What is the best way to organize my business for success? 

There are many ways to organize your business, but the most important part is to think about what works best for you. 

Here are some tips: 

  1. Figure out how you want to divide your time between work and personal life. 
  2. Identify which tasks you want to do yourself and which ones you’d rather hire someone else to do or outsource if needed. 
  3. Decide how much capital you need to start the business and how much money it will cost per month to operate.  
  4. Figure out if it makes sense for your new company to be a C corporation or an S corporation; each type of entity has different tax implications. 
  5. Determine what legal structure will be best for you (LLC, DBA, Sole Proprietorship). If starting a DBA (doing business as) consider registering the name of your business with local agencies so that you don’t infringe on another person’s trademark. You can also search with the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) before finalizing a name so that you know if someone else is using it.

Corporations, limited liability companies, nonprofits, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are all types of businesses. In light of the fact that each business is as unique as its owner, an entrepreneur must consider a variety of factors when organizing their business. 

As a new woman entrepreneur, what challenges should I expect? 

It is important to anticipate any challenges that you may encounter. For example, if your business requires permits or licenses, it is important to research what these are & how to acquire them ahead of time.

You may also want to think about how you will handle the legal aspects of your business. There are also additional challenges that women entrepreneurs face, including historical disparities, stigmas, stereotypes, & discrimination. A woman-owned business may face some more challenges. For instance, customers & vendors may be disbelieving that the company is owned by a woman. Women often face the extraordinary challenge of employees, peers, friends, & family who are not aware of their own biases and challenge everything a woman decides. 

Being assertive when confronted with bias and negative attitudes can go a long way in solving these challenges. Another strategy would be joining one of the many networks and associations geared toward empowering women in business. These organizations provide education on topics such as self-confidence & leadership skills which are crucial to success as an entrepreneur. 

How do I find government or local business support?

There are many government and local business support programs out there to help you get started with your women-owned small business. For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration offers technical assistance and grant funding to women entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses in economically distressed areas. 

The WOSB Program is designed to help promote the economic advancement of women-owned small businesses that meet specific eligibility requirements. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for federal grants and contracts from certain federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and other executive departments (including some agencies within them), without competition as long as you maintain at least 51% ownership. You will also be eligible for set-aside unrestricted competitive procurements conducted by covered federal agencies. 

Final thoughts

This Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is a great reminder that anyone can start a business & make a difference in their community & world. If you’re feeling inspired, start your business plan right away. A great time to begin!