Filed under: business, savvy tools | Tags: biz lady meetups, business plan, design*sponge, mission statement, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, SBA, Score, starting your own business
During our get together this past weekend we addressed a lot of big questions about our company. They’re the same questions that any entrepreneur has to face. As we’ve mentioned before, none of us have an education in business, but we’re learning as we go along. Based on that experience, I’d like to share a few tips to hopefully help anyone else who’s considering starting something on their own.
1. Come up with a mission statement. What’s your company all about? We prefer short & sweet, but there’s a lot of variety out there. Here are a few examples for reference:
Disney: “To make people happy.”
Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible & useful.”
Savvy Tools: ” Savvy’s mission is to provide women with sustainable tools to enhance their creativity.”
2. Start writing your business plan. It’s a long process and you may not know the answer to all the questions yet, but giving it your best shot will certainly help you narrow down what you’re trying to do and help you figure out how much its going to take to get there. It can be a great reality check. There are lots of templates online to get you started & lots of books at the library. I like this one from Score: http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html
3. Research local small business administrations & other support groups. Most of them offer classes, one-on-one consultations, awards programs, and give discounts on lots of things you’re going to need to start your business. Here are a few to get you started:
US Small Business Administration: http://www.sba.gov/
Specifically in SF, I really like:
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center/ Bayview Resource Center: http://www.rencenter.org/bay.htm
There are several groups specifically for women as well like the women’s business center in conjunction with the REC listed above.
4. Read as much as you can- online, at the library, wherever. Here are some books that helped us:
-How to Kick Start Your Business by Romanus Walter
-Bold Women, Big Ideas by Kay Klopovitz (If you’re considering funding from a venture capitalist)
-Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco (for turning your crafting hobby into a business)
The library is full of them. You can take your pick.
5. Network! Design*sponge has a great meeting called Biz Ladies Meet-up. Grace brought together several business owners, business advisors and the author of Craft Inc. for the meeting in SF. There were hundreds of women there and it was a great place to meet people with the same questions & people who have already been through this. She holds these in major cities all over the country. I think there’s one coming up in Seattle next. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/02/biz-lady-notes.html There are lots of other forums to meet people too. You just have to get out and not be afraid to talk about your ideas.
Hopefully that’s a good start. As I said, we certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we’d like to help other people acheive their goals and we’re happy to share the things that have helped us so far.
-Rebecca, San Francisco
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