The personal-finance website WalletHub recently took a look at the best and worst metro areas for women-owned businesses. They compared the 100 largest metropolitan areas across 10 different metrics that indicate friendliness toward women-owned businesses. For example, they looked at average revenue growth of women owned businesses in each area, as well as the diversity of women owned businesses.
You can read the complete analysis and data from WalletHub, but here are some of its key findings:
- The areas around Nashville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., Columbus, Ohi0, Memphis, Tenn., and Milwaukee, Wisc., topped the rankings in terms of overall score.
- Colorado Springs, Colo. had the highest percentage of women-owned businesses.
- The Stockton/Lodi, Calif. area had the highest growth percentage for women-owned businesses.
- Fresno, Calif. had the highest average revenue for women-owned businesses.
The time is more than right for starting your own business.
According to the American Express OPEN 2015 State of Women Owned Businesses report (PDF), women-owned businesses now account for nearly one-third of all privately held companies in the U.S. and are growing at a rate 1.5 times faster than the national average.
If you’ve had a dream of starting your own business, but have been sitting on the sidelines too long, below are some tips for making things happen this year.
When Starting Your Own Business …
Business plans, a strong network and capital are all key ingredients for any new business. However, from my experience, the single most important thing is confidence.
I’ve seen many women blessed with amazing ideas and intelligence, but they lack the confidence to take their ideas seriously and reach for what they want. Remind yourself that you can do this. I believe in you, so believe in yourself, too.
Consider Your Family and Children
If you’re the primary caregiver for your children, you’re probably attracted to self-employment/entrepreneurship, since it’s a way to earn an income while having the flexibility to run the household on your terms. It’s true that when you run the show, you can set your schedule.
However, before jumping into the new business, you need to realistically consider how much time you’ll need to spend on the new business on a daily and weekly basis. Understanding your time commitments ahead of time will help minimize the stress on both you and your family when starting your own business.
Surround Yourself with Positive, Supportive People
Judgmental, envious and other toxic individuals are emotionally exhausting to be around and can take a serious toll on your motivation and forward momentum.
When starting your own business, make a commitment to cut out these distractions and surround yourself with positive people who support you on this new journey. Join a few local business and industry associations; this will give you a strong network of like-minded people who understand your challenges and can help you grow a profitable business.
Learn to Prioritize
When you’re starting your own business, you are busy all the time. However, burning the candle at both ends doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re moving the company forward. During the first year, you need to be ruthless with how you spend your time: don’t automatically say yes to every request that comes your way.
Before you begin each day, you should have a clear vision of your specific priorities for the day, and how they fit into your weekly/monthly/longer-term goals. Then, try as hard as you can to stay committed to those priorities no matter how much extra ‘noise’ comes in during the day.
Focus on Your “Whole” Self
Many women I know have a caretaker mentality; we want to make sure that everyone else around us is happy and taken care of. While this is a noble trait, there’s also the risk of putting your own needs second to everything else.
After experiencing some rather serious panic attacks, I have come to realize just how important it is to make time for myself … to relax, exercise, put my phone aside, and enjoy life. I’m a better mom, wife, and CEO when I don’t try to ‘do it all’ and take care of myself in addition to everyone else.
Create Your Own Definition of Success
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, particularly in this age of social media. You may get disheartened when you hear that someone made millions practically overnight.
But instead of getting jealous and bitter, just remind yourself that there are numerous ways to define entrepreneurial success. For some it’s all about the money, but for others success can be the ability to earn a little money and be able to pick the kids up from school. It’s important to step back and define what success means to you.
As you build your business, don’t forget that many, many business ideas need both time and patience to grow. It’s the fact that you’re following your dreams, not the end goal, that matters most!