How to Start a Woman-Owned Small Business

By Jade Balle

  • Overview

    While starting a woman-owned small business can be challenging, it also comes with its benefits and advantages. There are numerous government programs that have been established to help women start and fund their own small businesses. Qualified women can apply for special loans and grants to support their dreams of business ownership. The government also requires that at least 5 percent of all government-related contracts go to woman-owned businesses.
    • Step 1

      Join the various support and education programs offered to woman-owned businesses in your area. Both the federal government and individual state governments have special programs targeted to help woman-owned small businesses get off the ground with loans, grants, support groups, and other needed resources. See the Riley guide in Resources section for a thorough Website directory.
    • Step 2

      Apply for a business license with your state. You can usually complete the application online at your state's Website (see Resources for the list of state Websites). Be sure to file as a woman-owned business.

    • Step 3

      Call and visit the WBC (Women's Business Center) in your area. These business centers are run by the SBA (see link in Resources). Apply for all of the woman-owned business programs for which you are eligible.
    • Step 4

      Get a female business mentor that you can call on during the course of your business operations for advice and encouragement. This mentor can also keep you abreast of networking events in your area. See the Resources section for information about SCORE, an association that connects mentors with new business owners.
    • Step 5

      Draw up a detailed business plan that includes an overall summary of your business, a description of the owners with emphasis on the female owner, the concept, how it will be run, and how it will be financed.
    • Step 6

      Use your small business plan to apply for funding with the federal government's SBA loan program. They have special loan and grant programs for woman-owned businesses to guarantee your loan with a lender in your area. You can also apply for special grants with the state based on your research in the first step.
    • Step 7

      Examine your business plan to get familiar with how your new woman-owned business will be operated on a day-to-day basis. Contact other female business owners who have been established for three years or more to get tips and encouragement.
    • Step 8

      When you get the proper funding, put your business plan into action. That may include putting a down payment on a building for your office, buying equipment, hiring employees, and placing advertisements. Set up utility services related to your new business--such as phones, Internet service and a Website. Set a firm date for when business operations will begin.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Tip: If your new woman-owned business will be a store or other high profile business, hire a public relations specialist to handle the grand opening event.
    • Warning:
    • The SBA warns that 56 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years of operation. To avoid this fate, do consistent research on your industry. Keep up with trends. Be meticulous with your budgeting and general business planning.

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