Guest blog by Marianna Olszewski
Author of Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom
With the unemployment rate so high these days, many of us women are either without a job or worried about being let go, downsized or having our salary cut in half. Because of these uncertain economic times, I suggest women more than ever be creative and be prepared ‘just in case” you find yourself looking for a job.
The secret is what I call going fuzzy to firm – to get in touch with ourselves and our intuitions, follow our flow and put in down on paper. This is how new ideas are seamlessly transformed into dream businesses. It’s really quite simple. Start with spending quiet time and getting in touch with “ideas that keep nudging you” and look inside to see what it is that comes easy and natural to you. Some women I know have four or five business ideas floating around in their heads and they never write any of them down. The result – none of these ideas ever materialize. I agree it is much easier to keep your ideas in your head, then taking the time to write them down and see them as real. Seeing your idea, goal or business dream on paper can be scary. We might think “What if my ideas are silly, and I get laughed at”, “What if my business fails” or even “What if it works, then what?” As long as we keep our dreams as just that our dreams we are safe. But our talents, ideas and dreams are there for a reason – for us to look at what keeps “tugging” at us and keep coming up for us so we can manifest this goodness in our lives. Each one of us has unique talents and ideas that are put there for a reason, so we can explore and manifest them. We women deserve the very best in life and that starts with saying yes to ourselves and yes to our dreams. The first action needed to start any business is to formulate the idea on paper. When the idea is staring at us in black and white it can be read and reread, revised and changed. Otherwise it is just a bunch of fuzz in our heads.
Try my “Dream Business” Exercise in Live It, Love It, Earn It or downloading it from my website liveitloveitearnit.com. The exercise gives you space to write down some business ideas. Once your ideas are on paper, pick the idea that excites you the most, and work on that one.
Once your ideas are down on paper, the next step is doing a bit of due diligence – digging around per se. Researching similar business is helpful in learning how to best approach your business and figuring out how your business idea is both similar and different. I call this doing your due diligence. Talking to others in your field, asking how they got started and what they think the difficulties of the business are is very helpful. People are usually flattered and generous with information. I suggest networking organizations specifically for the purpose of exchanging experiences and information with other people in similar industries. Also contact legal and financial experts for their advice before beginning. Hire the best accountants and lawyers you can afford.
After doing a bit of due diligence, the next step is creating a short (yes, short) business plan and calculating your financial needs. B-plans are easier and less time-consuming than you probably think. You definitely don’t need a b-plan as thick as a phone book. I recommend 5 or 6 pages maximum, to start. As long as your business, strategy, numbers and projections are clear and realistic, you can be succinct. Business plans are important for two reasons: one, so you can be clear about your business, its mission and your financials; and two, so you can present your business in a clear and concise way to outside investors if you are looking for cash. (The 5-Step B-Plan can be found in my book Live It, Love It, Earn It or downloaded from my website liveitloveitearnit.com) My first business plan helped me clarify my goals and find an investor to invest immediate cash into my dream. Thank goodness for b-plans!