Ready to Start Your Own Business?

As seen in the ‘Business & Career’ section of the August/September 2010 issue of Tallahassee Woman magazine.

Are you a smart cookie? Do you feel as if you’ve paid your dues and want to break out into business for yourself?
You are part of a growing trend! But keep in mind that while being your own boss means you can set your own hours, wear your monkey pajamas into your home-based office and have more creative oversight, it also means that you have to fulfill many new roles, almost simultaneously. Are you ready to become president, accountant, marketing expert, office manager, administrative assistant, sales staff, technology manager and, sadly in some cases, collection agent?
It takes a certain temperament to be a successful entrepreneur, and daily fantasizing about your boss’s face under your sensible heel is NOT sufficient reason to go out on your own.
Your business will be born from an idea and desire and then created step-by-step. At this first stage, you have turned down the main road and are plotting out your map to success.  Here are some questions to help you think through some of your initial business development and marketing directions.
Business owners usually go into business for themselves doing what they do well and are passionate about. What are your special strengths, expertise or skill sets?
Is your family supportive of the long hours and single-minded focus that will be necessary to be successful in the first three years? Can you set space, noise and time boundaries and have your family—and yourself—respect them?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A middle child or only? A thinker or a feeler? Knowing yourself well will help you choose the right collaborative partners, the best way to network, and the marketing direction that best fits your budget and style.
Do you consider yourself risk-AVERSE or risk-READY? How do you handle uncertainty? Deadlines?
Answers to these questions can give one a pretty accurate idea of the possibilities for success and satisfaction.
But the “right” profile doesn’t count without a strong knowledge of the following.
  • Is there a need for what you offer in your marketplace? Who is your demographic? What is your price point? How will you market?
  • What do you envision the day-to-day operations looking like?
  • What is FABULOUS about your product or service? The way it’s delivered or the add-ons? The freshness? The novelty? Or maybe the money-back guarantee?
Are you well financed or will you be boot-strapping it? Can the family budget withstand the ebb and flow of cash, especially in the beginning?
Are you prepared to network, network, network? If you are not gifted at it, are you teachable? We have a plethora of great networking and entrepreneurial resources in Tallahassee. Find out which one is best to become your extended sales force, offer necessary support and encouragement and create synergistic, profitable opportunities.
Women are starting their own businesses faster nationally than men—and for every type of business you can imagine (and some you can’t!). We are hardwired to succeed because we embody ideal entrepreneur traits, such as communicator, collaborator, planner, organizer and leader.  Other women who have been there want to help you navigate your own path.
So here’s to you and the next, most exciting chapter of your life. You’ll learn about yourself and grow in ways you can’t yet imagine!
Deanna A. Mims calls herself the chief marketing enabler for MarketDone (online at MarketDone.com). She works doing what she loves — offering values-centered marketing guidance for entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. A Tallahassee resident for 37 years, Deanna lives with her almost new husband and bad Chihuahua.  She is an ENFP and runs TEN (Tallahassee Entrepreneurs Network), a collaborative network of networking and workshops for professionals