Exploring Business Ownership – So You Think You Want to Be in Business? (Part 1 of 7)

This series is dedicated to helping “wannabe” business owners determine whether they’re a good candidate to venture forth into the world of business ownership.

Many times those who have been laid off or downsized, or are in danger of that happening soon, begin to actively think about business ownership. Typically, they’re tired of the uncertainly of their present position, or simply have that entrepreneurial itch and are considering striking out on their own. This may describe your situation and you might be wondering whether it’s best to continue in the employment world or if it’s time to take the plunge.

So, how do you test the waters to know if you have the risk tolerance, level of motivation, and personal attributes necessary to succeed in the business world? Read on.

So You Think You Want to be in Business

Maybe you’re tired of working for “the man” and you want your own “gig”. Or you might have a great idea that you’re sure will work. Or maybe you want to build wealth by starting and building a business to sell at a tidy profit. Or maybe you dream of creating a “gentleman farmer” lifestyle where you simply hire someone to work hard in your business, while you collect an owner’s check at a retirement resort in another state (or country). There are many reasons people start or buy businesses. Most of them have a root in the dissatisfaction with their current situation.

What Kind of People Do Well in Business?

Conventional wisdom says you have to be a “sales type” to be successful. However, Bill Gates is the world’s most famous geek, is definitely not the sales type, and didn’t even finish his undergraduate degree at Harvard, yet few would argue with his success.

While there are some traits that serve owners better than others, in my experience nearly any personality type or style can be successful in business. Rather than focusing on whether someone is outgoing, the basic ingredients I find important to a candidate’s success are a clear understanding of what they want to achieve, a high level of self-motivation, the willingness to ask for help, and the ability to change when business conditions or market needs require it.

Typically, natural sales-types are not good at detail, yet successful businesses must deliver everything promised, when it was promised. So the challenge for the sales-type is to recognize that details are important in running a business and they must have a “dot the ‘i’, cross the ‘t'” person filling these functions.

Likewise, those who see themselves as “geeks” are great at detail, but are not comfortable with the self-promotion and personal contact necessary to create prospects and generate sales. So, the challenge for the geek business owner is to recognize the importance of the sales function and ensure a sales type is in it.

So, it’s far more important to recognize that a successful business requires all personality types working together than it is for the owner to posses a particular personality style.

Everyone wants to be successful in business! In part 2 we’ll discuss what your definition of success should be.

Personal Empowerment: How Business Ownership Can Create Wealth And Personal Happiness

We all want personal fulfillment and empowerment, especially in these uncertain times. We want to be in control of our time, our jobs, and our earning potential. And, some of us know that working for someone else is simply a necessary means to an end. You go to work, you do a good job, you get paid for your productivity and efficiency and your value to the company, you bring home your paycheck and you get up the next day and do it all again. But, do you really feel a sense of personal empowerment and happiness? What are the odds that you are going to create “personal wealth” working for someone else? You are more likely contributing to someone else’s personal wealth!

Please keep reading if you would like to know more about personal empowerment and how business ownership can create wealth and personal happiness.

Americans as a whole, are very entrepreneurial people. Small businesses and small firms are the backbone of our economy, in good times and in bad. According to statistics by SBA.gov, office of Advocacy. small businesses:

  • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
  • Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
  • Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
  • Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
  • Create more than half of the non-farm private gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Hire 40 percent of high-tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
  • Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
  • Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.
  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.

Please note the astonishing statistic that 52% of small businesses are home-based!

With the above statistics in mind, I think it is safe to say that being a successful business owner and entrepreneur empowers you and can give you control over your financial future and your personal happiness. I also think it is safe to say, that, even if you are making a good living working for someone else, you probably aren’t going to “create wealth” while working for someone else.

People who own their own businesses express contentment, even when they own stressful businesses. The small business owner understands that he is working hard and enduring long hours because is working for himself. He and his family will be the direct beneficiaries of all that hard work. Many businesses are “family-owned and operated.” If you are working for someone else, can you pass your position on to your son or daughter? A family business is a legacy! And, even if you don’t pass your business down to your children or grandchildren, can you sell your current position when you decide to retire? A business is an asset. Your current job is just that: a job.

It has long been known that personal empowerment,and business ownership can create wealth and lead to personal happiness. I’m not saying that owning your own small business is easy, but, we all have to work, and most of us work pretty hard. So, what I AM saying is this: if it’s worth doing, it is worth doing for yourself!

You owe it to yourself to at least look into owning your own business: You’ve probably thought about it a million times. Give yourself the gift of personal empowerment and find out how business ownership can create wealth and personal happiness for you and your family.

Women Empowered Through Business Ownership

Helen Reddy said it best in the 70s: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore…” The 70s may have had some bad clothes and disco music, but the 70s also opened the door for women, and in many ways, became the Decade of The Woman.

Women have become empowered over the last 30 to 40 years in wide variety of ways, but one of the biggest ways women have become empowered is through business ownership.

The statistics on woman-owned businesses are impressive and empowering enough on their own:

Women In Business:

  • As of 2008, there were 10.1 million firms owned by women. (Ownership is defined as owning 50% or more of a company.)
  • These businesses employ over 13 million people, and (as of 2008) had generated $1.9 trillion in sales.
  • Women-owned businesses make up over 40% of all privately held companies.
  • One in five companies reporting revenue in excess of $1 million is a woman-owned business.
  • 3% of businesses owned by women report revenue of $1 million or more.
  • According to score.org, 69% of women are more likely to seek business advice than their male counterparts. Only 47% of men will seek advice. (Does this really surprise anyone, give the whole “men won’t ask for directions” thing?!)
  • Women-owned business have been growing at twice the rate of all U.S. companies.

Women Of Color And Business Ownership:

  • Women of color owned 1.9 million businesses in 2008.
  • These businesses generate $165 billion in revenue annually, and employee 1.2 million people.
  • Between 2002 and 2008, women of color owned businesses grew more quickly than any other privately held companies.

Clearly, women are a very entrepreneurial group! Studies have long shown that women are capable multi-taskers, effective problem solvers, creative in approaches to many aspects of daily life, and are often the financial planners at home. These unique skills have lent themselves beautifully to the empowerment of women through business ownership.

Women often create successful businesses because they have identified a need through a specific set of circumstances. Women have created hair care products specifically due to the lack of products they want or need and can’t find. Mother’s Helpers and Home Fairies came about because women have long wished that “they had a wife.” Niche businesses developed for women by women are hugely successful simply because women identify with other women on a very specific level.

There are many opportunities in today’s market for an enterprising woman to develop her own business, big or small.

In an article by ask.org, these six start-up business ideas were marked as “Hot Markets For Small Businesses:”

  1. eBay drop-off sites
  2. Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing
  3. Performance Apparel
  4. Niche Health and Fitness
  5. Technology Security Consulting
  6. Service/Products For the Hispanic Market

However, the list for starting your own business is virtually endless. Take a look around you and see if there is a business need that can be filled.

Other ideas for women-owned businesses include:

  • Tutoring
  • Free-lance article writing for online business promotions
  • Gourmet Food production and sales (Think Mrs. Field’s cookies!)
  • Personalized Gift Basket Sales
  • Resume Writing
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Pet Sitters
  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Online Affiliate Marketing
  • Internet Marketing Mentoring and Coaching

Many of these business ideas can be started with little working capital. Not all businesses take a large investment for start-up costs. Many of the ideas listed above can be done from home with no employees and no overhead costs such as rent, insurance, additional utilities, etc. And, many work-from-home businesses are entitled to a tax break because you are using your home as an office.

If starting your own business is appealing to you, or starting your own home-based business is an idea you’d like to turn into a reality, then pick a direction, research what you would need to get you started, and join the millions of other women who have been empowered through business ownership!

There really is something to that “I am woman, hear me roar,” song. Thanks, Helen Reddy!