Have you got what it takes?
THE BIG IDEA
This can be something creative like a plot for a children’s book or a top-secret family recipe that’s worthy of a pop-up restaurant, or it could be a new way of doing business. But an idea isn’t enough; you need to work out your unique selling point and be able to explain it in three sentences or less. DO
All the businesswomen we spoke to had one thing in common – they’d spotted a gap in the market. You need to make sure what you’re doing is original. Speak to friends and family first, but then broaden your research. Set up focus groups and talk to experts in the industry to make sure your idea has legs. Research competitors, too, and make sure you thoroughly understand your industry.
TEST THE MARKET
It should become clear fairly quickly if people want to buy what you’re selling. If there’s no demand, you may need to adapt. Don’t get disheartened; after dropping out of Harvard, Bill Gates set up a business with Paul Allen called Traf-odata. This was famously a flop – but then the pair went on to found Microsoft.
WRITE A PLAN
We’ve all seen Dragon’s Den – you need to get to grips with the nitty gritty of how your business will make money. If you don’t have a head for figures, bring in someone who does. If you want to secure a loan from a bank or investment from other sources, you’ll need to understand and articulate how much the business will cost to run, what your turnover will be and when you will make a profit.
STICK AT IT
What all our successful businesswomen have in common is the ability to learn from mistakes and bounce back. Running your own business is not easy. You need a thick skin and to be prepared to work hard.