October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and it’s no wonder we’re dedicating a whole month to celebrate. The U.S. Small Business Administration is recognizing National Women’s Small Business Month and the countless women small business owners who have pursued their passion and taken the leap into entrepreneurship.
Women are a driving force in the nation’s economy, starting most new businesses. They own 9.9 million companies that employ more than eight million people and provide $264 billion in wages to employees. According to Christy Wright, best-selling author of Business Boutique, “With the endless free social media and selling platforms available to us today, there’s never been a better time or bigger audience for women to launch their own side gig.”
SBA Administrator Linda McMahon is promoting the month with a blog featuring a story of April Lukasik, who started a childcare center after the birth of her second child. The SBA played a great role in making Lukasik’s dream come true by providing the financing she needed for her business. McMahon went on to say, “At the SBA, we are championing women entrepreneurs who still face many barriers. We can do more by providing tools and resources to create or grow a small business and employ more Americans.”
Getting started and taking that leap of faith is always the hardest part, for both men and women. Here are some suggestions that you can consider when getting ready to pull the trigger:
- Create a Plan: This doesn’t have to be something that you need to submit to venture capitalists for a million dollars. Find a template for a short business plan online and put something down on paper. The plan will change over time, but at least you have a map to begin the journey.
- Have no Fear: Of course there is going to be anxiety involved. That is the nature of the start-up business. It’s not just you, it is everyone walking in your footsteps. Never let fear get the better of you or allow you to make bad decisions. Don’t let others tell you that you are wrong if you know you are right. Don’t allow your competition to scare you and alter your plan. Never deal in fear.
- Do it now: There is never a perfect time to start. The stars will never be aligned just right, so just go ahead and do it. If you wait until you’re ready, until you have more experience, or until all the details are perfect before you go for it, you’ll never do anything.
This year the SBA also celebrates a milestone of 30 years since the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, which was aimed at leveling the playing field for women-owned businesses. It officially established the SBA’s Women’s Business Center program. This program is a national network of 116 educational centers designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. Contact the SBA to find one near you. A last thing worth mentioning is the federal contract assistance program, which awarded $20.8 billion in government contracts to women-owned small businesses in 2017. The U.S. government has a goal of providing women with 5% of all federal contracting dollars.