Business Startups: How and where to find resources

Here at GoWoman we are all about women doing it for themselves, taking care of themselves and building the world that they want for themselves. Financial independence is the rule and not an exception. If you are interested in increasing your sources of revenue and would like to build a business in order to attain your wealth vision, the likelihood is you have no idea where to start, how to proceed or what resources are available to you.

Here are seven pointers:

1. Networking

Networking is a powerful source to promote your skills and to meet the type of people who can be of help to you. Depending on your area of interest, you need to know your audience and potential clients. Who is interested in your skills or your products? Once you’ve targeted your client base, find opportunities to mingle and meet with them. Make sure you are prepared: always wear a sample or carry a portfolio of your work with you. Word of mouth is the fastest and cheapest means of advertising when you’re starting off.

2. Promotion

You are probably looking for that first opportunity to make a name for yourself. It doesn’t come overnight but through consistent work and self promotion; by putting your skills or work out there for people to get a feel of it. Whether it’s art, entertainment or advisory, as many people as possible need to know what your are about and what you have achieved so far.

This is linked to networking: showcase your work to your family, friends or acquaintances. Go meet potential clients. Ask a known or influential person to support or represent your craft and get them to recommend you. Participate in competitions. Develop a website or blog. Create a Facebook page. Tweet. In short: be active!

A young woman from Benin is developing a jewellery line made of pearls called Perlicious. She had a former member of government and socialite wear her jewellery and talk about it during an interview. Her brand has since become even more popular.

3. Savings

Like I said before, never work for free unless you’re doing voluntary work. If you’re trying to establish a business, regardless of how small it is, charge a fee. Do your homework to get to know the spectrum of fees that others charge for similar services to yours and position yourself.

Whatever you earn, formally or informally, set aside part of it in savings. This money will be used to improve your craft (training, equipment or supplies) or to improve your branding and marketing. You must invest in yourself before anyone can put money towards your project or idea.

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an innovative way of fundraising on the Internet. You pitch a project that is usually already creating a buzz and people around the world make financial contributions to help you reach your target.

This is an alternative that is increasingly being used by the youth. The French lifestyle magazine Fashizblack created by young Africans came to life after the promoters raised more than $45,000. The magazine started out as a blog then an online magazine, promoting Black fashion and lifestyle trends. Kelly Rowland was featured on the last cover.

5. Loans from banks

The loan is generally the last resort to access financing. It’s important that your project is attractive and credible to the bank.

Firstly, launch your project at a small scale. Start with your own means. Even if you have a large scale project, break it down into small phases that are more manageable and affordable. That way, you use your own funds to build a successful model that generates revenues.

Secondly, a business plan is a very important document to have when approaching financial institutions for funding. Invest in preparing top notch documents about your project. These include everything from the characteristics of your project and the market research to branding and accurate forecasting of how profitable the project is. Remember, banks want to know that you are making enough money to reimburse the loan.

6. Private equity

There are new ways for an entrepreneur to find partners that will invest in her business: private equity funds. They provide the resources and the expertise to assist you in launching or developing your activities. They bring in capital, provide technical assistance in management, finance and others. They thus become shareholders of your company and share the risks and rewards with you.

They do so for a number of years and either sell their shares of the company to you or to another investor. Their conditions are as rigorous as banks, only they are open to a wide range of sectors and welcome innovation.

 

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