Starting and running a business as a woman comes with its own set of challenges. Besides the usual business challenges, you still have to establish yourself and build a reputation in what is often perceived as a man’s world. However, many opportunities favor women if you choose to start your business as minority-owned. You can leverage the funding, training, and other opportunities available to minority women-owned businesses to start and grow your business.
Ideally, starting a minority woman-owned business takes more or less the same process as starting any other business. The only difference is that you need certification. That being said, here is a breakdown of how to start a minority woman-owned business.
Draft a business plan
Once you have a solid business idea, it is good to put it into a business plan. A good business plan will act as a road map for your business structure as well as how to run and grow your venture. In addition, you will need this document when presenting your funding proposal or when looking for investors. You will use it to convince people that your business idea is viable and capable of being profitable.
Choose a format that best suits your needs and goals- you can always find a template online to work with. Highlight the most important elements of your business in the document. Put down whether your business will have a physical address or it will be set online and whether you will need to build a website or set up an office and so on. The best trick in writing a business plan is to see it as a way to think through the key aspects of your business.
Register your business
Your next step in starting a minority woman-owned business is to take care of the legal aspect. It is important to start your business with all the legal requirements fulfilled. Ensure that you know the legal requirements for your industry and location. However, some of the legal registration common to most businesses include registering a business name, getting the necessary licenses and permits, and registering for taxes.
This step can prove overwhelming, but you can make it easy by working with an expert. If you are in Hong Kong, for instance, working with company registration experts such as Air Corporate can make the process easier for you. The company provides a secure platform to register your business online in a process that takes just a few hours. This way, you get to save on time and money. In addition, you can benefit from other services such as online management of your company and online account opening for your business.
Get minority business certification
For you to qualify for opportunities that are available for minority women-owned businesses, you will be required to get the certification. This way, you can gain access to opportunities such as training, development, funding, and unique employment among others.
Some of the certifications that you can consider include:
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Certification – You can get opportunities from corporate members and government agencies with this certification. However, your business should be 51% owned, operated, managed, and controlled by a woman or woman.
- SBA Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program Certification – This certification allows you to compete for opportunities that are tailored for women-owned businesses. In addition, you can become certified as an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business if you are eligible.
Once you have your business registered and certified, the next step is to look for the finances required to get your business going. There are many options that you can choose from including using your savings, mortgage rates, borrowing from your family and friends, crowdfunding, or taking a loan from credit facilities. However, it is good to explore the opportunities that might be available for minority-owned businesses. Some organizations that you can consider include Minority Business Development Agency, FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, and Amber Grant for Women among others.
Find mentors and support
Running a business is not a walk in the park, so some help from more experienced people can do you good. To raise your chances of success, you need a mentor or advisor who can help you implement your strategy, expand your network, improve your business knowledge and identify your weaknesses among others. Besides finding an individual who can walk with you, consider registering with programs that provide support to minority-owned businesses as well. Programs such as the Small Business Development Program, National Minority Supplier Development Council, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Emerging Leaders Training Cycle are some of the programs that provide such support.
Starting a minority woman-owned business takes almost the same process like any other business except that you will need to be certified in that category. Once you have a viable idea for your business, draw a business plan and get the necessary registration. Go ahead and get certification as a minority woman-owned business. Lastly, look for funding and support to get your business up and running.