Jobs are scarce, the housing market is depressed, and business spending is slow. If you’ve been following news on the economy lately, it’s more of the same.
This is a sobering reality check for millions of Americans who continue to hope the economy will soon turn around.
What’s to be done?
We must support and encourage entrepreneurship and new entrepreneurial initiatives in women.
Why? Because it’s entrepreneurs who will create the new jobs millions of Americans sorely need.
Three Things for Women Entrepreneurs to Keep in Mind
1. Don’t indulge in delusional thinking.
In this slithering economy where unemployment is stuck at 9.6%, it’s a blunder to think that we’re going to return to the way things were anytime soon. And who would want to? Things weren’t all that economically great before the recession began.
Let’s face it. We’re not going to see real estate skyrocket or lost jobs come back overnight. What we are seeing and will continue to see are women entrepreneurs stepping forward to create new jobs. This is what will save the U.S. economy. Not the government. Not big business. The U.S. small business sector expanding and creating new jobs will get us out of this recession.
2. Be realistic.
As an entrepreneur myself, I love the concept of dreaming big and planning big. This kind of expansive thinking can sometimes require you to learn new things or even get licensed or certified in a new area of expertise. However, if you’re thinking about starting up a business, it’s more important than ever before to focus on getting up and going as quickly as possible.
For that reason, the one thing I caution against is starting up a new business that is more than two degrees different from anything else you’ve done before in your life or career. That’s because, if you extend beyond two degrees, it is likely that you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed with all that you’ll need to learn and do just to get up-to-speed.
So, stick close to what you know. Capitalize on your existing skills and experience when starting up. This will help you get your business going very quickly and will also save you time and money.
3. Expect more and less from your bank. The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, signed into law by President Obama last month, offers a fresh source of financing for small businesses (including a $ 30 billion lending fund to be distributed by the Treasury Department to qualified small banks that promise to extend new loans to small business). Still, it’s extremely difficult for small businesses to get their hands on that cash.
Now, more than ever, you must make sure that, when you ask lenders for money, your business plan is a “cogent, practical document that lays out where the business has been from a historical perspective and where it’s going and why,” according to Christine Reilly, President of CIT Small Business Lending Corporation.
The days when a small business owner could walk into her hometown bank and borrow money to tide over her struggling business are long gone. Nowadays, banks are asking you to front them money by putting up your personal residence as collateral to secure your loan. Expect this and be prepared with a solid business plan.
While the news on the economy may sound bleak, it’s important for women entrepreneurs not to flounder in the passive state of hoping for things to turn around. What is needed the most is creation of new jobs. And that’s where entrepreneurship and new entrepreneurial initiatives come in. If you are a woman entrepreneur, your time has come to create the new jobs that will be so important in reviving our economy.