You received a large order from a big box company, but you have neither enough inventory to fulfill the order, nor enough cash or credit to purchase the items needed for your inventory. But this order will give you the revenue to hire the salesperson that you need to grow. Your sales fell flat last month, and for two consecutive months, you had more money leaving out than coming in; this month is not looking much better, and you need to meet payroll. A company that provides the same product or service as yours just moved in your area, and they are gaining traction on your customer base.
So you think you have an idea and are ready to start a business.
Any LadyBoss will tell you that starting a business is one of the hardest things that you will ever do, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of your life.
Do you have the stamina to be a LadyBoss?
The following are five things you need to ask yourself about your temperament for starting a business.
Am I ready?
Have you done the homework and research?
Does your idea inspire you?
When you wake up is it the first thing you think about; when you go to sleep is it the last thing on your mind?
This is not to say that you can’t be successful with an idea that doesn’t inspire passion. It’s just that when you are doing what you love, sometimes your commitment is different, and your ability to withstand the hard times can give you the perseverance you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Passion can lead to your motivation. It could be financial freedom, or finding a better way to do something, or more loftier goals like you want to change the world.
Create a mantra or a vision board to keep you motivated. Hang your vision on a wall, take photos, make it the screenshot on your phone or tablet.
Keep constant reminders of what you want, around you at all times.
You must feed yourself a constant diet of motivation.
What you consume you will become!
What kind of LadyBoss would I be?
Cautious, determined, chill, or carefree—whatever your style may be, it’s fine. Just know that, as a LadyBoss, sometimes circumstances require you step outside of your comfort zone and pivot for the sustainability of your business.
As a small business owner, you will inevitably be faced with problems that can cripple your business: short cash flow, not enough resources, new technologies, and the list goes on. How one maneuvers these problems can mean life or death to a business.
How do I approach the decision-making process?
Decision making is about assessing a problem, collecting the necessary data, pondering and weighing potential outcomes, making a judgement call, and then performing a lesson learned review. These steps are integral in the hopes of the best possible outcomes for current and future problems.
This is not to say that you will always have the right solution when you exercise these options; the hope is to have the most optimal result. Maybe you have not approached the decision-making process at this level. Most individuals haven’t. However, as a business owner you will have to be more evaluative in making day-to-day decisions.
So the big question to ask yourself is: do you have the ability to employ a more process-centered style of deciding?
This may be the difference between having your business fail or succeed.
How do I handle failures and setbacks?
There will come a time when the best of decisions still leads to a setback. You will have some failures when operating your business. Failure is an emotional experience and each person deals with it differently. However one tends to manage, it is inevitable that stress will be a part of the equation.
The first thing is to face the problem head on, and the worst thing is to try and avoid the problem. Refer back to the problem-solving process, and use this setback as an opportunity to make your business even stronger. The moral of the story is that your biggest failure can lead to your greatest success.
Do I have a good support system in my life?
Running a business will be mentally, emotionally, physically, and psychologically draining. Being a LadyBoss can be a very lonely ride, and sometimes it’s hard for your family and friends to understand the trials and tribulations that you must deal with on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, having them in your corner, being your cheering section, is important. It can undeniably be the difference between you drowning and floating some days. It is important not to limit your circle with just friends and family but expand to include clergy, psychologists, and life coaches. The mentoring and mental health checks that they provide can be priceless to your behavioral well-being.
Another opportunity is to join a women’s support group. Having a circle of like-minded individuals who’ve had similar experiences can provide you with that security of having other people understand exactly what you are undertaking.
Finally, remember why you wanted to step out in faith and take on the world with an idea conceived from your mind. Whatever the challenges you face, remember there are many instances where the little girl wins, and you could be the next one. If at first you don’t succeed, put on a floppy hat, go to the beach, knock back a Soul Reaper Cocktail or two, regroup, and try again.
Baby, you got this! Good bye for now until next post.
LaTonya Fourte’-Lyles is a procurement professional with almost a decade of experience in buying from minority and women-owned companies for corporate and government agencies. She has recently started her own endeavor called SpotzCity, a platform dedicated to small business owners to support them in showcasing their companies and providing tools to assist in growing their businesses.