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Women in Business 2022

Five top tips for female-founded startups

iStock / Getty Images Plus / fizkes

Emma Jones, CBE

Founder of Small Business Support Platform, Enterprise Nation

Starting a business is just how we roll these days, isn’t it? Around 44% of businesses are started as a side hustle.

According to the Small Business Barometer, a third of businesses in Ireland were launched to earn more money. With the cost of living crisis taking hold, more women are expected to start a business in the future.

So, how do you get started? There are some free resources aimed specifically at helping female founders, like She Means Business or Enterprise Nation.

Getting started on a business

1. Do your research.
If it’s a food product, test it on family and friends, then take it to a wider, less biased audience. It’s always worth researching competitors and considering investing in market research. Is there a demand? What would people be prepared to pay for it? Then work out if that allows you to make enough profit.

2. Create a business plan.
A good way to look at this is I’M OFF: idea, market, operations, financials and friends — which includes advisers. You can make a business action plan on our free Strive app.

Businesses that take advice or have a mentor do better than those that don’t.

3. Start selling.
Reaching a wider audience straight away without having to invest in a huge marketing budget can be done via global marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay. You must factor in costs, but it’s a fast way to get going without having to initially invest in your own e-commerce software. For services, consider using platforms like Fiverr.

4. Get paid.
Being paid on time is vital. If you’re using marketplaces, the cash comes through automatically. If not, get used to regularly invoicing and chasing. Getting paid is vital and so is prompt payment.

5. Upskill and network.
Once you’ve got work coming in, start networking to widen your contacts and build skills. Businesses that take advice or have a mentor do better than those that don’t. Enterprise Nation runs friendly local meetups called Local Leaders. It’s free – but you do have to buy a coffee from the independent cafes where we gather.

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