Women tend to be great planners, but eventually you have to stop planning and start doing.
C'mon, admit it, it's a lot less stress-inducing to keep tweaking that business plan than it is to actually implement it.
You can plan-plan-plan but if you never do-do-do your business will remain just a great idea.
Take a deep breath, take the first step, and just start. That's why it's called a start-up.
The time couldn't be better -- and the stats prove it. In fact, if you're a woman launching a business or even thinking about it, there's lots of good news for you. In the U.S. alone, women-owned enterprises are starting up at a rate of around 550 a day. It's a trend mirrored across the globe. TechCocktail predicted 2013 would be the "year of the women entrepreneur." The survival rate of women-owned firms is a whopping 78 percent, according to the National Women's Business Council.
So back away from that business plan and:
1. Be brave.
You'll have lots of opportunities to shrink back, but don't do it. The idea of leaving a stable job -- or leaving your family for a few hours -- to launch a start-up is definitely daunting. And investing your life savings can make even the most confident woman stay up nights. Remind yourself why you wanted to launch this start-up in the first place. Charge ahead.
2. Be particular.
With 550 women-owned businesses starting up every day, how can you set yours apart? Give your enterprise the best chance of success by identifying your Unique Selling Point (USP). What makes you stand out from the crowd? How are you different? Define that in one sentence -- and memorize it. It will help you promote your start-up to investors and customers alike (and your Uncle Bill who wonders what in the world you're doing with your life).
3. Be relational.
Take advantage of your natural abilities to network. You have questions -- who better to answer them than a woman who has been in the same situation herself?
Look for women-helping-women organizations in your city that can pair you with a mentor. Or ask someone you already know. Or someone you'd like to know. Make sure your mentor knows you don't just want a "yes woman" who'll love all your ideas. A good mentor should challenge you and hold all your suggestions up to scrutiny. Iron sharpens iron.
4. Be social.
Many women are very relational so social media can be your new BFF. If you're not signed up to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest yet, do so as soon as possible. And if social media scares you, see #1.
Social media can help with a number of start-up challenges that make you want to pull back from actually launching -- like recruitment, making business contacts, connecting with customers and spreading the word about your products and services. And best of all? Social media is free so you can save your investment money for something else (like toner, ink, business cards... did I mention toner and ink?).
5. Be intentional.
What's the action step in your business plan that officially launches your business? Choose a date when you'll do it -- and then ignore that date. You know you gave yourself way too much lead time! If you allowed two months, cut that down to a few weeks.
Notice that "Be perfect" is not one of my tips. You'll never be perfect no matter how much you plan so don't even attempt to do it. As Seth Godin says, "The best time to start was a while ago. The second best time to start is today."
Stop planning and start doing. Let's do this!