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Rise of the women-owned businesses

After decades of juggling home life with a career, women are certainly finding their stride in the business world as they launch more private businesses. Today, women own approximately one-third of all privately held companies and all signs indicate this number will continue to grow.

It has been a long time coming (more than two decades,) but the federal government has finally met (and surpassed) its goal of awarding five percent of contracts to small businesses owned by women. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been pivotal in pushing initiatives to meet this goal but they are not letting up.

Women are still under-represented in the small business world leading the SBA to create 36 new industrial categories. This could have a massive impact on women-owned businesses and allow for the creation of more jobs. Further, new programs are being established to help women secure additional federal contracts.

There are many things to consider when starting your own business, but don't let it scare you. No matter what your reasons, something is driving you to consider it in the first place. Do your research, explore your options for financing, and make sure you are aware of all of the legal aspects of setting up your specific venture (licenses, permits, etc.).

There are a lot of resources available to help you through this initial phase. Seek out professionals to aid you with setting things up - tax accountants and attorneys who are well-versed in small business can advise you on the best courses of action so you can minimize your risk and avoid some major pitfalls.

Beyond the research, build your support network. Nix the negative people, the naysayers who tend to be emotionally draining. Your venture is going to be demanding of your time and you don't want that negativity seeping in to shake your confidence. Reach out to local business groups, women's groups, and check out some of the many magazines available for business owners (Entrepreneur, Inc. and Where Women Create Business).

The most important thing to remember as you embark on this venture is this: don't lose focus of why you want to start the business to begin with. Consider what set you on the path.

  • Did you want more flexibility?
  • Tired of the regular nine-to-five regimen?
  • Looking to be your own boss after years of following less than competent figure heads?

Focus on these things even if it means posting them around your work space as a daily reminder. Become a part of the expanding group of successful female business owners while making your dreams a reality.

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