Move over Branson, Sugar and Caan, a new report from a leading academic reveals over two thirds of female business start-ups are so-called ‘everyday entrepreneurs’.
Based on research conducted with 1,000 self-employed businesswomen, the Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur Report’ shows these women are breaking the Branson mould and hadn’t planned to be self-employed business owners.
In fact, enterprising women are supporting the UK economy by running thriving enterprises, often from home, and appear to be motivated by flexibility and a passion more than the idea of money and power, with most not even connecting with the word ‘entrepreneur’.
“The Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’ Report demonstrates that self-employed women are contributing in multiple ways – to society, their families and, crucially, to the UK economy, with 84% of respondents expecting their business to grow or at least stay the same size over the next three years,” comments Angela Tucker, Avon UK sales director.
For women to attain the flexibility and career progression they crave in the current economic climate, many are opting to start their own business, according to the new report authored by Professor Julie Logan of Cass Business School for Avon UK. The Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’ Report was commissioned by the leading direct selling company to better understand the driving forces that will inspire future Avon Representatives to take up the mantle of business ownership, as Avon sets its sights on recruiting more Representatives in the UK.
“For a long time now the idea of success in enterprise has been synonymous with male personalities. What women want to see is more examples of female entrepreneurs who run successful businesses that fit their lifestyle choices but don’t necessarily have to turn over multi-millions of pounds. Today’s findings show that there are a multitude of women who have enterprises that give them satisfaction and excitement and are profitable without putting them on the rich list,” says Karren Brady.
The Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’ Report – so-called by the report author because it has uncovered a new breed of business innovator – reveals that female entrepreneurs are opting to run their enterprises from home and often require little investment to get up and running.
In response to the report findings, scores of Independent Avon Representatives and leading businesswomen, including Karren Brady and Emma Jones, founder of Startup Britain and Enterprise Nation have pooled their experience to create a checklist of essentials to help guide women who are just starting out:
Avon’s Everyday Entrepreneur Essentials
The idea – know your Unique Selling Point
You don’t have to make millions, invent a new amazing product or employ hundreds of staff to be an entrepreneur – but you do need to have a good idea.
Passion – do something you love
When starting up a business, come up with an idea that you are truly passionate about. This will help you battle through the tough times and keep you enthusiastic.
Research your chosen sector before making the leap
Do your research, make a plan and take tentative steps to get your business off the ground before you leave your current job. This will reduce the element of risk involved, so that you can build your business on solid foundations.
Business Plan – plot your path
A detailed business plan is a vital requirement for any business. It helps you to set out your vision, looking at every area of your proposed business idea, and ensure you have planned the best possible way of executing it. Don’t forget to include sound financials and review the plan every six months or so.
Network – seek advice and support
Develop your own support network of fellow entrepreneurs and advisers to regularly bounce around ideas. Encourage the support of immediate family and friends – you might be able to share your childcare responsibilities with someone else in a similar situation. Visit business forums like www.avonconnects.co.uk or join a business network like www.everywoman.com to build support from within the industry.
Make cashflow a priority
There are business opportunities out there with a low cash barrier to entry. Begin with saving as much capital prior to starting your new venture as possible. The Aspire Fund launched by the Government and matched by private investors, offers funding specifically for female-led businesses. Visit www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk for more info.
Spread the word – use social media
Word of mouth recommendation works in any medium. Use your own social media channels including Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook to raise awareness of your product or service, create a personality for your brand and connect with your target market.
Utilise a simple website to showcase your business
Think carefully about how your customers would search for your product or service online – what questions do they have, what specific words would they use? Write your website with these key terms to drive search results and traffic to your website. Promote on business cards, email signatures and using social media. You can get free website building tools from sites like this one: http://www.webeden.co.uk/
Be Realistic – you won’t earn mega-bucks overnight
Starting off you can sometimes set the bar too high. Remember that running a business will entail working long hours with potentially little money for a while but the results will be worth the sacrifice.
Determination – Believe in yourself and your abilities!
Self-belief is vital. You might be tempted to give up if things get tough but keep going and focus on your abilities. You need to be committed to your business for the first few years in order to reap the benefits later.