Muslim Mompreneur: Before you start your businessWritten by Mahwash Fatima
In the past decade or so, a new generation of entrepreneurs has come into being: the Mompreneurs. Women business owners who balance being mothers and entrepreneurs are on the rise. Commerce and women is not a new idea for Muslims. Khadija (RA), the first woman to accept Islam, was a successful business woman in her own right.
The first in this series of columns will begin by looking at how you start your home-based business.
No matter how small the business may be, the creation of a business plan can mean the difference between success and a failure of new business. It will also help you stay focused and on track.
Your business plan should consist of the following:
Business Description: Describe your product or service in detail, how it will be priced ad how you plan to expand your business. You may have a skill or talent your friends and family have been lauding you for years and an acquaintance or two might have suggested that you turn it into a business.
Sana Syed used to do henna as a hobby. Once her friends and family started encouraging her to do it professionally, Rang De Sana came into being.
Financials: Start small and start somewhere. You cannot start a business without investing your time and money and the key is to allocating that time and money efficiently and wisely. Determine early on how your business will be funded and determine an estimate of how much you would need before you can start reinvesting back into the business. This will also help you realize expectations and you may find that you won't make a profit for at least 2-3 years.
Marketing Plan: The marketing plan is crucial. If your customer is not aware of your product, how do you expect them to buy it? Corporations and mid-sized businesses begin marketing a product months before it is launched. This strategy also works for small businesses. Think about marketing before you start creating products or offering your service. Get your business cards in place, come up with a plan and a budget on where and how to advertise. Define your target market: who will you market to? How will you reach out to them? What will you do to keep them coming back for more: e.g referral programs?
Sobia from Cake Fantasies, made the mistake of investing too much into gathering supplies and too little in marketing her business. Two years later, she realized that had she invested into marketing her business, even within only her own neighbourhood, she would have seen success sooner.
Best Case and Worst Case Scenarios: This may be the most important activity you will do for your business plan, especially for your own morale and focus.
The Best Case Scenario describes what will happen if everything goes according to plan and meets or exceeds expectations. This is what you got excited about in the beginning. People usual make the mistake of only considering the best scenario, and when they hit the first bump in the road, they lose all hope and sometimes even give up on the idea. This is where the worst case scenario will keep you motivated.
The Worst Case Scenario describes what will happen if nothing goes as planned. If you don't sell a penny's worth of product and your business makes no money. It gives you an idea of how much investment you would lose and it might lead you to creating a back-up plan.
Your business will likely end up somewhere between the two extremes, but it is always a good idea to consider both extremes before you begin so you can set realistic expectations.
Where to go if you need help:
Invest Ottawa is a key resource for anyone thinking of starting a business in Ottawa. They offer seminars throughout the area, most of which are free. From creating a business plan, to defining your target market, to legal advice; these information session provide a lot. You will also get the opportunity to ask questions and get them answered on the spot by an expert. Don't be afraid to ask questions and network at the seminars. They are very helpful and offer great insight.
For more information visit:
Invest Ottawa: http://investottawa.ca
Rang De Sana :https://www.facebook.com/Rang.De.Sana
M. Fatima has studied Business Administration in Pakistan and Canada and currently runs her own small business from home in Ottawa while raising her children. Check out Maham's Boutique http://www.mahamsboutique.com/
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