Last year, women launched 1,821 new businesses every day—yet, starting your own company can feel overwhelming. Here, everything you need to know to turn your entrepreneurial hopes into reality.
In startup land, there’s a lot of talk about a business plan—the blueprint for how you’ll build and scale your idea. Structurally, the document is simple. (Really. Google it and you’ll find countless templates to help you organize your mission statement, market analysis, financial projections, and the like.) What happens before putting pen to paper? That’s where the real work begins. Jennifer Hyman, cofounder and CEO of Rent the Runway, outlines the three things to do before defining your company’s future path.
Ask Yourself One Question
Talk to Your Audience
We interviewed thousands of potential customers and dozens of designers to learn what value we could provide to both groups. These interviews became the foundation of our initial business plan. I still lean on those early learnings to evolve the company.
“Separate your business and personal finances. If you’re running your business out of your personal checking account, it’s harder to get a loan and increases your cost of personal borrowing.” —Kathryn Petralia
Hire People Who Complement Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Look for Talent Magnets
After years—and years and years—of strategizing and pivoting and scaling, many founders start to think about what’s next. Some entrepreneurs want to work 80-hour weeks for the rest of their lives (cough, Elon Musk, cough), while others realize that’s not sustainable. Whatever your goal, you have options.
An IPO (or an initial public offering) is when a private company lists itself on a stock exchange—think NASDAQ or NYSE—and allows bankers, funds, and regular consumers to buy and trade pieces of the company, making them official shareholders. Founders who pursue IPOs with tactical skill stay plenty in control and allow their investors to sell their ownership stakes. It’s also a way to get way more funds to support growth goals—especially those expanding internationally—and raise a higher profile. Being listed on any stock exchange usually adds a level of credibility you don’t always get as a private company. One of the reasons Julia Hartz, CEO of Eventbrite, took her company public in 2018 was to raise money to expand the company’s global footprint, and “the discipline and transparency that being public demands keeps us focused on executing on the tremendous opportunity ahead of us, regardless of market cycles.”
As a first-time founder, you’re going to make a ton of mistakes on the road to figuring it all out. Jean Brownhill, whose contractor marketplace, Sweeten, launched in 2011 and has since raised over $9 million, looks back at her early days in entrepreneurship and shares what she wishes she realized earlier.
1: Nail the Basics
2: Fill Out All the Forms
3: Brand Your Baby
4: Get to Know Your Market
5: Write Your Business Plan
6: Figure Out Your Finances
You got this. Seriously. A recent study confirmed that women are better entrepreneurs than men. Startups with a female founder or cofounder made 10 percent more in revenue than companies with a male founder.