Do you want to start your own business but have no idea how to take the first steps?
The South Carolina Women's Business Center is one of the resources located in Columbia S.C. that aims to educate and train entrepreneurs at all levels. The program is part of the Center for Women, a non-profit organization that wants "to see South Carolina women connected for success."
A panel of three speakers sat down on Monday during the South Carolina Women's Business Center Annual Luncheon to talk about their challenges, turning points, and tips for women in business. The luncheon took place at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
The panel consisted of Tina Herbert, executive director of the Office of Business Opportunities for the City of Columbia, Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, president and CEO of LLE Construction Group, LLC, and Nancy Williamson with the S.C. Small Business Development Center.
Carolina Money brings to you the best advice from this panel of experts!
1. Know Your Business, Know Your Market
"Most people come to us for finance. If you want to open your restaurant and you don't know basic things about it, I will send you to someone else to help you work on your business plan. YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED." - Tina Herbert, Office of Business Opportunities for the City of Columbia.
2. Focus On One Product
"Don't come to me and say, 'I serve everybody!', that's too general." - Nancy Williamson, S.C. Small Business Development Center.
3. Pay Your Bills On Time
Regarding financial help, Tina Herbert said that the Office of Business Opportunities for the City of Columbia not only makes sure that the individual who wants to open his/her business has a solid business plan, but also a financial history that meets basic requirements.
"We check the person's income, history, taxes for the last 3 years (surprisingly there are people who have not filed their taxes!), and credit score (min. 600)."
Nancy Williamson recomended using Quizzle.com to check your credit score and report.
4. Don't Be Afraid Of Being Judged
"I didn't know a lot about entrepreneurship because nobody in my environment was doing it. I knew that I didn't want to work for other people. I felt like I was different, and didn't fit anywhere. Now, I wake up excited everyday!" - Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, LLE Construction Group, LLC.
5. Don't Try To Figure It All Out Yourself
"Maybe you don't know how to do web design, but someone else does. You need a team." - Tina Herbert, Office of Business Opportunities for the City of Columbia.
"Threre are a lot of tools out there. Don't be afraid of looking for help." - Nancy Williamson, S.C. Small Business Development Center.
6. Do The Work
"Focus on your product. Do the work. I don't like helping women who don't want to help themselves." - Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, LLE Construction Group, LLC.
7. Personal Branding Is Important
Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Regarding this topis, Nancy Williamson says, "you need to be aware of how people see you. You ARE your business."
8. Have a Passion Planner
Although we live in a technological era, it's always good to have something on paper in case...you know...something goes wrong. Organization is key!