For this street vendor, even a flood in Bangkok provides an opportunity for business: She sells rubber boots.
This article is part of the eJournal USA issue “Enterprising Women, Thriving Societies.”
1. Find your passion. If you love making hand-knit gloves, then continue to do just that and build a business around it, because passion matters when the going gets tough or you get tired.
2. Test your offering with family and friends for initial reactions. If they love it, you’re onto something! Oftentimes, a business idea is sparked by a remark someone makes: “This is delicious! Where can I get more?” or “That’s fantastic! Where can I buy one?”
3. Enlist the help of your government. Look into programs, seminars or workshops tailored to entrepreneurs and new business owners. Ask to speak with representatives who have experience running and growing a business. Check whether advanced countries’ development agencies, corporations or nongovernmental groups offer training or other forms of support.
4. To set up a formal business entity, seek the assistance of local support organizations that specialize in business startups or of business-savvy friends or acquaintances. For example, ask your business contacts if they would recommend their own accountant or attorney who typically handles this type of service for a fee. Inquire
with a manager at a local bank. He or she might be able to suggest a specialist targeted to your circumstances and challenges.
5. Identify local or online funding sources. Leave no stone unturned in your search for seed money. For example, try Kickstarter.com. IndieGoGo.com. Peerbackers.com and RocketHub.com. Each of these Web services provides platforms for entrepreneurs to get funding from various contributors.
6. Locate a customer beyond family and friends. Sometimes, it takes only one or two good customers to get started. Ask them to spread the good word about your business.
7. Determine how to get the product or service offering to your customers. How will you deliver it? Once you decide, do a trial run. If it works, keep shipping!
8. Make arrangements to get paid. Will you accept payment in your local currency? A check made payable to you or your business? Or, have you considered bartering — receiving something you need in exchange for what you are offering?
9. Toot your own horn loud and clear. Contact the media, bloggers and governmental folks who work with entrepreneurs to share your success story. Everyone loves progress.
— Laurel Delaney
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)