This year, much more, I noticed that there are many women are talking to me about their plans, goals and dreams that they have put on hold, gotten stuck or have no money to continue and it is primarily sole proprietors who are woman of color. When I ask really personal questions about the pause, the overall response has been clear, not having the finances and being unable make money.
One thing I have learned as someone who started a business with a partner, it really takes 2-3 people to effectively run a sustainable business. The sole proprietor role is over rated because it is usually one person doing everything. And for a business, doing the lone soldier path exhausts a person in about three years time.
Finances go even further with two people investing both in time and money than one person. I have lasted more than12 years that way so when I have had to redefine or change some things in the business like recoving from a fire, adding more merchandise and adding more locations, it has taken two of us to do it.
Today, I begin yet again to nlog about a plan for Cooperative Economics as a goal for some of these sole entrepreneurs and I am advocating that some of the women who keep talking to me explore creating informal partnerships that may help shift things in their processes and businesses.
SPACE SHARING MODELS
Sjaring Economies ate vital in the making sector. For instance, 3 knitters who are sole proprietors band together to share space, buy merchandise and do events together can get further with their businesses. I remember saying this years ago as it will save costs. Today, it is even more an imperative in order to prosper in business.
How will work? First, explore a space or studio to work and rent it as a shared space, thus each person pays just 1/3 the costs. Even bolder, if one person has an extra room, convert it to a workspace for all three people use and create a share cost price based on the one room not the whole apartment – percentage cost of the apartment, thus money is recycled in the share not outside. This concept is harder to achieve but it is the one that will save the trio the most cost.
SPENDING MONEY TO MAKE MONEY SHOULD BE SPENDING MONEY WHEN YOU MAKE MONEY
After you have set up your business, the one rule that most people I have noticed do not understand is simple: you are in business to make money. It’s like this concept is a crime to most women. It astonishes me because I was taught that business is about money making, not just about passion, talent and ownership.
The next concept that keeps escaping most people is that you should spend money after you have made it from the business and not spend if the business is not making money. For example, a jewelry maker who has bought all her tools and equipment for at least 100 pieces costing $500, so a profit of about $4500 minus time to produce each piece.
The first part of the batch goes ahead to make jewelry of 30 necklace sets for sale at $50; then, thevmaker pays $200 as a vendor for a market and sells 10 sets – $500 worth, an assumed profit of $300.
What I see usually is this maker goes ahead and uses the $300 to buy more jewelry parts. Why? The maker still has parts left to make more pieces.
This maker should bank the funds for use for another market and save a portion instead of buying more jewelry parts after all she still has 20 unsold sets left and another 70 to assemble.
MARKETING IS NOT OPTIONAL BUT STRATEGIC
So often, I see people begin and only market either online or offline. Marketing is about both. I often give out flyers and postcards at markets that I am not doing or in laundry mats and places where people gather or sit to wait. I am on the daily social media grind plus I do conservatively do ads when certain events happen.
Each place I target to market is part of a holistic strategy to gaining more customers, introducing my company to new people, thus awareness, and expanding my reach. I work with what produces results for a return on value. I generally do no follow the herd and actually buck the trend to explore new ways and things happening.
And finally, doing marketing alone is essentially working harder. Collaboration in marketing would make the costs less. Why do you try it this fall?