You, Inc. -- Getting Your Business Started

So you want to be rich? Of course it's not easy, but if you're a woman and your goal is to fill your pockets with greenbacks, experts say that entrepreneurship is the way to go and you can get started for just $5,000.

According to the Women's Financial Network, women in this country start businesses at two times the rate of men and 6 percent of them have revenues of $1 million or more.

But even as women start businesses at a faster rate than men, they find it harder at the outset to grow their businesses and to access venture capital.

Here are some tips for women looking to indulge their entrepreneurial spirit but lacking the deep pockets they think they need to make it happen.

A Lot of Capital Not Needed

Even though some of the fastest-growing categories of women-owned businesses are non-traditional -- like construction, trade, transportation and manufacturing -- there are dozens of entrepreneurial options that don't require massive amounts of capital and can easily get started for as little as $5,000.

Know Your Strengths

Focus on your strengths, interests and passions when deciding the kind of product or service you'd like to launch.

Here are some options that tend to be particularly appealing to women:

Health and wellness: yoga/pilates, nutrition counseling

Pet care: grooming, day care, accessories

Culinary arts: baking (for individuals or restaurants), catering

Creative arts: paper products (stationery, invitations); jewelry/clothing design, painting kids rooms

Services: graphic design, event/party planning, PR/marketing

What Makes You Different?

You need to answer the simple question "why should someone buy from me?" Give some thought to what will make your business stand apart from your competitor regardless of what you're doing.

You need either a unique product, a unique service or a unique way of delivering your service that is better than the next guy. Your sales pitch has to be clearly conveyed in one line or less. For example: "We understand the small business owners' printing needs better than anyone else" or "We make the best hot dogs this side of the Mississippi."

Find a Gimmick

Your success is determined by how thoroughly and how quickly you let people know that your new business exists. The idea is to get the word out as quickly and creatively as possible to the greatest number of people.

Learn how to broadcast your business through announcements, postcards, fliers, personal introductions, phone calls -- lots of them -- and most importantly to do it fast.

Anticipate Obstacles and Stay Motivated

Most people think about the things that will go right, but you have to be prepared for what won't. Make a list of what could go wrong and come up with a plan for how to deal with it.

Money can run low, prospective clients and customers can say "no," friends and family can be naysayers, but your motivation and belief in yourself and your idea has to remain strong.

You can learn skills, but you can't learn passion and you'll need it to make your business work.

Money is Not Everything

Although the "big guy" always has the corner on spending, it's the "little guy" who always has the corner on creativity.

The new entrepreneur might not have enough money for advertising but anyone can afford to create a statistical report on their product, or conduct a one-hour survey and send the results out to their local paper. They can do it overnight and it will result in free press coverage -- much more powerful than advertising.

Meanwhile, your big competitor is still discussing the idea in a meeting, running it by a committee and sending it to attorneys for review.

It's easy for small-business owners to personalize their brand. They can dress as a hot dog, wrap themselves in cotton candy, and stand in the local parking lot handing out free samples.

Personalization is the easiest way to get yourself noticed and stand apart from the pack.

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