In today’s economy, starting a business can seem quite risky. Though the women business owners I have featured in recent posts all state that business seems to be turning around some for the better, the economy will still take some time to rebound.
Consumers are holding back when it comes to spending. In April, retail sales fell .5% from the previous month; we are making decisions only after giving a new purchase a lot of thought – as, I feel, it should be.
Yet ask many business people about starting a company right now and many will tell you this: It’s a good time to do it.
Real estate is priced low and readily available. You can get into a brick and mortar shop for less than you could a few years ago and you may be able to negotiate even better prices since buildings are setting empty and unoccupied.
Amy Nichols of Dogtopia recently explained that those who have bought into her franchise opportunities were at times able to find great deals with real estate. “Some of the stores have had wiggle room with leases,” she says. Others may find cheaper rents with great perks thrown in, such as allowances for new paint or furniture, that may not have been available before.
One way to break into business is to do so with a partner. I have been working on a new project lately; the idea came to me after a variety of talks with various people and I called a woman I have been friends with for a few years. She also has an entreprenuerial spirit and we regularly bounce business ideas off of one another.
In the course of our conversation she explained that she was opening a brick and mortar shop much like what I had in mind to do online – and a new business idea blossomed between us. Together we have been creating a company, and I will be blogging about this for the next several months as we grow our idea from seed to bloom.
Pamela S. Harper, founder and president of Business Advancement Inc., has spent the past 20 years consulting companies that are experiencing growth and going through changes. Says Harper, “Just as with marriages, business partnerships can have the same potential ups and downs.”
Partnerships can work well for both parties. They:
- Enable business owners to go in with smaller amounts of cash, since two or more parties are venturing into the company at once
- Allow the partners to utilize the skills that are unique to each person involved – for instance, one may be stronger in marketing than the other, while the other may be stronger in personal relations than the first
- Encourage the sharing of ideas, which often results in a strong business idea from the get go
- Diversify the work that one person has to do – each partner is given a list of ‘tasks’ so that not one person is stuck doing everything that opening a new business requires
Of course, there are definite downs to partnering as well, which I’ll discuss in my next post.