I´ve been reading the book The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart by Maxine Clark & Amy Joyner. Maxine is the founder and CEO of Build-A-Bear. If you are a mother, you are probably quite familiar with this store.
I´m always interested in learning how women have succeeded in opening and running businesses, and this book offers great insight into the art of doing just this.
In 1997, Maxine opened her first store in a St Louis, Missouri mall, and that initial year her sales were 1.7 million. Now the company is publicly traded, has over 200 locations and, by the end of 2005, topped annual sales of more than 350 million.
Maxine offers great advice for women that are considering opening their own business. First, believe that you can do it. She says that not keeping your dreams big enough is one of the largest mistakes that new business owners make. Sometimes you may worry that you are dreaming too big, but in reality, you want to keep your goals high so that you have a place to reach to as you work.
Also, she states that you have to do what you love, which I´ve talked about in a previous blog. (http://www.allbusiness.com/blog/WorkingMothers/11535/004926.html). It certainly makes sense. If you are opening a business because of the financial prospects, but it is a business that you are not interested in, you´re going to find all of the long hours and the lack of pay quite tedious after a short period of time. However, if you are opening a business because you love the idea and you enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to stick with it through the bad times.
Maxine also says that you need to make sure you are financially secure. I´ll be adding an additional post with some tips on keeping your business above water financially in a few days. For now, keep in mind that most businesses fail because the business was undercapitalized in the beginning. If you are looking into a business venture, make sure that you have the funds needed to back it up.