FIRST THOUGHT: Start Where You Are
If you’ve ever started a business or project, you probably know it doesn’t always go as planned. You may have a 10-step process, but those steps get rearranged or, heck, they might get tossed out altogether.
The rule of creating something new is that there aren’t any rules. Follow the path that makes sense to you. It might not be the stuffy business-school way of doing things, but there isn’t any shame in that. Do you, girlfriend!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 64,000
Grameen America is an organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. The nonprofit financially empowers women living in poverty to create advantageous small businesses. The objective is that, by supporting women, Grameen America can support a community. And by supporting a community, the group is fighting poverty one loan at time.
In 2015, the organization helped more than 64,000 women entrepreneurs through credit, microloans and asset-building services. Grameen America has a running ticker on its website that displays how much money the nonprofit has disbursed since its 2008 founding. It’s at $$426 million and climbing.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Stephanie Burns, Founder of Chic CEO
There’s something so mesmerizing about watching the vibrant-colored numbers rotate on Wheel of Fortune. While Stephanie Burns was pursuing her MBA, she got to spin the wheel with her brother. They ended up scoring $12,000, and she used half her winnings to start Chic CEO, a website that offers women entrepreneurs must-have business resources.
After less than a year, Forbes named Chic CEO one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women, and Inc. named Chic CEO number nine on its list of Best 50 Websites for Entrepreneurs.
What’s brilliant about Burns’ concept is that it gets down to the basics, and what makes the site perfect for business beginners is that the tools are totally free. During business school, Burns had difficulty grasping the simple steps to starting a business. She polled her best girlfriends, who were interested in creating small businesses, and found they also had trouble finding and implementing what few online resources were available.
More than 90,000 users of all ages, from college grads to retirees starting their second careers, use this approachable website. A great example of the company’s tools is the “3-day Chic Start,” which provides female entrepreneurs with three days worth of helpful exercises that include business planning and creating a website.
This leading lady has a couple tricks up her sleeve for starting a business. Number one: Just get started. Simple enough, right? And number two: Participate in power hour. (No, not the college drinking game). Spend an hour each day without any devices. Now, that one might be tough.
Burns thinks the future of business is female. She always knew she wanted to be a leader, so shepherding other women to be leaders themselves seemed like a natural fit. How very chic!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Do you have a business concept brewing but are afraid that it might fail? Take hotelier Conrad Hilton’s advice. He’s the man behind the Hilton dynasty. He said:
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.