More women started business in 2022 than ever before despite the economic challenges. According to the Rose Review, women in the UK started over 150,000 businesses- more than twice as many as in 2018. This is certainly a positive move in the right direction, however, there is still a long way to go in terms of addressing the barriers that exist for women (and in particular primary carers) when it comes to being an entrepreneur or business owner. For example, women-founded businesses received only 1.9% of venture capital money last year according to TechCrunch.
So when thinking about whether to start a business after parental leave, a long time out of the employment market, giving up your corporate job to go all in with your start-up or something else, it’s so important to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance of success- but recognising too that there are so many things outside of your control. And I speak from experience. As someone who had my own tech start-up, as a sole founder and mother of five, there were many things stacked against me that I battled through. I’d successfully raised two rounds of investment and was on the path to a third round of £1.2m when suddenly the world locked down; making this funding impossible to secure. From the very start of my entrepreneurial journey when I was deciding whether to stop my two other jobs to dedicate my life to an idea that I was so passionate about and knew could change the world, I didn’t have a coach. I wish I’d had. Someone like me – a mum with bold ambitions- who had been through the roller coaster and lived to tell the tale!
That’s why I’m committed to supporting women through coaching and mentoring; from the first kernel of an idea through to scaling their already fantastic business. When I reflect back on it all though, there are eight questions I wish I had know to ask myself at the start of my journey:
1- Am I really clear on why I’m starting a business?
2- Am I really clear on what kind of business I want (e.g. one that gives me the flexibility to work around the kids, a global business that I want to sell in 5-10 years)?
3- Am I clear on what ‘success’ looks like for me?
4- Am I clear on how this business will make money?
5- Do I have the right support around me to ensure I’m set up for success?
6- How big is the problem that I am trying to solve/how big is the market I want to serve?
7- How financially ready am I to be a business owner?
8- How emotionally ready am I to be a business owner?
If I had asked myself those questions back at the start in 2017, I might have made some very different decisions. As a minimum it would have given me a structure to go and search out the answers to these questions. I’m hoping it can do so for you.
I’ve created an activity I’ve called ‘Start-up Readiness’ to help you decide whether now is the right time to start a business. Click on the link to download it. Have a go and I’d love for you to get in touch and let me know how helpful it has been for you! I think often as women, when we have an idea that we can’t get out of our heads or spot an opportunity for making the world a better place, we judge ourselves negatively if we don’t follow through with it. If by doing my start-up readiness activity, the conclusion you come to is that now is not the right time, then that is a successful outcome; not failure! And ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘never’…..
Ellie Yell is a Partner Coach with Careering into Motherhood. She is an Occupational Psychologist by background, has been a business owner for 10 years and was in the C-suite of an Ed-tech scale up valued at $1.3bn. If you are looking for a coach to support your business, contact Ellie directly at email@example.com , check out her profile on the CIM platform https://www.careeringintomotherhood.com/coach/ellie-yell/ or connect with her via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellieyell001/
May 1, 2023