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Four tips for women to consider before opening a small business

We salute mothers in May, so it’s also a good time to celebrate and recognize the progress women entrepreneurs have made in Southern Nevada.

The number of women-owned businesses has steadily grown in recent years. In fact, according to SCORE, there are 9.1 million woman-owned small businesses nationwide employing 7.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in annual revenue.

From creating jobs to making capital investments and contributing to the Las Vegas community, women entrepreneurs are an incredible force in today’s economy. As the number of women-owned businesses grows, there are more opportunities for women to succeed in business ventures than ever before.

There are many things to consider before starting a business in Las Vegas. Here are four questions for women to ask themselves before leaping into entrepreneurship:

Do you understand your funding options? — When starting a business, it pays to explore all of your funding options, such as loans and lines of credit. Meet with a business banker who can help determine the best financing options to meet your business goals in the short and long terms. Outside of traditional bank financing, numerous community-based organizations and micro-lenders offer grant funding opportunities designed for women business owners.

Have you set measurable goals? — When establishing goals, business owners should consider both their personal and business objectives, and see where they align. What’s motivating you to open your business? Do you want to grow your business and add staff, or operate as a sole proprietor? Get your ideas down on paper and set realistic, measurable goals in a written business plan. Tools such as Wells Fargo’s Business Plan Center can simplify the process and guide you in developing a streamlined business plan that will take you through each stage of your business.

How will you prioritize work/life balance? — Small business owners wear many hats, and sometimes it can be tough to set boundaries between work and personal time, especially when operating a business out of the home. If working from a home office is the plan, consider establishing dedicated office hours during which you focus exclusively on the business. Try not to let business needs bleed into family time, and commit to “unplugging” during family time. Balancing life and running a small business is no small feat, and there will be a period of adjustment. Establish a schedule that works for you and your family, and do your best to stick with it.

Have you identified your support network? — Having a support system to lean on is a huge asset for any business owner, but it’s especially important when starting out. Make connections and get involved with organizations dedicated to supporting women business owners, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), SCORE or our chambers of commerce in Southern Nevada. From in-person meetings and events, to online tools and resources, these organizations can serve as a great way to share contacts and connect with fellow business owners.

It’s also important to establish a relationship with a banker, lawyer and accountant who can help you keep your business organized and on a growth trajectory.

New business opportunities are created every day as more women embark on the path to entrepreneurship. Answering these four questions will make starting a business in Southern Nevada a smoother, less stressful process and go a long way towards ensuring your business thrives.

Carol Mayorga is the district manager for the Wells Fargo Horizons District in Southern Nevada. For more information about starting a small business, check out www.wellsfargoworks.com.

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