FWB – Women-Owned Businesses – SBA Website

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Good afternoon!

Today I thought I’d share something just for the ladies (sorry, gentlemen, you’ll just have to find your own resources!).

This is a FANTASTIC website from the Small Business Administration aimed solely at female business owners or women who are thinking about starting their own businesses.

Check out the website here.  They’ve got plenty of resources and have great direction for wherever you are on your planning/running path.

Ok ok, I concede. . .  I suppose men could use these resources as well. . .

So go!  Go be one with the business learning!

FWB – New Venture Formation Class Notes

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

This spring semester I took my first two courses in my Masters in Entrepreneurship progam at the University of South Florida. One was awesome and eye-opening and the other a hot mes of a confusing online simulation. Guess which one I’ll be sharing my notes on!

While I’m an awesome note-taker I am not an awesome note-organizer. I apologize for any sporadic-ness but please do enjoy my notes and lessons learned. (It’ll be like you pretty much took the course yourself!) (PS – I earned a B!)

First things first, becoming an entrepreneur is a four step process:
1. Learn to see things differently
2. Build or create things – anything!
3. You’re gonna need to fail
4. REPEAT 1-3!!! (see, build, fail. . . again and again!)

My professor stressed the importance of failure and that a lack of failure means a lack of learning. So go, go be one with the failures, my friends! Embrace them! To demonstrate the importance of failing and admitting failure he had us all write ‘failure resumes’ – it was actually really fun.

We did a few creativity-sparking exercises that I thought were pretty neat. One was done in groups – each group coming up with the worst business idea that they could think of. After giving us time to come up with some really awful ideas we then had to switch with another team and then convince everyone who it was a truly GREAT business idea. My group made up shoes for fish then ended up having to convince the class how awesome reusable condoms would be. It got us to think and just spew out ideas, no matter how ridiculous.

Another neat tool was the PPCO method. That’s Pluses, Potentials, Concerns and Overcome. Look it up on the internets!

Something that I had never heard of (having no background in business) was the phrase ‘sellability’. I tend to be a head-in-the-clouds kind of person so this concept brought me back down to earth and made me critically think about what I truly wanted out of my future business. The professor explained that unless the business that you produce is sellable you will be stuck with it forever. Which if that’s ok with you then cool, you’re right on track! However, if you dream of one day retiring you need to think about how viable your business will be in order to gain an investors attention. He gave us 8 factors of sellability but I won’t cover those here – that’s what Google’s for!

Something I had never thought of before – if you want a brick and mortar business you should be buying the property, not renting, so that it becomes an asset. Instead of thinking about revenue, he explained that you should be focused on what assets you’ll be left with.

We also covered networking and how connecting people is super beneficial for you because then both parties, should they gain something from knowing each other, now owe you in a way. Pretty neat.

We had an entire class dedicated to learning about the different types of investors. This was something I had never even thought about as I figured I would be on my own (which as it turns out, you usually are).

So those were the highlights of my notes. Taking the course was very eye-opening. The professor was very blunt and although he was positive he was very realistic as well. It was a lot of food for thought. The exercises we did in class and as homework were fun and sometimes challenging which was a surprise – I had thought my courses would be dry and boring. Nope!

Hope you learned something new!

FWB – The Fear of Failure

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

And yet again. . . I have gone off the grid. . .

But I’m back! And this time with a really important realization. No seriously, REALLY important!

I have come to terms with the fact that I am afraid of failure. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step so I think this is a pretty big deal.

It’s not that I haven’t failed before, oh trust me, I have, I think it’s that once I go awhile without failing I get this crippling feeling that it’s right around the corner waiting to attack. That turns into a long hibernation of creativity and any sort of ambition. It seems silly and it certainly isn’t productive but I haven’t been able to place my finger on the cause of that cycle until now. Now that I’ve acknowledged the fear of failure I feel I can identify start the process of overcoming it.

I know that in the entrepreneurial world failure is actually seen as a good thing (it means you’re actually trying) but that doesn’t make the threat of it any easier to face. I’ve been so hesitant to put both feet in that I’ve been cowering on the sidelines merely reading about OTHER people’s success. So silly!

But now it’s time to take things one to-do list item at a time. I love me some to-do lists! And calendars! So I’m turning that love of nerdy organization and planning and making it work for me. If I chart out my goals and turn them into doable action items I can reach my goals one step at a time. That’s not so scary now, is it?

Step one of getting back onto the productive kick is writing that post about what I learned in my New Venture Formation course. . . expect to see it soon!