Kamal Anandani is the Co-Founder of Saral. Saral is an initiative that empowers women in small cities who have great potential and zeal to build businesses but lack the resources to do so. Seeing the plight of women in India, Kamal and co-founder Amitesh Sahu came up with the idea of creating an ecosystem where homepreneurs can get succor selling their produce in local markets. Saral has facilitated Gross Merchandise Value of 25 lakhs till date by helping women entrepreneurs in marketing, logistics, and sales. Saral is currently present in 4 cities, Indore, Nagpur, Raipur, and Bhilai.
One has to consider various aspects before actually diving into any business. The decision of being an entrepreneur, especially when you’re a woman, is a leap of faith that not many people are willing to take. There frequently seems to be a thousand things to work on at once. New small business owners cannot escape this reality, but with enough preparation, it is possible to control expectations and take deliberate steps towards your goal. Launching a business at home can be stressful but it also offers benefits of cost-saving, idea-testing, work-life balance etc. An idea that you truly believe in is not enough, looking into the practical parts of the business like finances, competition analysis, markets to operate in are vital too. Women wanting to start a business usually do not receive much support because they have been considered as home-makers in India, since time immemorial. However the scenario is changing with time but there is still much room for improvement in this regard.
It is inevitable that both men and women have different approaches with their business ideas and plans of expansion since everyone comes from a different background and brings varied expertise to the table. However, The innovative ideas that move businesses forward can be fostered only by challenging one another and working with individuals who have different perspectives. If a woman is planning to start a business from home, she might be looked upon as too ambitious but the truth is they possess a very important skill-set and help the company’s growth better. With the ability to set their own work-hours and pay their own way, today’s women are empowered to better balance their personal and professional lives. Women may close the income gap and advance to leadership roles through entrepreneurship on their own terms. Running their own business also gives women the chance to work with and recruit other driven, like-minded women, helping to develop a new generation of women in leadership positions. From financial planning to legal formalities, there are various things that a woman has to take into consideration for the same, following are a few things to keep in mind while starting a business from home:
- Having a business plan
The success of the start-up mainly depends on the planning that is done before-hand and execution of such robust planning in day to day business activities. Mostly loopholes that could obstruct business growth later can be tackled at this stage. This starts with having a clear idea of what you will sell, who will sell to and how you’re going to do it, even a study on the competitors that are already present in the market and what tactics are they applying for their growth.
Most women are not educated enough to understand these concepts, but with constant efforts the business concept will be improved as a result of the planning and thinking it through. Women, with little guidance, are also able to plan how to join the market successfully and timely without wasting money on costly trial and error. This plan gives you a clear idea of the talents you can outsource in order to succeed in your target market. Don’t be afraid to abandon your project, create a new home-based business endeavour, and restart if your business plan reveals that it isn’t possible. You might think that your idea for a home company is unique. But until you conduct some market research, you won’t be able to tell if the market is saturated. You can use market research to help you establish a differentiating feature for your good or service that will give you an edge over competitors.
- Financial Aid
The research that we discussed before, also includes a thorough analysis of who might be interested in your business as investors and other stakeholders. When launching new businesses, women company owners confront particular difficulties. Even though equality is expected, some female entrepreneurs still encounter a glass ceiling when trying to secure finance, especially for a start-up. Women are not looked up to as people who can take financial responsibility and make sound decisions in favour of the business. To find the money they require and effectively launch their firms, women entrepreneurs have access to a variety of resources. The idea behind microloans and microcredit is to finance small businesses operated by the less-privileged and which provides individuals, families and communities with a means to become self-sufficient. There can be personal loans, self-Capital investment, government grants etc. most women are unaware of the available options for financing their business and hence lose track. The earlier research helps in pitching their business better.
- Legal Formalities
A certain amount of risk will always be associated with starting a new firm. Prior to beginning work on your organisation, it is crucial to calculate, comprehend, and plan for risk. To do this, evaluate the risks associated with your industry before developing a business plan and associated legal formalities. Most small businesses lack legal registrations even when they are earning a good amount, just to avoid major paperwork and heavy taxation. Various trademark and patent services are available without going round in circles. The legal entity name, business bank account, registered licences, insurance facilities, invoice generation are essential to avoid any back-lash whatsoever. Many private and government entities are present in the market that actually help women entrepreneurs with such processes.
- Building a strong Network
Most women lead businesses started from home are supported by the network they build by word-of-mouth throughout the society they cater to. Believe it or not, women are great network builders and have more convincing powers as compared to men. Networking has the power to make or break your business, especially when started from home which does not have much capital to invest in outgoing advertisements and marketing. Women are known to make maximum use of the available resources, their empathy attracts customers more. Not only this, women led businesses are usually the talk of the town, empowering more and more women to work towards their goal.
One smart way to stay up to date on current business concerns is to join industry associations that organise conferences and meetings. For a home-based business owner, it’s critical to stay connected and informed about the newest innovations and tools of the trade.
- Timely Business Assessment
A business assessment is an organised, methodical analysis and reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs) that may clearly express your existing reality, prospects, and the gaps between them. Just starting a business without being up-to-date of the market trends will really keep you hanging. There is a constant need for amateurs to be under the guidance of some role-model, while most women entrepreneurs do not enjoy this – Businesses can set short term goals and try achieving them step by step. Small steady growth in business and loopholes can be easily detected if assessment is done in short intervals. The effect of various business decisions shows if the business is moving forward or is stagnant or at worst, moving backwards.
Today many home businesses are seeing a huge surge and are currently fiercely challenging office-based businesses, by making smarter and well-informed decisions.