Entrepreneurship is great for so many reasons. From having more flexible work hours to being your own boss and everything in between, it's no wonder more and more people are starting their own businesses, especially women.
But running a business, no matter how big or how small, is no easy feat. Laura Miller, president of Ink from Chase, shared her tips for female entrepreneurs.
Want to make sure your business is successful? Follow these five important steps.
1. Get social … media, that is. There's no doubt that social media presence is important to a business's marketing strategy.
"Whether it's Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, social media has proven to be a good conduit to business results, including sales leads, third-party endorsements and purchases," Miller said.
And if you're not familiar with social media, Miller suggested you take online courses to understand how to use such platforms to build up your business.
"Quite simply, social media must be viewed as a forum for interacting with customers and conducting day-to-day business," she added.
2. Use your networks. Being a small business owner is stressful, so use your network to form a reliable support system. Miller said it helps to have a peer or mentor who understands what you're going through and can help you navigate any potential problems you may face.
"Joining industry groups is a good way to create a personal network of support," she said. "Professionals within these groups can provide a great sounding board for new ideas, frustrations and genuine dilemmas."
Don't have the free time to network in person? Miller suggested turning to online communities instead.
3. Learn to delegate. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to take on all of the responsibilities required to run your business — though it's not easy to manage them all.
"As a small business owner, it's important to flex to the demands of your work," Miller said. "That said, it's equally as important to learn how to get your work to flex to you because it helps create balance."
To do this, Miller advised small business owners to delegate work to their employees. But before you can do that, it's important to hire trustworthy employees and train them well.
"This will help lighten your load and offset some of the work and concerns that keep you up at night — literally," she said. Miller also noted that giving your employees more important responsibilities will make them feel more like a part of the business.
4. Let your home life inspire you. Many women entrepreneurs have the responsibility of taking care of their homes and their kids, too, but instead of letting it stress them out, Miller suggested women take inspiration from their home responsibilities.
"Regardless of whether they own a business, many women already hold the title of CEO … of the household," she said. "Managing the needs of a household, including children, spouse, multiple schedules, school obligations, extracurricular activities, etc., is definitely akin to running a small business."
"By translating what may already come natural to you in running your home into the workplace, you can create a seamless transition as you try to balance it all," Miller added.
5. Never stop searching. Don't just use your existing network and resources — always stay on the prowl for new business leads. For small businesses, Miller noted, this is especially important as the stakes are higher.
"Knowing where to look for leads can make all the difference," she said. "Industry groups are a great first stop, but only if you're thinking of them beyond sources of support and camaraderie."
And these groups can do more than just help you find leads.
"[They] can also be a valuable resource for business development — whether you're keeping in touch with audiences that care most about your business, scouting potential talent or sharing knowledge you've gained in your area of expertise," Miller said.
In the end, she noted, it's all about meeting people who will help you win new business or find prospective clients.