Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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DW Life According to the SBA, young companies make heavy use of the external debt market, receiving about three-quarters of their funds from banks through loans, credit cards, and lines of credit. For women business owners, the picture is a little diferent. Unlike male owners, they tend to start businesses without seeking fnancing, according to the SBA. Women-owned businesses are roughly only half as likely as male-owned businesses—5.5 percent for women versus 10.7 percent for men—to obtain business loans from banks. Te SBA points out that this puts women-owned businesses at a disadvantage "because a business's relationship with a bank at the outset not only provides funds, but often provides business advice and future goodwill." Donaldson, who put in at least $50,000 of her own money when she frst started out, says she wishes she would have used other people's money up front instead of her own. "I wish I would have known that I could have gotten a line of credit," she says. "I wish I would have known about organizations like the SBA, and community organizations that give out loans." One thing Donaldson doesn't regret is keeping her full-time job while starting her own business. She notes that without her job, she wouldn't have even been able to obtain the fnancing she eventually received through her bank, let alone cover all her personal expenses as well as keep her health insurance. "Some people quit when they just have an idea," she says. "Don't quit for an idea—quit when you have a product." Cantando points out that, short of being independently wealthy or having a partner who can provide fnancial support, many women must hang on to their full-time jobs while starting their business as a means of survival. "Ideally, if you can quit your job and devote yourself to this, that's wonderful," she says. But more realistically, "you maybe want to give yourself a time frame—six months—while keeping your full-time job, working weekends and evenings. And if you hit your goal, then quit." di ve rs i tywoman. com Donaldson's time frame was much longer than that. It took two years from when she frst conceived of her business idea to when someone was willing to pay for her product. And even though TGIN started turning a proft last year, she is still not ready to give up her day job because it provides her with a much-needed safety net. Te trick, of course, of keeping your full-time job is balancing it with the demands of a start-up. It is crucial that one not disrupt the other. Jaime Campbell, who with her husband started an accounting and technical services consultancy called Tier One Services, was careful not to let her business Small Business Resources Several resources can help aspiring entrepreneurs come up with a business plan, in addition to providing them with counseling and training. Women's Business Centers, a national network of more than 100 educational centers run by the SBA that help women start and grow their businesses. www.sba.gov/content/women'sbusiness-centers Small Business Development Centers—also run by the SBA, with 950 locations mainly on university campuses—offer one-on-one counseling for more established businesses, teaching them how to take their company to the next level. www.asbdc-us.org SCORE Foundation, funded in part by the SBA, comprises 12,000 current and retired executives, business owners, and managers who volunteer their time to mentor entrepreneurs who are trying to break into the business. www.scorefoundation.org > interfere with the work she did for her employer, an accounting frm. Her employer had explicitly laid out in its handbook that employees could not conduct any business on the side that competed with the services ofered by the frm. Campbell made sure not to violate that rule, telling her boss up front about the business she was starting and restricting the type of work she did at Tier One, at least initially, to avoid any overlap. She limited herself to advising her husband strategically in August of 2011 by keeping the books and records for the business while he handled technical services for their clients. Ten in the spring of 2012, she began to ofer personal fnancial coaching services, again making sure not to overlap with her employer's services. Campbell says she would schedule the coaching sessions by appointment only, often on evenings and weekends. In the event that her services would confict with her employer's, she redirected her clients to her employer and ended up becoming a referral source. Finally, in the spring of this year, Campbell decided to quit her job and fully transition over to her business. Following the birth of their baby in March, she and her husband moved to South Carolina from New Jersey, where they now run Tier One Services out of their home. Te transition has been liberating for 37-year-old Campbell. Now instead of restraining herself so that she doesn't violate her employer's policies, she is putting herself out there, promoting her business on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Tere is even a noticeable change in the tone of her voice when she talks about Tier One. It is less guarded and instead brims with enthusiasm. "All the things I did previously in the name of my [employer], I'm doing for my company," she says excitedly. "Now any business idea I can think of, I can do." DW Pia Sarkar has worked for publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle and TeStreet.com. She is currently an editor at Te American Lawyer. Fa ll 2 0 1 3 DI V E RSI T Y W O MAN 55

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