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Business Opportunities for Young Women

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SBA's Online Business Chat

A live Q&A session with small business experts. Submit your question before or during the chat discussion. You cannot submit question after Closing Remarks for the chat. No registration is needed for the web chat.

Expert: Ana Harvey
Business Opportunities for Young Women

Ana Harvey

Assistant Administrator, SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Thursday, October 25, 2012 6:00 PM

As the U.S. Small Business Administration’s assistant administrator for women’s business ownership, Ana Harvey is the director of the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Harvey oversees the agency’s efforts to promote the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and multiple business and networking opportunities.

She manages a nationwide network of women's business centers that provide training and counseling to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in nearly every state and two U.S. territories. Her office also works with representatives in every SBA district office to oversee operations of the women’s business centers and to coordinate services for women entrepreneurs.

Before joining SBA, Harvey grew her company from a single English-to-Spanish translation agency into a full-service multilingual communications firm with 75 employees handling communications and translations in 25 languages. She was previously named president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a post she held until President Obama appointed her to lead the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Harvey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.

Are you a young woman with tons of fresh ideas for a small business, but without a clue on how to get started? Find out how one woman started her own company when she was young, and how the SBA can help you find the capital, mentoring and support needed to establish your own successful business.

Please post your question below:

Note: There is not an audio format for the online chat, and no broadcast capability. SBA moderators retain editorial control over the online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for chat participants and hosts.

Chat Transcript

From:
Patrice
Location:
Cincinnati, OH
 

Welcome to SBA’s web chat of a series this month focused on Business Opportunities for Young Women. I look forward to answering your questions and sharing SBA’s resources that should be helpful to you in starting and growing your business. I encourage you to participate in SBA’s online communities and submit your suggestions; SBA is constantly looking for ways to improve access to entrepreneurial tools and education.  Ana Harvey & Meredith Olafson

 
From:
Patrice
Location:
Cincinnati, OH
 
Question:
I will not be able to attend this online chat. Is there a way I can view it at a later time? Thank you
Reply:
Hi, Patrice. The chat log will remain posted online after today’s session at the same web address as the chat itself.
 
From:
Jessica =
Location:
Tallahassee, Florida
 
Question:
Does anyone have alot of insight on starting a business completly based online and selling no products. I have the idea of growing a forum, thus all of my money would eventually come from ads and hopefully attract investors in the near future...
Reply:
This is a great question, Jessica. To get started, here is what you need to know when starting and managing an online business: http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-online-business.
 
From:
angela stader
Location:
floyds knobs, indiana
 
Question:
I'm interested in starting a business.I was wondering about grants for women.TKS
Reply:
Thanks for your question, Angela. SBA does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business even if you are a woman. However, SBA does offers microloans for startups. Here is more information: http://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program.
 
From:
Lilly Bogner
Location:
los angeles, California
 
Question:
I am 22 years of age and began my online retail business selling safety product for all kind of vehicles .the start is promising and need to know how to apply for SBA loan ,register my business under women owned and have government contracts as well. Thanks
Reply:
Congratulations, Lilly. In terms of loans, it depends on the loan size and what you are seeking. If you are looking for a line of credit for working capital purposes, depending on the dollar size, a business credit card can be a good tool. http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-cents/.... For information on microloans, go to http://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-programFor information about the SBA’s government contracting programs like the Women Owned Small Business Program, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
 
From:
Solidad
Location:
Houston, Texas
 
Question:
I would like to buy a daycare that is already up and running,but don't know how to go about it. Can you help give me some understanding.Thanks Solidad
Reply:
Many entrepreneurs start out wondering where to begin. There is a lot of information out there and it can be difficult to just jump in and get started. I definitely recommend taking some courses. You can start out by taking our online training courses at www.sba.gov/training. We’d suggest getting input and advice from one of SBA's business counselors. Find a local SBA counselor near you at www.sba.gov/direct.
 
From:
Dolores Thompson
Location:
Auburn, NY
 
Question:
Hi, I have recently started my own retail business. I started in July 2012 and I was selling dresses in my driveway. I now have a store the size of a small dining room. I seemed to have made more money in my driveway but I'm in NY and thats not very realistic as we are in October. I have no flock of customers by any means and I am scared. How can I get people in my store? I'm on a flyer only budget how can I maximize exposure. I was thinking a party and by appointment ideas but I just don't know what I should do next.
Reply:
Thanks for your question, Dolores. Marketing any type of business takes time, money, and lots of preparation. You can find tips on creating your marketing plan at http://www.sba.gov/content/developing-marketing-plan. Here’s an SBA blog that will be useful to you: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matter...
 
From:
Nena
Location:
Pasadena, Maryland
 
Question:
I have a small real estate investment LLC. I need a small loan or line of credit to purchase a rental property. I was told that my company was too young and I needed to have done business for at least one year.1. How do I establish credit before I have started doing business? 2. Is there any program that encourages women like me to get started on a mini loan while building up business record and repertoire.
Reply:
Great question, Nena. I would look into SBA’s microloan program. You can read more about it here: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/could-you-finance-your-start-with-mic.... The counseling that you will receive along with the microloan funding will help you to get started on a solid footing.
 
From:
Mel mouat
Location:
Brisbane, Qld
 
Question:
Hi, would love the top 5-10 best tips for getting into Business for the first time. I want to start a online women's business - selling clothing and jewelley. Have the suppliers already. Thanka Mel
Reply:
Mel, SBA has a variety of resources available to you. To get started, I recommend that you visit http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-online-business for tips on managing an online business. I would recommend that you also take a look at SBA’s 10 steps to starting a business at SBA.gov: http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-10-steps-starting-business.
 
From:
Eki Ighile
Location:
Burtonsville, Maryland
 
Question:
I recently registered my Accounting and Management consulting business, However I have not been able to secure a contract. How do I earn contracts with the government and private clients? Regards, Eki
Reply:
Doing business with the government requires a new set of skills. You can start by going to http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/contracting to find what you need to get started and to secure contracts with the government. For the private sector, please visit www.wbenc.org or www.nawbo.org
 
From:
Janie Dunn
Location:
Chester, OK
 
Question:
I am interested in Homesteading, but also need to make money to get by. I have run a small farmers market for two years, have a small flock of chickens, capable of making websites, fixing computers, marketing. Looking to put it all together in a business plan I can follow and maintain. Would like to hire others, grow the vegetable production side.
Reply:
Janie, the first step for you is to assess your situation and formulate a plan. Here is what you need to know when starting a home-based business of any kind: http://www.sba.gov/content/home-based-business. I would also recommend that you visit www.sba.gov/training and take one of our online training courses on writing a business plan, marketing your business and other topics.
 
From:
Kendra Brooks Turner
Location:
Greensboro, NC
 
Question:
We started an online business in April of this year for my daughter who is 13 years old. Please provide insight as to how to grow her online business which caters more to a particular group of people. As well as how to obtain or request capital for a start up business. Thank you
Reply:
Congratulations, Kendra, on having such an entrepreneurial daughter! To get started, I would recommend that she visit http://www.sba.gov/content/young-entrepreneurs. As you guide her, you can also go to http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-online-business for tips on managing an online business. In terms of capital for a startup business, a smaller loan option can be a good opportunity. I would look into SBA’s microloan program. You can read more about it here: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/could-you-finance-your-start-with-mic...
 
From:
Lyndsey
Location:
Hoover, AL
 
Question:
I want to grow my counseling practice into a health & wellness practice because of my increasing knowledge and training, but I don't know how to market and convince to invest in their health. How do you become a consultant/educator on your own but also find resources to make it financially possible? I know lots of people some with and some without the means but lots of desire, but I'm not sure how to create a program/plan that works.
Reply:
What a great opportunity to combine your passion with a business. I definitely recommend taking some courses. You can start out by taking our online training courses at www.sba.gov/training. You can also find tips on creating a marketing plan at http://www.sba.gov/content/developing-marketing-plan. Once you figure out the areas that you need help with, you can visit one of SBA's business counselors. Find a local counselor at www.sba.gov/direct.
 
From:
M. Faulk
Location:
Oak Park, Michigan
 
Question:
I've started a girls mentoring program. How do I get connected with resources for the expansion of my program? Ie., Marketing and funding
Reply:
I would recommend that you try to connect with our Women’s Business Center in Michigan which offers counseling and mentoring to aspiring women entrepreneurs. I’m sure that this would expand the resources that you need to grow your program.
 
From:
Yayleene
Location:
Clearwater, Florida
 
Question:
How can i stared my own business when i have no big credit experience cause i'm young ?
Reply:
Yayleene, thank you for your question. It’s great that you are thinking about how to build your credit while you are young. SBA has online tools that you may find helpful. To get started, I would visit http://www.sba.gov/content/young-entrepreneurs. I would also encourage you to visit www.mindyourownbiz.org to learn more about financial literacy for young entrepreneurs.
 
From:
Renee Gonzalez
Location:
New Orleans, LA
 
Question:
Is it possible for an aspiring small business woman in the startup phase to receive assistance financially despite horrible personal credit? I already have my EIN number, but am always forced to use my social security number to apply for a small amount of credit.
Reply:
The first priority is rebuilding your personal credit. There is not a quick fix, and it will take time. Here are some tips on the do’s and do not’s of building your credit. http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/guest-blogs/industry-word/building-pe... . Lenders do consider your credit, but please keep in mind there are several other factors the bank will consider while applying for a loan, such as capacity, capital, character and repayment ability. SBA has business counselors around the country who can help you prepare your loan application and work with on potential options. A list of counselors can be found at www.sba.gov/direct.
 
From:
Shutonda Orr
Location:
Silver Creek, Ga
 
Question:
I've been a company Truck driver for 9 yrs. My goal for my 10th yr is to be an Owner/Operator of my own trucking company. I would like to know what I need to do to get my business started.
Reply:
Shutonda, you have a tremendous advantage since you have deep knowledge of the industry you’d like to get into. I would check out 10 steps to starting a business at SBA.gov: http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-10-steps-starting-business. And if you are getting ready to write a business plan you should take our online course on writing a business plan: http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-business#. It is a great place to start.
 
From:
Sharmegan Kearson
Location:
Albany, GA
 
Question:
I want to start off by saying thank you for taking the time to be apart of something I feel in my heart is soo great, the fact you are reaching out and helping young business minded women like myself I truly appreciate!!!! I have been wanted to open my own business for sometime I am a master cosmetologist and I want to open a eyelash extension salon. I've been reading info on the sba site but I don't know where to turn or what opportunities are out there to help me achieve my dream. I would love more info on what is available and how to put my business plan in order everything to owning a business! Thank you!
Reply:
Thank you, Sharmegan! SBA has a wide range of resources and programs to help you start, manage and grow your business. I’d first visit http://www.sba.gov/content/young-entrepreneurs. Also check out our blog on how to succeed as a young entrepreneur. http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matter...
 
From:
Jermesia Wright
Location:
Tampa,, FL
 
Question:
Hi, I would like to start a nail salon and mini spa. I just don't know where to begin. How can I find out if my area is in a good location? Or if it's over saturated this type of business.
Reply:
Great question, Jermesia. Gauging your competition is a key component to start a business. Some information on selecting a location for your business can be found here: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matter.... Also check out SizeUp, an online tool to help you manage and grow your business by benchmarking it against competitors, mapping your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locating the best places to advertise. Visit http://www.sba.gov/sizeup.
 
From:
Stephanie Grimaldi
Location:
Chadd Ford, PA
 
Question:
What avenues are available for someone like myself who has already gotten a new business up and running but is looking for funds/capital to buy out the private investors who gave her the start up funding. We are having a very difficult time getting any funding from banks and unfortunately only have 2 more years to obtain the funding necessary to buy out the investors. Would you have any suggestions as to where we could look for funding.
Reply:
An SBA counselor in your area is a great resource who can help you connect with the local area lending community (http://www.sba.gov/content/find-local-sba-office). Also, you may want to check out the Women Accessing Capital program that is run through Women in Public Policy (http://www.womenaccessingcapital.com/programs-powered-by-wipp).
 
From:
Bianca White
Location:
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
 
Question:
My name is Bianca White and I am 22 years. My question is how can I get a loan to start a business with no job or collateral?
Reply:
A good place to start is to develop a business plan: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-busin.... The best next step for you would then be to reach out to your small business counselor in your area: http://www.wbcmaine.org/
 
From:
Tiffany Janibagian
Location:
Kent, WA
 
Question:
I want to create several businesses, all that could be home-based. How can the SBA help me achieve this goal?
Reply:
Here is what you need to know when starting a home-based business of any kind: http://www.sba.gov/content/home-based-business.
 
From:
Saayeedah Williams
Location:
woodbridge, Virginia
 
Question:
I am a 22 year old young mother of 2 and I want to start my own small business in Head Hunting but I have NO CLUE on to how to actually write up my business plan. I know what my objection is but I just do not know how to put it all together. How can I create a business plan?
Reply:
The SBA offers great advice for pulling together a business plan. You can find video tutorials as well as a great deal of information at http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-busin.... In addition, there are business counselors who can provide in-person advice on the appropriate business plan. To find a counselor in your area, go to http://www.sba.gov/sba-direct
 
From:
Y. Chantz Harris
Location:
Brooklyn, New York
 
Question:
I'm very interested in starting my own small business, however I also work full time for a government agency and attend college twice a week. Not a lot of extra time, how do I obtain all of the pertinent and effective training and counseling that I need to open and thrive successfully with my small business. What are the key things that I should focus on.
Reply:
Technology is on your side. You can take some on-line trainings. SBA offers many online resources for start-ups. Go to www.sba.gov/training and there will be a list of resources you can review to get started. You should also refer to SBA’s 10 steps to starting a business: http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-10-steps-starting-business.
 
From:
Tanya Grant
Location:
Brooklyn, New york
 
Question:
What would be the first most important step to take as a entrepreneur trying to start a business.
Reply:
Great question, Tanya. I would try to find a good mentor. SBA offers free business mentors through our resource partners like SCORE, Small Business Development Centers and Women's Business Centers. Find one near you by entering your zip code here: http://www.sba.gov/sba-direct. And you can also visit our blog at http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-law-advisor/...
 
From:
Susan Lasiter
Location:
Colorado Springs, Colorado
 
Question:
I just started my small business on 2 Oct 2012. My business is to provide technical training and support in database management for the Air Force Civil Engineers. I received a 30% VA disability after serving for 23 years in the Air Force. I wanted to know how I can get classified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business and a Womand Owned Business? What are the required paper works and to whom do I have to submit the requirements in order to get the SDVOB & WOB logo? Thanks.
Reply:
Susan, thanks for bringing up the topic of registering your business. This can sometimes be an area of confusion for business owners. While this hasn’t always been the case, there is currently no formal government registration process for women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses that differ from the normal registration process all businesses follow. In the past, the government monitored registration processes for certain business types, including women-owned. However, being a woman-owned small business can be relevant when contracting with the federal and state governments. You can learn more about these certifications here: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-law-advisor/...
 
From:
Patrice
Location:
Cincinnati, OH
 

Thank you for participating in today's web chat. Please remember that SBA has many resources that can help you start and grow your business. If there is one thing you leave today with, please make sure you use these resources.  And then more importantly, set up an appointment with an SBA business counselor. Find a local counselor at www.sba.gov/direct. Or visit us at http://www.sba.gov/content/young-entrepreneurs