How to Start a Woman-Owned Company
Woman-owned companies are aggressively expanding in varied business sectors. In fact, SCORE describes a 2005 study that found that these businesses are growing twice as quickly as businesses overall. Although previously monitored, the U.S. government no longer designates a separate process for starting and registering businesses owned by women, minorities or veterans. Though the process of starting a woman-based company is the now the same as any other, the challenges can be different. To address those challenges, take prudent steps when starting your woman-owned business.
Develop a business model and a business plan. Explain your business’ products and services, overhead costs and license requirements. Identify your business’ competition. Compare your business’ strengths and weaknesses against those of your competition. Explain the strategies your business will use to neutralize the strengths of your competition and expand your business’ opportunities. Introduce your business’s target market, how you will attract that market, the benefits that your business will gain from your business’ services and how you will retain those customers.
Register your business’s legal structure with your state’s Secretary of State. Complete the appropriate forms for your selected structure, such as sole proprietor or corporation, and include the appropriate fee with the application.
Complete the IRS’s SS-4 online form to request an employer identification number. Complete the IRS “Do You Need an EIN?” questionnaire, if you are unsure if an EIN is required for your business. Take note of your newly issued EIN number, as it will be provided immediately after completing the application.
Register your business with the Business Partner Network, if you want your business to be considered for government contracts. Complete a DUNS application with Dun & Bradstreet prior to beginning your Central Contractor Registration process, as it is required in the registration process. Indicate in your CCR information that the business is woman-owned.
Seek mentoring from local professionals and woman-based organizations. Turn to organizations such as the American Business Women’s Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Association for Women’s Business Centers for mentoring and financing assistance.
Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.