Tons of interviews out there are Q&A’s with wise women who share words of wisdom from mentors that helped them start their businesses. This isn’t one of those. This post is part of a series of profiles in which female entrepreneurs reveal the advice they regret taking. Their lessons will save you valuable time and money when launching your small business.
Amber S. Hawkins is the President/CEO of Your Computer Needs of Toledo, LLC based in in Toledo, OH. And, last month was the eighth year she put her business motto to use “Computer Training & MORE That Comes To You!” But, success didn’t come so easily to her at first. Here’s her story.
“Though surviving and getting past failure is part of entrepreneurship, Hawkins would advise those starting their businesses NOT to go after big contracts at first –as opposed the to nuggets of knowledge she received when she started –unless you’re well equipped to do so:
“I would suggest the four following things when it comes to handling big contracts before you leap,” says Hawkins.
- In your network of small business owners, find out the answers to the below questions from those that were awarded big contracts. What were the ins and outs? What were the requirements? Were they the type of contracts in which you weren’t paid until the job is complete? What was the time cycle as far as getting paid, and what problems were encountered? These are just some of the questions that should be asked BEFORE thinking about going after a big contract.
- Find out everything about any bids including if the business has to be bonded, certified and other credentials required.
- Though you may have work experience in the field of the small business you’re in, make sure you’re ready. The small business world frowns upon unsatisfactorily completing the terms of the contract and a bad reputation spreads fast from the contract source. It’s great if you’re a “newbie” and they understand. Unfortunately, nine times out of 10 that’s not the case.
- Completion of successful smaller contracts can be your ally. Believe it or not, contract sources do talk to each other. The question you then need to answer as a woman entrepreneur is: will the contract sources talk highly of me or will they talk badly about me?”
Any questions for these ladies? Post them below or share with the rest of the ProfessionGal community on Facebook!