The number of women starting their own businesses is growing rapidly each year, fueled by a variety of reasons. Some women are returning to the work-force after taking time off to raise children while others are leaving the corporate world to run something themselves. Some are fulfilling life-long dreams of owning a business to market their goods while others are building a large-scale corporation. The industries represented by female business owners include every type, from accounting and consulting to arts and crafts. The dated notion of female-based operations being limited to makeup and skin care has been dashed as more and more women become successful in the corporate world.

While the steps that men and women must take to create a company are identical, the challenges that face females can be unique. Many women find that more problems involve finding a work-life balance, marketing and obtaining financing, especially in the startup phases. While many stereotypes have disappeared, these are still obstacles women must face which make planning and preparing a business plan much more important.

First, make sure to create a plan that works with your life. One of the benefits of being your own boss is working with your own timeframe. If you only have time to devote to your startup while your kids are in school, arrange your schedule around that. There is no reason why any two businesses have to be the same, and allowing yourself the ability to meet all of your demands will make you a better, less stressed leader. Including this component in the early stages of planning will allow you to detail your vision for your business and personal life.

Next, don’t spend a lot of time stressing about the legal hurdles. Many entrepreneurs of both genders struggle with taking the steps to legalize their company, but this is generally a simple task. If you will need help from an attorney, be sure to include those fees in your financial plan.

As you create your business plan, be sure to account for any costs you anticipate encountering. While humble beginnings can allow more funding to be spent on expansion and maintenance later on, you must be prepared for all of the costs associated with creating a startup company. Be sure to research what those expenses are and include them in your plan.

While women face many of the same difficulties as men when starting a company, female business owners generally report these issues of finding balance and funding more than their male counterparts. Being armed with knowledge and preparation can allow women to overcome these obstacles and rise to the top of the corporate world in any industry they choose.