I ’ve been asked more times than I can count how I started and succeed in business. I now have three profitable companies, including one with two locations. The answer I tend to give is not so profound, but it’s the simple truth: I just did it. Now that I reflect more deeply, I realize that while I was working for others in the industry, I felt in my heart and soul that I could do it better.
My companies were in guest services and more female-centered industries. I felt that these incredible human beings — mothers, sisters and women in general — needed and deserved more love, compassion, understanding and, most importantly, time from people like me. Basically, I never thought about the process of the business or failing at it because my passion for the cause was much greater than the risk. However, after the idea was born and the spark was ignited, I followed a few steps:
Start with the business concept (Fire, fire, fire!) Be passionate and get fired up about what you want to create. You will experience both good and difficult times; it’s the fire that can carry you through the challenges.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN. (HOW’S THE NEW BUSINESS GOING TO RUN?)
My business plans were never very complicated, but they covered the necessary elements. Many simple business plan templates are available for free online. Don’t skip this step!
GET THE FINANCES IN ORDER (WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE MONEY?)
How will you run your business and still pay for your food, rent and other essentials? I did self-funding, which can be very challenging if it’s only you in the mix. Many options and resources are available for startups needing some financial support. Check with your local Chamber, the Small Business Administration and financial institutions.
MASTER THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS. (THESE ARE THE ITEMS THAT WILL KEEP YOU SUCCESSFUL AND OUT OF TROUBLE)
I have learned many great lessons in life about business management, but having your administrative ducks in a row is a critical one. Be thorough in your research of rules and regulations. Find a mentor in your field and treat her to lunch. Knowing the ins and outs of licensing, insurance, compliance requirements, regulatory boards, etc. is very important to your business’s wellbeing.
I would love to warn everyone that entrepreneurship is scary and to steer clear, but it’s the most fun and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s my hobby and, at times, my best friend. Go in with your eyes wide open and a plan in place. Once that’s done, just jump in!
Monica Ladd-Kimbrough is the owner of The Beauty Bar Boutique, North American Gaming Inc. and Advanced Nail Systems Inc. Reach her at Monica@thebeautybarboutique.net.