Starting Your Business Right: How to Open a Successful Business
Getting from Outstanding Idea to Opening Day
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Carolyn Mandelker: I think entrepreneurs get into trouble when they try to do everything themselves. Whether it is to negotiate a lease or create a marketing campaign or advertise or throw a launch party, they do need professional help. It will save them money and grief in the long term.
Robert Wyker: One of the reasons we [at SCORE Westchester] are in existence is to provide that kind of help. But what I believe is the very first thing that anybody needs to do is research, to figure out where they might fit in the market. This is really a marketing study.
Michael Rao: I am a big fan, before business planning, of life planning. I see so many people who have bad habits start businesses: going through divorces, financial issues, drugs, alcohol. These are things that prohibit people from starting their business or taking it to that next step. I think that before you even start a business, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Am I really a person who could be an entrepreneur?’
Susan Corcoran: And really, what we are talking about is how to protect your assets before jumping in. It is not only what business assets you are looking to develop, but also taking a step back and looking at your personal assets before you create your business. There may be certain agreements and other things we may want to put in place so we are protecting [ourselves].
Robert Schork: It sounds like being ill-prepared is the single biggest pitfall that would-be entrepreneurs fall into.
Joseph McCoy: Absolutely.
Robert Wyker: Amen. Also, they frequently have never done what they are now saying they are going to open a business to do. They’ve done something like it, but they have never really been in the industry at a level where they can see what the big picture is.
Louis Scamardella: What I had found is that people in Harry’s situation came to me during this crisis with a lot of experience and technical knowledge—like a mechanic who knows how to put a car together and take it apart—but they did not know how to sell their services. Frequently, they try to educate their customer rather than sell the product. They are more a pusher of information than a creator of dialogue.
Carolyn Mandelker: You can be a creative person, you can be inventive, you can come up with an ingenious product. But those are very different from actually being in business—very different. I don’t want to discourage anybody. It is terrific to be in business. It is just that you need to be prepared.
Joseph McCoy: Having that team [that we] mentioned before—whether it is an accountant or an attorney or an advisor—is really paramount to help guide that person to be successful.