Everyday Business | Success Requires Devotion, Mentors And Lots Of Sleep

By Mike Irwin
The Wenatchee World, Wash.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) What does it take for a small business to succeed?  I love to get different perspectives from entrepreneurs and that’s exactly what a lunchtime panel in Washington served up last week. Several women in small business (and men) gave some very honest, forthright and at times humorous thoughts on taking the leap into entrepreneurship.

The Wenatchee World, Wash.

A lively panel of local entrepreneurs talked from the heart Thursday on the risks and rewards of starting up their own businesses.

Sponsored by GWATA, the lunchtime panel drew a packed house of folks curious about what it takes for a small business to succeed.

Offering start-up tips were Dan Rodriguez of Cafe Columbia at Pybus Public Market, Allen Larsen of downtown Wenatchee’s Firehouse Pet Shop, Rafael Aguilar of online station La Pera Radio, Jordan Lindstrom of marketing firm Web Guidz and Kara Meloy of online retailer Little Sun Hat.

A few choice quotes on small business success:

Meloy: I made a little sun hat after our fourth son was born. My husband said, “No way he’s wearing that bonnet.” I insisted it was a sun hat, and began making them for family and friends. Our business grew from there and kept on growing.

Rodriguez: That first moment when I realized we might be a success? We were running Almond Blossom (a store selling gourmet roasted nuts) during Leavenworth’s Christmas Lighting Festival. The line was out the door. People just kept on coming. I thought, “Maybe we’ve got something here.”

Aguilar: Even though you think you might know it all, find a mentor. Find someone who can offer smart guidance, particularly when you’re exhausted and discouraged. It can set you in the right direction.

Lindstrom: Don’t be slow in finding help with complicated tasks, such as accounting. I waited too long and am just now realizing that I don’t need to sit up to 3 a.m. every night doing administrative tasks.

Larsen: Early on we hired a CPA, someone to keep us on track with finances and doing the books. We recommend it for all growing businesses — find someone you like, someone you’re comfortable with, someone whose thinking is in line with yours. It’s a smart investment.

Rodriguez: Make sure you have solid hiring practices. Find the best people you can, and it’ll make all the difference.

Larsen: Starting up a small business can be like doing jumping jacks in a vat of jello. It can be hard. Two years in, we’re devoting this time to stabilizing what we’ve built and accomplished.

Aguilar: Plans for the future? Try to get some sleep. No, really. One of my goals is more sleep.


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