Creating A Startup No Small Business, Entrepreneurs Say
Experienced entrepreneurs who turned their ideas into income are celebrating National Small Business Week with some helpful advice. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following "Money Matters" report.
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Like so many inventions, mom Katie Danziger says her car seat cover was born out of what she calls "an accidental necessity".
"My littlest used to throw up and get sick in her car seat all the time and so I came up with the idea of a removable, washable and waterproof cover for infant and toddler car seats," says Danziger.
Her brand, Nomie Baby, is now carried in some big name nationwide stores. But five years and 100,000 units ago, all she had was an idea and a lot of questions.
"If somebody had told me today all of the different things that I would need to know or do to start a business I would have been paralyzed," says Danziger.
Sabina Ptacin, co-founder of tinshingle.com, an online community and resource center for entrepreneurs, says you don't need an MBA but you do need a business plan.
"Who are your customers? What are you going to be selling? You want to research the market," suggests Ptacin.
She says the barriers to starting a small business are lower and less expensive than ever before thanks in no small part to technology. For instance, rather than pay a web designer, many sites offer templates that will let you build one yourself.
"It will look surprisingly sophisticated and professional. Times have changed. You can do that," says Ptacin.
You can build your own buzz with social media. Danziger uses Facebook and Twitter and says reaching out to bloggers has given her both feedback and exposure.
"I cannot imagine having done this without it. I can't imagine the time, the effort, the expense that would have had to go into it without social media," recalls Danziger.
But perhaps the most valuable resource for budding entrepreneurs is other entrepreneurs. Find small business message boards or online forums.
"And say, Does anybody know how to do X?' And within minutes I will get responses," says Danziger.
Starting a small business is a big step, but it doesn't need to be done all or nothing. Experienced entrepreneurs say wade in rather than jump in and you may find the journey a lot more manageable.
"Do it on the weekends, do it on the side, do it after work," suggests Ptacin.
"You have to chunk it, don't do it all at once. Just find sizable chunks and do it that way," says Danziger.