Mariann Donato Entry #4: Starting a business

What about starting my own business?

In response to Tory's challenge, I recently had the good fortune to meet a handful of entrepreneurs who were happy to share their start-up stories. Since the culinary world is the next area I'm hoping to pursue, each of the businesses is connected to the food world, whether it be an independent retail store, food manufacturer, food wholesaler/broker, etc.

Most importantly, I learned that a passion that's a hobby or interest doesn't always automatically translate into a solid business venture. I found in cases where the particular business was still virtually new (under five years), there were still struggles to be had, mostly having to do with finances. Their business plan was to start small, then grow incrementally. The economy hasn't necessarily helped the growth factor. Unsurprisingly it has hindered it,forcing the owners to become more creative with what they are currently dealing with and trying to keep it afloat. In some cases, it becomes line and brand extensions. In others, it calls for more savvy website marketing. In any case, the business has become a 24/7 existence with little or no time left for "life."

The positives are worthy of mention as well; there's no corporate intervention and because of that your decisions and choices are your own. You never have to fear being fired again since you are your own boss. You get to control your own fate.

Discussions with business owners who have been in business for over 15 years proved somewhat more assuring. Financing/money/backing were still major concerns, but they seemed to have figured out how to iron out the wrinkles and persevere. They have had the time to mature and because of that are able to bring on trusted staff that shoulders some of the day-to-day burden. They can concentrate their main effort on reaching out to new consumers and marketing their business in an attempt to have it reach new heights.

Perhaps having a new business is not an all or nothing venture. At least two of the established business owners mentioned that they might be interested in taking someone on who either complements their business or helps to broaden their reach. I think this direction is one that could be mutually beneficial. I really like that idea and I'm immersed in more talks and research. Stay tuned.

NOTE: If you have any job leads for Ms. Donato, please let us know in the comments below. Thank you.

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