The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to know first-hand what it take's to be an entrepreneur in the Brookings community. From start-up to what they would have done differently, we asked local business owners to share their experience with us. Check out what they had to say!
Tell everyone about the project you are working on. You never know who has a great piece of advice or a connection to a helpful mentor.
-Kirsten Gjesdal, Carrot Seed
My advice to anyone considering starting a small business in Brookings would be to do your research, make sure your product or service is something you are passionate about, and get involved in the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce right away. Brookings has some of the best people, and connecting with other area businesses to promote our community is so important for all of us! Also, hire a business coach or work with a group of your peers to constantly improve yourself and your business.
-Casie King, KCK Wildfire Cheer
Think out of the box and maybe think starting out smaller. When you start small, it is much easier to grow. Don't over-extend your pocket book!
-Karen Burns, Ugly Duckling
LD: Make lists and don't be afraid to talk to people. When you're starting a business it's hard to know what to do first. Making a list and prioritizing things does wonders for productivity. It sounds simple, but it really was key in getting our business going. Secondly, talk to people. When you hit a wall and don't know what to do next, figure out who might have the answer, and call them. Always set up appointments and be considerate of their time, and if you do that you'll be surprised at the wealth of knowledge people will be willing to share with you.
DS: For someone that hasn't done it, starting a business may seem impossible or insurmountable. It really isn't. It's a series of small steps until you're ready to launch. Chip away at the things you know you have to do bit-by-bit. If there is something that you're uncertain of, be resourceful and find someone who can answer your questions. Friends and family that have started their own business can be great resources, as well as departments in the state that can tell you what your business needs to do to get set up.
-Luke Davidson & Daniel Stratton, Zip Dish Delivery
The advice I would give is the same that I was given: There is more abundance in the world than we realize. Just look at the animals that scurry about our parks and streets; they never go hungry or go without shelter as a result of their intense motivation to be fed and clothed. As an entrepreneur, you have to be as hungry, curious, and as willing to take the risk to cross the street and shake a hand as the darn squirrel running through the neighborhood.
-Dennis Willert, Willert Wellness & Chiropractic
Do your homework. Write your business plan, use the right resources that are FREE and available to you right in Brookings, and be as prepared as you can possibly be. Once you set those beginning expectations appropriately it’s easier to roll with the punches later on. Other advice would be to save money for living expensese should your business not generate the income you need right away. Some great advice we got early on was to “grow until it hurts, then think of hiring/expanding/taking the next step.”
We’re also part of a marketing mentorship program through the BEDC. Take advantage of all the experience and new entrepreneurs who are going/have gone through the same steps you’re about to take. It’s much more powerful to join forces than go it alone.
-Carrie Kuhl, Hitch Studio
Go to business school; join service clubs to give back to your community. Seek advice from others like bankers and insurance people. Live by the golden rule, this town will be awesome to you!
-Jerry Miller, Winks Jewelry
Make sure it is something that you really want to do. It can be a hard couple years when you first open, it is so important to love what you are doing...especially if you aren't making any money!
-Jenna Friedrich, FarmHouse Fancy
My advice, prepare for anything. Start by taking a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side write down some of the worst things that you think could happen, for example, my vehicle breaking down on the way to an important meeting, or a fire starting in your building. In the other column write down how you would prepare for those types of extremes. Critical thinking is important to any business owner. Preparing yourself for those types of challenges makes the smaller things that come up feel like a breeze.
-Nick Schmeichel, Sideline Productions