Many persons dream of being their own boss, and many times they have already an idea of what they want to do, based on their abilities or passions. They think that they make the best cake, cook the best empanada, know what is really a good cleaning or they want to help the community in some way. Although having an idea is the first step, there is much to think about before opening a small business. You have to be honest with yourself and ask yourself difficult questions beforehand. You may be the best chef in the neighborhood, but do you know how to manage the employees or how to do accounting?
When you are thinking in opening a business, the first thing you need to do is to have the adequate mentality. You must be realistic. Obviously, the goal when you open a business is to be successful. This requires much preparation and planning. At the same time, when you start to plan and investigate your idea, you become aware of many things, and also many questions. For example, how much must I sell to cover or surpass my costs? Or, how will I market this product to my client? With extensive planning, all these questions can be answered!
In the same way, it is ideal to look for a mentor who may help you when you have doubts. A mentor may give you advice, direction and, above all, provide connections. Finding a mentor who is in the same industry would be the best, but it is not necessary. Usually, there are many persons in the community who are more than willing to help you.
Also, the certification of Minority and Women Business Enterprise, or MWBE, exists to help you. This kind of program is an unknown area for many people, but it is a very beneficial program that should be taken into account always. The state of New York is mandated to do 30 percent of their businesses with MWBEs. A MWBE business is a business where at least 51 percent is operated and controlled by citizens or permanent residents who are women or minorities. The process can take a lot of time, but there is much help if you need it. When you have the certification, you may have offers for the opportunity to do work and contracts that require services of an MWBE business. Imagine that you may cook for a governmental event! There are many opportunities available, which are at the distance of some orientation and investigation.
Abarca is a program specialist with Ibero-American Action League.