Recently, I hosted a live satellite broadcast that featured a panel discussion with three wildly successful women business owners: Brenda Newberry, Chairman and CEO of The Newberry Group, a global IT consultancy founded in 1996; Sally Hughes, CEO and founder of Caster Connection , a supplier of high-quality casters and wheel solutions; and Mary Bahr, CEO of MAB Advertising, a full-service advertising agency whose mission is to improve customer relationships and organizational profitability through strategic direct marketing.
During the program, viewers were able to email their questions which I presented to the panelists. One attendee asked, “Do you need and MBA or business background to start a business?”
Sally Hughes was the first to respond. Sally finished college and took off for Hollywood to pursue a professional singing career. Although she did well, she didn’t hit the big time so she returned to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. With some encouragement and advice from her father, Sally recognized a market opportunity selling casters to commercial customers. Today, Sally’s known as the “caster queen” and her company does business with major corporations all across the country.
The other panelists agreed it doesn’t take an MBA or business background, but it does take determination, passion, creativity and critical thinking skills. Additionally, without a business background you must be willing to listen, learn and get the advice you need to build a company built with a solid business.
In my opinion, your best be for start-up advice is SCORE – Counselors to America’s small businesses. SCORE offers free advice, mentoring and resources to start-up as well as growing businesses. SCORE’s volunteers are knowledge in many diverse fields and they can help with many aspects of your business including writing a business plan, setting up a bookkeeping system, and developing a marketing plan.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s web site is another good resource for start-up information, tools and resources. I also recommend you conduct an Internet search to see what additional resources may be available in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask for the assistance you need. It’s best to start-off on the right foot, than wind up fixing mistakes down the road.