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    8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 7, 2009 3:33 PM by ilyab0dner

    Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans

    taffeelion Newbie
      What a great community and boy, do I need advice!

      I'm a 29 year old scientist with a PhD in molecular biology. Get this: I would like nothing more than to start a salon and spa business. I repeatedly hear, "Do what makes you happy," and now I'm going to change career paths and go for it! Of course there are many hurdles. I have absolutely no background in business or finance and little knowledge of this particular industry. However, I see a niche market and prime opportunity. I want to provide mid- to upscale hair care that caters to people with 'ethnic' type hair. Believe me, that does not exist anywhere in about a 60 mile radius even though the area is majority african american. I know this market well and believe I can be very successful.

      This may sound crazy to some, but the confidence and smarts it takes to get a PhD is the same confidence and smarts I will use to make a successful business.

      I'm currently reading books on startup business and making a business plan, but I'd also like to hear some real advice and information from real people.
      Specifically:
      1. With a decent credit score and little of my own money, what is the best way to get funding?
      2. What is the average (ballpark) startup cost for small businesses like this?
      3. Do I need anything other than lots of research and a good business plan to get a small business loan?
      4. How long should I expect this process to take? (from this initial idea to getting funded)
      5. Any other advice you have to give is much appreciated.

      Thanks so much!

        • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
          teacup Wayfarer
          Kudos to you!!! I just have one quick suggestion - have you spoken to others in the salon or spa business? Or have you ever worked in one? I know your question relates to funding, etc. but if you can it probably makes sense to expose yourself into that industry as much as you can either as a consumer of it or behind the scenes if possible. If you feel comfortable, you might even want to ask a few owners in that industry what their story is - how they got started, how much it costs to lay the ground work etc. Given that you're in school right now, I bet they would share a lot to you.
          • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Welcome to this website. You said "I'm currently reading books on startup business and making a business
            plan,
            but I'd also like to hear some real advice and information from
            real people"
            O K. I am a SCORE Counselor and SCORE helps people going into business FREE of charge.
            SCORE is a partner to Bank of America and provides FREE assistance to you. You can visit a SCORE office
            and talk to a live counselor or visit online. SCORE can help you develop a Business and Marketing Plan and
            their goal is to help you succeed. You will also get more great advice on this site.
            Good luck, LUCKIEST
            • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
              v-guru Newbie
              I echo teacup's comment. If you do not have experience in the "biz" as they say, Why not spend a month or two getting some up close and personal experience at a salon/spa? I think there are two ways to get some experience:

              1. Find an amenable owner that will let you mentor/OJT with them (even if it is part time appt scheduler, you wil learn the business if your eyes/ears are open)
              2. In case the first option is not possible, I bet there is one of them nearby hiring. Get a PT job for a month or two and take mental notes every shift and immediately translate them into a written form of what you would "do" or "not do" and use that build your plan.

              Good luck!
              • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                I hate to answer your question (or four questions) with a question, but here it is: Why do you want to start up this particular business? Is it mainly because you see a wide open market with great profit potential -- or is it because you have an irrepressible passion for hair care and feel that providing this service to people is your true purpose in life even if there's no money in it? (There's no wrong answer, but your next step depends on whatever the answer is.)
                • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  (Didn't mean to hit "Post" -- here's the rest of what I was going to write in my previous message.)

                  If the answer because you see a business opportunity, then you'll want to start by developing a plan and presenting it to other people who have the things you'll need to make the business successful, but that you lack (skills you don't have the time or desire to learn, experience, money, etc.). Knowing that's the answer, several of us can probably follow-up with more specific guidance on how to develop that type of plan.

                  If the answer is because you have always wanted to be a hair care professional (and your current path and position are the result of someone else's expectations rather than yours), then my advice would be to learn everything about that business from the bottom up -- even if that means sweeping floors in a barber shop or going to hair design school. You already know you'll be on the fast track and able to master each step more quickly than most, and each stage will open up many new opportunities and experiences that will lead to owning your own salon.

                  Granted, either path can take time, but it's the same as the investment you made in your formal education. Sure, you could have ordered a diploma through the mail, but if you wanted professional acknowledgment and the ability to get a job, you knew that you'd have to take the time and do the work to get a legitimate degree. The same sort of commitment is required to start a successful business.

                  Hope this helps. Best wishes!
                  • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
                    JHandunge Newbie

                    Check out this Franchise Opportunity with Julie Anne's Gourmet Dessert Shop, provides you with all the Support Services of a Franchise without all of the franchise fees, there are different business options and they supply the required equipment as well, this should be a great business opportunity as they have over 23 years experience in franchising -

                     

                    http://www.bizymoms.com/franchises/opportunities/gourmet-dessert-shops.html
                    • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
                      RanksIntl Adventurer
                      Hello!

                      As an african american woman who lived most of her life in an area that didn't cater to these needs by any means I am a huge proponent of what you are doing. The issue of how you will get your financing is going to come down primarily to your experience and your business plan. There isn't really a ballpark amount to start. That depends on if you are starting your own business, purchasing a franchise or even purchasing a business that is established that community. Based on your experience you are likely going to want to approach avenues other than loans as well. The amount of time that is going to take is very much up to you. If you are ready to jump right in it can take as little as a few months to get things going or if you need time it could take years. I would like to talk to you some more about this. I specialize in small business start up and expansion(funny thing, I was a biochem major before I started this business). If you would like some advice or just someone to bounce ideas off of you can email me. I look forward to hearing from you!

                      Renee`
                      Renee.rankine@ranksintl.com
                      • Re: Please share advice and comments, I have little experience and big plans
                        Wayfarer
                        A common issue that I see is the mix of personal credit and business credit. Most small business owners get eager and use their personal access for the wrong needs. I put together an article to help you understand the two, feel free to comment.

                        A true business credit card is a line of credit that is taken in the name of the business, under the business' credit. Activity, whether good or bad, is reflected on your business' credit report through D&B and other financial institutions, and the liability for any debts incurred and bills owed is with the business.However, some companies out there offer "business" credit cards which they require a person guarantee for. These institutions will often ask for a personal guarantee, and will almost always ask for a social security number from the person applying for the card. If this is the case, the credit card is not a business credit card, but is simply a personal credit card which is used for the business. The business is not liable for bills and debts - you are.When applying for a credit card for your business, watch out for areas asking for your SSN (and not your TaxID or EIN) and be wary of any credit card that asks for a personal guarantee. By ensuring that your credit card is in the name of your business, you can help to build your business' credit, while avoiding creating problems with your own.

                         


                        Many companies offer a list of credit cards that are issued under the business name only. Those lists typically run $300-$900, depending on the quality of the information inquiring. I would suggest starting your search online via google or yahoo. Search for "strong business credit" (just like that in quotes) to find services that sell the information.

                         


                        Good luck,

                         

                        Ilya Bodner

                         

                        Small Business Owner

                         

                        Initial Underwriting Group