Entrepreneur advisor Melinda Emerson explains her six steps to end small-business failure.
00:00 Melinda Emerson: My name is Melinda Emerson. My nickname is the Small Biz Lady and I own a company called Quintessence Multimedia and my specialty is I help people start and grow profitable and sustainable small businesses and my mission is to end small business failure.
That's a pretty ambitious mission...
00:19 Emerson: Well, you know what, I feel like strong businesses are mission driven and so my mission, my calling if you will, is really to help people not make expensive mistakes. So I think that it is important for us to... I rarely hear bad ideas. I see poor business execution everywhere. So my thing is just trying to help people understand things that they might not even know that they don't know about running a business.
What kind of advice can you give?
00:53 Emerson: I actually have developed a system called the Emerson Planning System to help people transition from having a job to starting a business. So I first walk them through developing a life plan because I think you need to figure out what you want in a life and then you need to build a business around that. The second thing I walk them through is financial planning. I really want people to think about whether or not they can even afford to become an entrepreneur, because BYOB doesn't just stand for Become Your Own Boss, it stands for Be Your Own Bank.
01:20 Emerson: The third step in my system is really helping people validate their business concept and figure out what skills they have and what skills they need to run their particular kind of business. I don't want people who have never worked in a restaurant to start one. People really need to take some time to really make sure they have all the skills in place or they have a partner with all the skills in place they need to run their particular business. And then step four in the Emerson Planning System is developing their marketing plan. I want them to figure out up front whose going to buy from them and why.
01:52 Emerson: The fifth step in the Emerson Planning System is developing their business plan. Every small business needs a plan, but it's not an historical document. They really need to update it every two to three months to make sure their business is on the right track at least in their first three years of business, I would say. And then step six in the Emerson Planning System is launching your business while you are still working a job. I believe in the side hustle. I think that you should do both until it hurts, at least a year, a year and a half. Because it takes 18 to 36 months for a small business to break even, let alone get to the point where it could replace someone's corporate salary, and most people think it is going to happen sooner than that. It really doesn't, [chuckle] but the victories are sweeter when you are an entrepreneur.