Do you want to start your own small business? Many people who are tired of working for someone else or who have been laid off find themselves taking the road of entrepreneurship. I found myself on that road many years ago and have never looked back. I discovered some simple secrets to success that I want to share with you!

Ten years ago I answered a small help wanted ad in the local newspaper for a rep to sell advertising space on movie screens. Having no experience in ad sales, I bluffed my way through the interview. The company sales manager had been interviewing all day so I knew my competition was formidable. I really wanted the job, so I sent a big bouquet of flowers to my interviewer along with a thank you note. Guess who got the job?


I went through training and learned I was only allowed to sell ad space at certain movie theaters in town but not all. Many of my new clients wanted to advertise market-wide on all the theaters in my city. I began to see a need for someone to help these advertisers make a seamless media buy that involved various theater companies. This unmet need became the seed for my new business idea.


I resigned from my position and started a full service ad agency that bought all forms of media but specialized in movie theater advertising. I built a database of every movie theater in the country that offered an ad program. Now an advertiser had access to a one-stop shop to place a media buy across a market, a state, or the entire U.S. My idea was a big hit! My first client was Disney.


Over the past 10 years, I have bought cinema media for clients such as the state of Florida, the city of Los Angeles, Disney, Haagen-Dazs, U.S. Army, the Justice Department, state of Virginia, Royal Purple Motor Oil, New York Courts, Nordstrom, and more.


Here are some secrets to my small business success. If you are planning to start your own business these ideas will launch you in the right direction!


  1. Do What You Know


It only makes sense to start a small business in an industry that you understand and have experience with. Do not try to venture into uncharted waters. If you have a business idea for an industry you are not familiar with, go work for another company in that industry for a year. This will give you a basic understanding of the major players, business models, and needs of the industry.


  1. Find a Need Not Being Met


Business is about filling needs. The most successful companies have found a consumer demand that was unfulfilled. Sometimes large companies get lost in pleasing shareholders and move slowly in responding to customer needs. Find a niche and become an expert. Customers will begin flowing in.


  1. Become a Partner to Your Client


Your goal should be to create a product or service that helps your client make more money or solve a problem. Your approach should be stepping into the shoes of a business partner to your client. Successful business owners approach new customers with the attitude, “How can I help you grow your business?” If you wear the persona of a typical sales rep, only wanting to make a profit for yourself, you will struggle to find new clients.


  1. Say Thank-You in Creative Ways


Knowing that other ad agencies typically send out holiday cards at the end of the year, I send out cards to my clients at Thanksgiving time. This way I am ahead of the pack and really stand out. I also send some gourmet popcorn or movie passes. Clients appreciate knowing you value their business. I also send gifts or handwritten notes after completing a project for one of my customers. A personal gesture of appreciation builds brand loyalty between your company and your clients.


  1. Use Social Networking to Build Your Brand


As soon as possible, build a top-notch website and begin branding your company across the internet on websites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I used WordPress to create a simple blog that is integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When I post a new blog entry, it automatically migrates to my other social network websites, saving me time. Email programs such as, can be set up to send out an email with your newest WordPress blog post. Building your brand online builds your credibility. Show off your knowledge and expertise in the industry to attract new clients. Allowing your customers to interact with you personally on websites such as Facebook or MySpace strengthens your relationships and increases your chances for repeat business.


I started out with no money or employees – just a great idea that filled a need in an industry I understood. Take inventory of all your experiences and think about products or services that no one else is offering. Focus on helping your clients achieve their goals and success will follow!

When you start a business, you want it to be successful, right? No one embarks on a venture hoping to fail! Yet, for so many, their destination points in that direction right from the get go.

Why? A lot of times, entrepreneur hopefuls don’t do what they are supposed to: they don’t plan well, they don’t do enough research, they are not passionate about what they are doing…basically, they start off on he wrong foot and end up tripping or falling flat on their faces.

Here are some things you might need to consider should you really be serious about opening shop.

Know your stuff

You want to open a restaurant but don’t even know that adding sugar to a dish helps cut down chili hotness. You can’t cook a proper dish. You don’t know where to get ingredients at the best prices.


Now, how do you expect to succeed?

At the car service centre, how does it feel like when the mechanic says, “Oh! This particular spare part costs $900.” And you can’t say that you think it’s too expensive because you don’t know the real cost. So, you just resign yourself to this suggestion, but with that feeling that you’ve just been taken for a ride.

It’s the same at you restaurant, you need to know your stuff.



A great location for a certain business might not be suitable for another.

You can operate a luxury car dealership that retails most expensive Maseratis in rather secluded area and still you will get your customers because he cars appeal to a certain market where affluent buyers will go anywhere to get they want

But when you open a stall or restaurant, it would be better if it’s located in an area where there are other food outlets, and where the traffic is high.

You mustn’t be afraid of competition as it creates choice for the consumer

You also need to know the type of crowd you are catering to and price your product correctly.



Just because you like to cook, don’t think you can make it as a restaurateur. At home, you might be used to cooking for family. You might even love hosting the occasional party with 30 friends dropping by.


At the outlet, it’s a daily affair.

It’s a lot of work in hot kitchen. And it’s not just the quality of food you have to be concerned about. You need to look at the service your staff provides. Don’t forget the occasional difficult customer.


You have to be passionate enough to work very, very hard.


Be hands on

If you want to open a business you need to be there, at least for a year, so that you’d know the ins and outs of the business enough and to make accurate assessments and estimations of stock take, customer flow and such.


Then no one will be able to cheat you. Also, after a year, your workers would more or less have an idea as to the way you like things done and what displeases you

Bad things can happen to good entrepreneurs with fantastic ideas. This statement is not meant to burst your bubble – it’s meant to nudge you in the direction of being realistic about your planning efforts long before you’re left with nothing but a soapy residue on the floor because you failed to implement the best practices for protecting your personal assets.

Take the Proper Steps


It’s all too easy to get carried away with the thrill of being your own boss and finally pushing the results of your hard work onto the marketplace. There isn’t any serious entrepreneur that at some time has not put their own money on the line, but the cold, hard fact is you can lose your investment if something goes wrong and your business fails. If you have not taken precautions, you could lose everything you own, destroy your personal credit and be left with no choice but to start over.


Form a corporation. Most people start out as sole proprietors and register with the state as such, but eventually you will need to form a corporation. You’ll need to form a C Corp, an S Corp or a limited liability company (LLC). If you don’t know the difference, do the research or consult with a business attorney. Consider the tax consequences for the various types in incorporations, and most of all your protection from personal liability. Remember this point – you and your business are not one and the same. Your business is a separate entity with its own life and should be managed as such.


Build business credit. The moment you submit your incorporation papers to the state, apply for a federal tax identification number. Once you have that, register with Dun  amp; Bradstreet to start building a business credit score based on your business activity. Get your services and vendor accounts transferred into your name. Set up a bank account under your business name and Tax ID number. If you apply for credit cards or lines of credit for business use, put them in your name, not your personal name.


In the beginning you may be asked to provide a personal guarantee for some of your business needs but limit these to as few as possible. Taking these steps will help you remove the personal liability from your business affairs. It is also wise to consider getting a loan when you need financing rather than pulling the cash from your own pocket. If your business does fail, you have not lost all your money. You can learn from your mistakes and start over again – the most successful business people in the world have all experiences flops.


Use Business Credit to Get Financing


If you feel bad about losing someone else’s money, take heart. Business credit lenders are fully aware of the risks they take in lending money to small business start ups. You can use this to your advantage – they will insist on seeing a viable business plan before they fork over the cash you want and with a well.