Maybe it’s an idea that you can’t stop thinking about. Or maybe you’re already getting orders for your services. But for many potential future business owners, this is a moment that you have to just commit to executing on your big idea.
As an active part of the community for over 50 years, The Crossroads Carmel has been home to its own fair share of business owners. We reached out to some of our current tenants and asked: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business? Based on their feedback, we uncovered these key areas to focus on…
Do your research
Before jumping into any business opportunity, it is critical that you do your research. This means more than asking for feedback from your close friends and family, this means putting in the time to dive deep into your local market, competitors, best practices, and industry standards. “You need to be well-versed in what you plan on starting,” says Marcy Curry, owner of Carmel Pilates & Personal Training. “You need to be patient and you need to educate yourself and grow with the ever-changing world.”
Don’t limit your research to just your industry or niche. It’s important to include general business knowledge in your research. For example, you’ll need to brush up on bookkeeping skills, hiring regulations, and even cleaning standards. “Study the type of business and… how to run a successful business,” says Nasser Omar, owner of Tops n’ Travel.
During your research phase, you may try to plan out every detail necessary for starting your business. You may even feel like you have the perfect checklist for everything you need to launch! However, it’s important to remain calm and be flexible when unforeseen incidents pop up and potentially derail any plans you may have.
“Know what you’re doing, have a plan, and be prepared to re-adjust that plan constantly,” says The Annex Carmel owner Ashleigh Hutchison. She’s right – you never know when new permits may be required or if there’s a massive shipping delay from your wholesaler. Being able to remain level-headed and make practical decisions will help you keep your business afloat.
This need to be flexible isn’t just for when you’re planning to open your business up – it’s an important mantra to remember throughout the life of your business. “Be prepared for the ups and downs,” David and Tina Deyerle of Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant recommend.
We think Donna Lee, owner of Taste Morgan says it best: “Have a plan. Have a plan B. Play nice.”
Surround yourself with a winning team
When starting a business, you should seek out mentors and advice from those who have successfully started a business before you. “Find great mentors and don’t be afraid to seek out advice from locals who have found success specific to our area. What works in other places may not be what is needed or sought out by our local demographic,” says Heather Aldi, owner of Zearly and Metronome Dancewear.
Once your business is in a good place to start hiring employees, it’s important to set up a clear hiring process. What skill sets do you need from your employees? What type of attitude are you looking for them to bring to your brand? As you expand, you may also need to start considering how personality and skill sets compliment one another within your expanding team.
“Creating a well-balanced, motivated staff that believes in your program is 90% of the challenge — but rewarding if you can succeed,” says Ash Shoukry of The Big Squeezy.
Care about your community
We’re obviously a little biased as say that Carmel is the best place to open a business, but it’s important for you to know your local community before you jump into a rental lease agreement.
“Visit your dream spot [that] you wish to open your business in regularly. Become a local to your neighbors. This [way] you can see the space with many senses to really tell if this is for you.” says Kristen McIntyre of McIntyre Vineyards/McIntrye Tasting Studio. She’s right. By showcasing your interest in the community around your potential store location early on, you’ll learn about the foot traffic in the area, the other business owners, and your potential customers.
Once you open your doors, it’s critical to keep the community (and your customers) happy. “Be diligent, work hard, be patient, focus on quality and satisfied customers, keep everyone happy – from the gardener to the landlord,” says Yongsun Kim-Mcvannel, Yongsun’s Beauty Hair Salon.
We’re pretty sure you already know this, but starting a business will be hard. There will be long hours, stress, and mistakes made. Not everyone succeeds as an entrepreneur. But our tenants all offered the same advice – keep on working hard, no matter how tough it gets.
Brad Weber, owner of Weber Goldsmith Gallery reminds all business owners: “Be honest, be smart about your money…keep optimistic, and work hard.”
Starting your own business is tough work, but for those who stick with it and push through the difficult times, there is no experience more rewarding.
“Find something you’ll enjoy doing that can help people and fills a niche and you’ll probably be successful,” says Pam Meyer, Steve Meyer, Jana Caron, partners and owners of Consignment by the Sea.
If you’re thinking of opening your business in Carmel, be sure to consider The Crossroads Carmel! You can find out more about our leasing opportunities here.