Business Basics for Kittitas County
By: Sarah Truglio
5 Myths of Starting a Business:
We have all had that daydream of owning our own business, usually right after our boss yells at us for messing something up for the umpteenth thousand time or losing that BIG client to another sales person. Few pursue the “business for self” ADVENTURE, at least not without thoroughly researching the idea first.
I am here to help you navigate and make the process a little easier, by debunking some popular “Starting a New Business” myths.
Myth # 1 Start Up Funding -There are FREE Government grants available to help with the startup costs of your New Business
Reality: The Government does not give away money to start businesses. There are
small business loans available from your banking institutions, some restrictions apply, and you must qualify for these loans. Check with your local bank for small business loan criteria. Other nontraditional sources for funding are Certified SBA Microloan Intermediaries.
NOTE: Most small businesses are self-funded, by bootstrapping and borrowing from friends and family members.
Myth #2 There are NO Resources available to Startup Businesses
Reality: There are many local resources available to help you work through the steps of starting, running and growing your small business.
Start at your local Chamber of Commerce, they are a wealth of information to help you make contacts & provide networking experiences. SCORE, a volunteer mentor organization & Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) can help you develop a strong business plan, market research, organizational development and exporting assistance just to name a few. As well, the Ellensburg Business Development Authority offers a Business Incubator.
Myth #3 Advertising on Social Media is a Marketing Campaign
Reality: While advertising on Social Media is an important component of a promotional strategy, many ingredients go into a successful marketing campaign. First off knowledge of your industry is important, identifying your target market and knowing what your competition is doing is equally imperative. Pricing your product or services, promotion/advertising and placement of your business are all key factors in determining a fruitful marketing campaign.
Myth #4 You will have more free time and make more money if you start your own business
Reality: On average business owners spend more than 40 hours per week at work and long after employees have left for the day, they are still there finishing up paperwork, filing reports, paying sales tax and going over tasks for the next day. Most business owners find they have less free time than working a traditional 9-5 job. As for the money side of things, very few new businesses show profit from the get go, make sure you plan financially, so you can pay your personal debts.
Myth #5 The Customer’s experience doesn’t matter
Reality: A positive customer experience is VERY important, in todays market customers have options as to where to buy products and services, if you are not engaging with your customers they may choose to do business elsewhere. Good Customer Service often wins out over price, which helps increase revenue and sales.
Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart, but with a little time, help from local resources and tons of research you can be successful. In the beginning you will work more hours and get paid less, but if you set your business up correctly as your business grows you will soon master the ability to have more freedom and be your own boss. The positive benefits to starting your own business far outweigh the negative.
Sarah Truglio is a Business Advisor for the Washington Small Business Development Center, located in Yakima, WA.
SBDC offers guidance to help businesses create a practical, step by step plan for success. With a network of advisors in locations across the state of Washington SBDC provides community-based services to client businesses from the Canadian Border to the Columbia River. Our core services revolve around assisting our clients with making better informed business decisions to grow and sustain their businesses. We provide in-depth, confidential, no cost customized one-on one business advising, business training and advisor assisted market intelligence.
Join us for Art Walk on April 6th and May 4th from 5PM-7PM to check out our featured artist. Or stop by during business hours, Mon-Friday from 9AM-5PM!
Jen Oertli is best known for her mixed media work, including dream catchers, jewelry, glass, and acrylic paintings.
Her art is inspired by the natural beauty of the Cascade Mountain range and sweeping views of Central Washington.
Jen currently resides in her hometown of Cle Elum, WA.
Hooray for Entrepreneurs!
34 contestants registered for the 2018 Enterprise Challenge, several from our very own Kittitas County.
We can't wait to hear all about their exciting businesses. Business pitches are due Friday 2/1 and we will announce the TOP 16 on February 9th!
Your Catalyst team is in the business of supporting entrepreneurs and creatives, and artists are both!
We are proud members of Downtown Ellensburg's First Friday Art Walk, a monthly showcase of artists and musicians from the valley and beyond.
We invite artists to showcase their work for two months in our Downtown Ellensburg location.
What You Get
Join the Ranks of Fellow Art Walk Artists
The Entrepreneurial Spirit is a series of interviews conducted by Catalyst
Co-Working with local entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our goal is to give local entrepreneurs some insight and advice into starting your own small business.
Interview with Greg Harvill of Jolt Java
Q: What were the biggest initial hurdles to starting your business and how did you overcome them?
A: My biggest hurdle was skill development. I had never been a barista. So I had to learn the coffee trade, the equipment, and the tools. My second hurdle was inventory control, or as I call it “chasing the inventory”… as you grow you don’t have a predictable consumption and use pattern, my supplier and roaster are in Yakima and I didn't want to compromise my product…there were a lot of frantic late night calls to my roaster.
Q: Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
A: The previous owner gave me a lot of training, and my roaster worked with me a lot. For the first month of business I worked along side a friend of the family who worked as a barista in town for a long time. She was invaluable.
Q: How do you approach marketing your business?
A: It sounds cliché but my favorite way of marketing is word of mouth...when you make great products, people talk about them, so making a great product in a timely and consistent fashion, will get you consistent customers. Secondly we use a lot of Facebook. Luckily my wife has 1000 friends so through parents and kids and coworkers we’re able to reach a broad demographic of people. I have an 8 year old friend of the family that insists on going to jolt because it is the best Italian soda he’s ever had. And we recently went viral on Snapchat with our “Ellensburg Sunrise”!
Q: How do you come up with your signature drinks?
A: A lot of it is happenstance. A customer came and I made her a drink, and then she came back and worked on the flavors with our barista and together they came up with the sunrise. She was actually the first to post it to Snapchat. We named it the “Ellensburg Sunrise” to connect it locally, and thought it would be a fad... its become one of our most popular drinks!
Q: What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had?
A: Nothing is guaranteed...but on a more positive note customer service. Again it sounds cliché, but focus on the customer and customer demands...people aren't just coming to you for the product. They come for friendliness, service, and consistency from 5:30AM-5:00PM Monday through Friday.
Q: What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?
A: As a business owner, recharging comes pretty naturally. If you don’t recharge, your business will suffer, when you are owner/operator you have to recharge at the end of the day. Recharging is organic, its do or die. I also recharge just through the pride of ownership, watching the business grow, and watching the customers who come back everyday to support us.
Q: So you’ve been open for 6 months now. Is there anything you would have done differently now that you know a little more?
A: There isn’t a whole lot. You know, I had done my homework on the property, spoken to the previous business owner. The only thing I wish I had done is researched the age of the assets. I had been going there every day so I knew everything worked...some of the equipment will have to be replaced in a few years.
Q: Is there any advice you could give to someone hoping to start their own small business?
A: Find the passion in the work. I love coffee and am a nerd at heart, you know there are over 1400 chemical reactions that go into the making of coffee...so it was easy for me to find the passion. If you find the passion in the work it will sustain you. Also make sure you have a market. I have friends that have the passion, great ideas and creativity but fail because there is no market. Be patient, work hard, don’t compromise on your standards, and hunker down and don’t expect to get paid for awhile.