WGN-TV Show Notes – February 16, 2005

Every year, millions of Americans strike out on their own and add the word “entrepreneur” to their resume. But with a failure rate as high as 80 percent, the fear factor alone scares many wanna-bes away. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Starting a business is a life-long dream for some. But for others, it’s a little like making lemonade with the lemons life has handed you. What’s the recipe for success? Keep stirring until you get it right.

For some, like former CFO Dino Micheli, starting a business is a life-long dream.

“There comes a point in time where you accomplish what you want and you want to go and do something else,” Micheli says.

For others, it’s what’s you do after you’ve been downsized and realize you can’t get another job that will replace the income and opportunity you had in corporate America.

“I was downsized and was getting closer to 50 and thought it would be good to be my own boss,” says Nancy Howarter, ShapeXpress co-owner.

For Nancy and Kim Howarter, the seed money for their ShapeXpress franchise came from severance Kim received after he was laid off two years ago.

“It was something we were interested in because of the health and fitness side of it. So we thought it would be a good fit for us,” Kim says.

If you’re thinking about starting a business, you’ve got to know the odds are against you. In the first two years, 50 percent of all businesses fail. But if you have passion for what you’re doing, your odds go up dramatically.

“You can’t just do it for the money. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. Most overnight successes take 7 to 10 years,” says Barry Moltz, author and entrepreneur.

According to Barry Moltz, entrepreneur and author of the book “You Need To Be a Little Crazy,” it isn’t that successful entrepreneurs have a better idea, they just execute their ideas in a better way.

“People think that if they build it, people will come. That’s not true. Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean you will be successful,” Moltz says.

In fact, the most successful small businesses are those that offer a specific product or service.

“When you start a business, do not try to be everything to everybody because that will lead to your downfall,” Moltz says.

You also have to know your own strengths and weaknesses.

“I felt all my skills as being a financial person, did transfer. I look at a home, for example, as also an investment, which a lot of people don’t do that,” Micheli says.

Planning helps. Dino Micheli planned his transition from employee to being self-employed, and got his real estate license before he left the corporate world.

“I didn’t want to go from ground zero because I knew it was going to be difficult. So I planned two or three years ahead to be able to do this,” Micheli says.

Part of the planning is figuring out how you’re going to pay the bills until the cash starts coming in.

“I think you have to plan for at least a year that you’re not going to get income from the business,” Moltz says. Or find a way to live on one spouse’s salary while the other

“We live on my salary and benefits,” Kim says.

And no matter what, you have to be willing to risk it all.

“We’ve pretty much put everything into this and that’s the way I think it has to be. You’ve got to go to make it work because if it doesn’t work, in our case, you lose everything,” Kim says.


Nancy and Kim Howarter, owners ShapeXpress for Women
325 South Barrington Rd Schaumburg, IL
For information: (847) 352-9816

If you’re interested in opening up a franchise, like a McDonald’s, Arby’s or ShapeXpress, there are companies that help you figure out which franchise would be best for you. The Howarters worked with Frannet.

Frannet: the franchise network
1860 W. Winchester Rd.
Suite 203
Libertyville, IL 60048

Barry Moltz, entrepreneur and author
“You Need to Be a Little Crazy : The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business” and “You Need To Be A Little Crazy”

Dino Marcheli, broker associate
Coldwell Banker
792 E. Rand Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Office phone: 847-222-5000
Office fax: (847)222-8845
Email: [email protected]

The small business administration (SBA) has tremendous resources for would-be entrepreneurs and for those who already own a small business. Small business data and research reports are now available through the office of advocacy. For general information, try www.sba.gov. For the office of advocacy, try www.sba.gov/advo. Some of the newer research reports include “entrepreneurship in the 21st century and “the small business economy: 2004.

There are numerous other great resources for entrepreneurs on the web. Here are some that are worth checking out:

Gaebler Ventures Resources for Entrepreneurs
Inc Magazine
Entrepreneur Magazine
Gaebler Ventures Franchise Directory

Need personal finance advice or real estate advice? Send your questions to Ilyce Glink: www.ThinkGlink.com

Copyright © 2005, WGN-TV

Feb. 16, 2005.