From Dream to Reality

It's simple: Take baby steps to success

Attorneys Julianna Yasinski and Nedy Williams were on the fast track at the national labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson. With six-figure salaries and future partnerships a lock, their stars were definitely rising. But both women still envisioned and dreamed of operating their own enterprise someday.

“Nedy and I always knew we were destined to own our own business. We had brainstormed ideas about different businesses we could start,” said Yasinski, an attorney of seven years. “We never considered our own law firm. Then we thought, ‘Why can’t we take it to the next level and start our own law firm?’”

In January 2003, their small dream succeeded in an enormous way as the doors of Williams Yasinski L.L.P. (www.williamsyasinski.com) opened. A boutique employment law practice based in Los Angeles, the firm specializes in employment law counseling, litigation, and investigations. From their example, you can glean how to build an enterprise by just taking the first step.

“You have to believe in the possibilities. Once we had that belief, everything else followed. Don’t doubt your ability to do it,” says Williams, an attorney of eight years. “We did our research, planned ahead, delegated what we didn’t know, hit the pavement networking, joined organizations, and had fun with it. We did really well the first year, stayed in the black, and ended up with a profit.”According to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there were approximately 22.9 million businesses in the U.S. in 2002. There were 550,100 new firms alone in 2002 with 38,155 filing bankruptcy. To ensure that your new business remains open, here is some important advice to remember.

“The most important thing you should think about when deciding to start a business is what is your passion and what do you like to do,” says Janet Attard, author of The Home Office and Small Business Answer Book (Henry Holt & Co. Inc.; $19.95) and president of Businessknowhow.com (www.businessknowhow.com), a small business destination site. “Then ask yourself if there is a market for what you want to do and can you reach people with it? After you’ve answered those questions, write a business plan and a marketing plan.”

Research your business interest at the library and on sites like the SBA (www.sba.gov). Also, talk to entrepreneurs in the field. If you need startup cash, check with the SBA, the Economic Development Corp. in your city, banks, your credit card company, family members, and possibly investors. Visit an accountant to have him or her set up your books properly.

“If you don’t have much capital, you can work from home. Start with what you have and grow the business out to the money you earn,” says Attard. “Don’t hire employees until you can afford to. You can outsource or hire someone to do freelance work.”

For a free business planning worksheet, sign on to www.businessknowhow.com/startup/planningwks.htm. For a free market planning worksheet, sign on to www.business knowhow.com/startup/marketplanning.htm. For answers to frequently asked questions about small businesses and important statistics, go to http://app1.sba.gov/faqs/faqindex.cfm?areaID=24.

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