Andy Schwartz, owner of AJ Adhesives, Chris Edmonds, owner of Element 74, and Laurie Everett, owner of Annie Laurie's Antiques, took part in a panel discussion about how they got started, how their business stay competitive and what they look for in employees.
"You create your own destiny and if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen," said Everett. Her antique store on Broadway in Cape Girardeau has 7,000 square-feet of unique and vintage items. Everett is also expanding her business to include interior design and home staging.
For those thinking of starting their own business it's important that they manage their expectations, Schwartz said.
"A lot of people say they want to start their own business, when really, they just don't want to work for somebody else and they want to make a good income," he said. "You can't expect to have a private jet and have 30 people loving you every day when you walk in the door."
Schwartz graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1986 and after selling industrial adhesives in Chicago he moved back to St. Louis, where he grew up, and started his own company, AJ Adhesives. His company, which employs 32 people, has locations in Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, Seattle
There comes a time for every entrepreneur when they realize they can't continue to operate their business on their own and must hire employees to help them.
For Edmonds, he said it was his wife who told him he was doing too much. Edmonds' website and custom software development company Element 74 in Cape Giradeau has been in business for more than 10 years. Edmonds also attended Southeast and has hired Southeast students as interns and employees. He's looking for people who have the right attitude and are disciplined.
"You don't have to be smart to be successful, but the better the attitude you have the more likely you'll be to succeed," Edmonds said.
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