Making It: Local small business owners share their perspective on what it takes.
Brickwood Boutique, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
What advice would you give to someone starting a business in Cape Girardeau?
Start as small as possible to test the market. I was fortunate enough to start off by renting a small space in the Indie House on the first floor. As I grew, I expanded upstairs into bigger spaces, and now my business is comprised of four spaces upstairs. So don't be afraid to try new things, but don't go too big too fast.
Mowear USA, Inc., Jackson, Missouri, and Patton, Missouri
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been in business?
I would say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to have a quality staff and be able to trust them and their decision-making ability. You can’t do everything yourself, so having a staff that you can count on is invaluable.
Bistro Saffron, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
What is your advice to someone who is just starting out as an entrepreneur?
You must be ready to check off a long list of items. There are a few areas to keep in mind for anyone seeking to own a local restaurant or café: you have years of experience, you have passion, you love a variety of food, you’ve worked all positions in a restaurant, including front of the house and back in the kitchen. You have strong accounting knowledge, people skills, a good sense of decorations, are well-organized, know your products and have a clear concept.
Unless you have an endless startup capital and/or investor, I recommended starting up a small restaurant or café first so you can enjoy pursuing your dreams and taking care of yourself at the same time. Stay healthy, and live by example.
The Ground-a-bout, Jackson, Missouri
What advice would you give to a new business owner, or to someone who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
My advice: if you decide to take the leap of faith, just do it! Give it everything you have and keep it simple. Always remember where you started, and remember the first idea that you had about the way you wanted your business to be and how you wanted it to be perceived, and don't ever lose sight of that. Accept help from your regulars and always listen to their opinions, because you might just be surprised. Get your feet under you, and stay humble because without customers you don't have a business!