Monday, November 3, 2008

We Are In, Now What?

The three of us were on the same page - we had each been working for our company for about a year - 8 months as interns and 2 months as full-time employees and were already tired of answering to the gotta love Generation Y.

Of course we thought about the difficulty of starting a business, especially given our age and lack of experience, but remained positive. Tanya mentioned her friends who owned their own clothing boutique in Boston. Our first move was setting up a meeting to talk to them. The meeting encouraged us and reinforced what we knew deep down -- that we could actually pull it off. Here were two young women who took a huge risk to do what they loved. We asked them about the investment options they explored and they introduced us to the idea of an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan. We also talked about perhaps the most stressful part of all -- choosing a location. Their shop is on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. They wanted to be in a neighborhood where they would see the same faces and vetoed Newbury Street because of the high turnover of retail shops due to there being many of them. So what we learned in this early meeting was a) we could do it in spite of our inexperience b) we could find the money to do it and c) location location location (ok, so I learned that from that Conrad Hilton book they put in the hotel rooms, but who is keeping track?).

We then started making plans and lists of things to do and people we should be talking to. There were several people in the SMG of BU community as well as Tanya's Uncle who owns a restaurant in Vermont. Mostly, though, we discussed our business model, whether we would have many seats or no seats and began familiarizing ourselves with the industry. Chin drafted a survey that we would send out to family and friends. We collected some valuable data. In fact, from the survey we found our surefire target market -- college students. Convenient, given that college students fuel Boston commerce. Also convenient given that the three of us were college students not so long ago! We, like, know our market, yo.

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