The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Speaker on South teaches how to run successful business

By Kat Fay/reporter

Finding a strong support system and eliminating negativity are key elements of starting a small business, an entrepreneur said Feb. 5 on South Campus.

Michelle Martin, vice president of membership at Plaid for Women — a digital tool offering women support and networking opportunities — presented Is Entrepreneurship for You? to a group of future entrepreneurs about what it takes to become a small business owner and where to begin.

Martin started her first business in 2004 when she decided her schedule was not compatible with the needs of her children, who were then in preschool.

“I wanted a flexible schedule,” she said. “I wanted to be there for my kids.”

That business has since grown into a partnership with Women’s Broadcast Network Inc. that created the Plaid for Women organization and has allowed her to share the secrets of her success with women everywhere.

“We focus on bringing women together to support each other in all areas of their life — not just business ownership,” she said.

Entrepreneurs display characteristics and personality traits such as risk-taking, multitasking and a high level of confidence, Martin said. She described them as the children who ran lemonade stands and the employees who get frustrated when they cannot implement their own ideas to make things run more smoothly in a company.

“There is a burning desire that usually shows at a young age, and that is the entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.

Although these characteristics will help a business owner, Martin said they were not requirements. She said people should research, know their strengths and work on their weaknesses so they can grow.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she said.

Another key element of starting a business is finding something that one is passionate and knowledgeable about that is marketable and profitable. Martin advised against starting a business simply because someone else says it is a good idea.

“We can easily buy into the shoulds of other people,” she said. “You have to do what you are passionate about. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy your business.”

Two of the most important aspects of owning a business are positivity and support, Martin said. Cutting out negative or toxic people and seeking out a support system can give someone the mental and physical stamina needed to help a business succeed.

“You have to find people in your life who believe in you, support you and champion you to succeed,” she said. “Connect with those people on a regular basis.”

The veteran entrepreneur said she made mistakes when she first began her business, but her support system helped her recover and move forward. Networking with other small business owners helps people learn and grow together.

“It’s OK if you haven’t done things correctly,” she said. “You can always go back and fix them.”

Even people who have already started a business can take classes and utilize the tools that are offered, Martin said.

“Starting a business is a huge life transition,” she said. “You have the power to reinvent yourself and create something new — but not on your own. You have to be willing to reach out and ask for help.”

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