Being an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship are words that are thrown around a lot today, but not many know what it truly means to be one.
Entrepreneurs don’t always have to start their own company from the ground up, and they don’t have to have an employee list of 10 or less.
To be an entrepreneur, all you need is an idea and the willingness to work.
“A true entrepreneur has a vision and the passion and determination to carry that vision out. Not every entrepreneur invents a new product or has an innovative idea; many
“A small business can go up to 500 and even 1,000 employees depending on the line of business,” Bridges said. “So most businesses you’re looking at in Auburn qualify as a small business.”
While Cohan is not the owner, she runs the day-to-day operations and serves as a consultant to the owner.
“He has been in retail for years and wanted to open a store in Auburn,” Cohan said. “A gap came open, and he kind of envisioned a boutique, but he didn’t know much about college girls and clothing, and so I came in.”
Cohan, for example, has been with Charming Oaks since its beginning in August 2016 but depending on how far developed a business idea is will determine each businesses timeline.
“Some people take longer to start than others,” Bridges said. “Some people may be in the very early stages, and they may not start this year, but they may start a year or two down the road. I would say, of the people that come to me, probably 80 percent start a business.”
While there are many challenges associated with starting a business, continuing to run it is a challenge all on its own.
Managing employees is one endeavor Cohan has dealt with greatly.
“Learning to understand that everybody’s personalities don’t have to mesh,” Cohan said. “They don’t have to be best friends, they just have to work together. If they don’t like the person they are working with, it’s OK. You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t only affect your work life, it affects every aspect of your life, including home life.
Cohan has been managing her family life and work life for many years now as a mother and entrepreneur.
“The mom guilt is a real thing,” Cohan said. “My children are not going to suffer because dinner was late or we had
Taking Cohan and Bridges’ advice, the next place to go is to the Alabama Small Business Development Center at Auburn University.
There, Bridges and her team help entrepreneurs in every stage of running a business, from starting from just a vision to expanding to a second location.
“We are the Alabama Small Business Development Center at Auburn University,” Bridges said. “The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network is a statewide, inter-institutional program to enhance economic growth in Alabama. ASBDC services include one-on-one expert business advising and comprehensive information services. Our advisors add value by providing in-depth advising and technical assistance to business owners to help develop sound marketing strategies, understand industry trends, develop realistic financial projections and access capital.”
When giving advice to beginning entrepreneurs.
“Research – know and understand your market,” Bridges said. “Put together financial projections. Surround yourself with people who have succeeded in the areas where you are weakest.”
To get more information on how to get involved with the ASBDC and their services, entrepreneurs should follow the links to register online at www.asbdc.org.