Great Ideas for your Small Business:
Find the Business That’s Right for You (MURIEL SIEBERT)
In 1967 muriel siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. A true pioneer in finance, she was made a partner in a major Wall Street brokerage firm, yet was turned down when she originally sought sponsorship for her application for a seat on the NYSE floor.
Today her thriving investment management company offers discount brokerage services, online financial transactions, advice for individual investors, industry newsletters, and a lot more.
Muriel Siebert devotes her time to many areas besides finance. Her credits are far too numerous to list, but her dossier includes honorary doctorates, fellowships, trustee- ships, and directorial positions in public and private sectors.
She was gracious enough to contribute this sage advice: If you don’t really know what you’re good at, starting a small business is an expensive way to find out. A burning desire to be your own boss may be a necessary condition for taking the plunge as an entrepreneur—but it’s not sufficient for success.
The Greek sages said “Know Thyself”—that is indeed the beginning of wisdom. Before going out on your own, I recommend taking some serious time off to explore your areas of strength and weakness.
I’ve come to identify four areas of ability which distinguish most people. In my experience, people are good at working with either words, numbers, things, or people.
If you’re fluent with well-chosen words, why not create conferences or training seminars in fields where you can do some public speaking? If you already have some experience in a particular field, use your strong verbal skills to share your knowledge.
If you’re comfortable crunching numbers and enjoy detailed analytic work, how about concentrating on the fast- growing audit business? You can analyze utility bills, hospital bills, mortgage payments, and all the other daunting documents that people hate to handle. The beautiful part is that this work can be done part-time. Or if you are at least average in handling numbers, train as a financial planner.
Were you born with golden hands? If you can fix anything from leather to lampshades, a repair business may be your bag. Even in our affluent society, folks don’t like to throw things away. You might want to sublease some space from a mall merchant—you’ll both benefit from each other’s traffic.
Finally, if you are great with people, consider signing on as an independent sales rep for a company whose product you respect, especially if you are handy enough to demonstrate it.
You may have noticed that entrepreneurs need to com- bine several strengths to launch their ships—and to avoid steering courses where their weaknesses will wreck them. Match your own strength to the opportunities popping up around you, as lifestyles change along with the economy. Test your idea. Don’t commit to a long lease or expensive equipment until you are certain that the idea is viable.
No matter how favorable the financing terms may be, how glowing the prospects of the industry, if a prospective business bores you or scares you, step away from it. This advice is born from decades of experience. Siebert proved herself to be an entrepreneurial risk-taker from the very start of her business career.