Real Business Owner: Michelle Jin, Zone 6
We chatted with small business owner, Michelle Jin of Zone 6 about launching her fabulous, California-inspired handbag business in San Francisco, CA. She’s learned a lot a long the way. Here’s what she had to say…
Q. What’s the name of your business?
A. ZONE 6
Q. What business/industry are you in?
Q. What made you want to launch your own company?
I wanted to do something I really enjoy and love. Launching one’s own company can be very challenging and very risky, but at the same time, this is the only way to realize my dream and accomplish the things I believe in.
Q. What was your biggest hurdle you discovered when launching your business?
A. Getting the word out. Letting people know what we are offer and what we do is very hard.
Q. What was easier than you expected?
A. People are so open to new ideas, a new design; they are so quick to become my fans, are much easier than I expected.
Q. Did you write a business plan? Why or why not?
A. I did not write a business plan like pro at the beginning. The reason: my business has to be very flexible, has to adopt market changes all of the time; especially at the starting period. I do not really believe in writing a business plan at the early stages. Instead, but I believe in having a solid mission and end goal. I think for starting out, one should have some basic “small plans” to test out your ideas. After a lot of testing, you will have a clear idea of what you really want to do and how to execute it. At that point, it’s time to sit down and write a solid business plan based on all the real experiences you have gained.
Q. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your business?
A. I wish I had done the crowd-funding project first. I also wish I had a better understanding of marketing and sales.
Q. What services would you highly recommend outsourcing?
A. Website building, photography. For professional work, hire professionals. Don’t try to do it by yourself – you’ll just waste a lot time and money.
Q. What tasks do you think every business owner should do for themselves?
A. The owner should be in charge of building a business net work, this is the most important thing owners should do.
Q. Which books did you found helpful while getting started? Why?
A. The books that introduce your competitors’ success stories. The reason? You first thing should know who they are and what they did right to be good.
Q. What online resources did you find helpful?
A. YouTube was/is very helpful. I also think starting every morning reading the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business Week, especially small business section, is very important. You should have a big picture on business over all.
Q. What piece of advice would you like share with someone looking to start a business today?
A. Business is all about people. You have to work with people, communicate with people, partner with people. No business can be done just by the owner.Written by