Win Race

What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur


Let’s say that you have been dreaming of starting your own business. However, the industry that you have chosen is somewhat unknown to you.

What should you do?

You can hire a business consultant who is an expert in the industry; or if at first you cannot afford to hire someone, there is another solution. What most successful business people will recommend is for new entrepreneurs to first seek some job experience by working for someone else in their chosen industry. The question you should be asking yourself is how long should I work for someone else? Normally, you try to learn as much as you possibly can while working for someone else; and when you think you have learned enough to operate a similar business, you may be ready to start our own business.



Many successful business people have used their natural given talents to succeed in some sort of business enterprise. Occasionally, the talents were developed because someone cared enough to assist them during their earlier years to nurture these talents. Sometime, these business people were fortunate to have been born with unusual talents.

However, what is really important is before they considered going into business for themselves, they take serious inventories of all of their talents and acquired skills.

Most of us realize the secret to successful enterprises is providing quality products and/or services which are affordable and generally needed by society. Launching a new business is difficult enough for anyone; but if a person possesses the talent and the passion that a business really needs, he or she will have a greater opportunity for success. For example, many former athletes have used their athletic abilities and successes to launch their businesses.



The City of Fountain Valley truly has a multi-talented entrepreneur. However, it is not everyday that one finds a person who possesses many different unrelated talents.

I have discovered such a person who was so well prepared before selecting his chosen field that he may have been overly qualified for his vocation. To begin, this person is a certified grand prix race car mechanic who also happens to be a successful triathlon athlete. Amazingly, he is also a gourmet chef with all the appropriate training and credentials. His education and training in the restaurant and hotel business began when he was barely thirteen years old. He accelerated from an apprentice cook to a gourmet chef within a relative short period of time. He worked in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in Orange County including the Irvine Marriott, the Registry Hotel, the Surf and Sand Hotel, and many others. However, this person was not completely satisfied with his training and professional work experiences. He decided to enroll in the well-known California Culinary Academy in San Francisco for a 16-month chef training program. Naturally, after sixteen months of extensive training, he graduated with honors.

So remember that you should learn as much as possible in order to prepare yourself for an exciting business future.


Let me introduce you to a remarkable business person! She first started as an elementary school teacher. She enjoyed inspiring her students to learn and to prepare themselves for a better life as adults. However, she also noticed that her students’ parents were having constant financial problems. She asked herself what she could do to help the whole family have a better quality of life.

However, to accomplish this goal, she realized she had to qualify as a certified financial planner. In 1989, she became a Certified Financial Planner and has never regretted her decision to enter the field. She remembers starting her business in her home and her kitchen table was her first office. Fortunately, her list of clients quickly grew causing her to consider moving her financial planning business to a more professional environment. In November of 1999, she and her staff moved the business to an office building.

Fifteen years ago a college administrator discovered her and asked her to teach financial investment courses as a part-time community college instructor. She successfully combined college teaching with her major interest as a financial investment planner.


Statisticians have recently reported that on the average, Americans change careers three times over the course of their lifetime. Today’s article is dedicated to a person who changed her career at least three times. She is a current proud owner and manager of a very successful music school. However, before becoming an accomplished businesswoman, her first dream career was to be a professional concert pianist. After earning her MA Degree in Piano Performance from a fine university, she quickly realized that her dream as a concert pianist would not be fulfilled.

She discovered her second career by offering private music lessons at home. She realized that teaching a few students each week in her home would not provide enough income for the family.

Her third career was to open her own music school in 1987. The school was an instant success because it filled an immediate artistic need for the immediate community. Due to her continuous success as owner and manager of her music school, she recently decided to expand her business. She now offers both music and art classes to more than 500 weekly students.


This entrepreneur is current owner of a tax preparation and bookkeeping service. He first had a distinguished academic training by graduating from two prestigious institutions, the U.S. Naval Academy and M.I.T. with degrees in Naval Architecture and Electrical Engineering. His professional career has also been incredible, serving 20 years in the Navy and then employed by a large firm as an electronics engineer 18 years. He also founded a non-profit corporation serving the developmentally disabled. He recently, he launched his current small business providing bookkeeping and tax preparation services for individuals and small business owners.

During his professional career he discovered some business secrets that he wishes to share. One, is to carefully select your business advertising media and to constantly evaluate its advertising effectiveness. Two, is to realize that reaching your specific target market will take time and money. For new business owners, they should be patient and always optimistic. New business owners must constantly try to find affordable ways to reach their respective target market.


Forty-eight years ago, a young man launched his insurance business in South Gate, California. In 1957, starting a business and being successful was as difficult as it is today if not harder. As the years progressed, his children showed an interest in helping their parents in the family business. Eventually, the son followed his father’s invaluable footsteps and decided to become an insurance agent. For many years, the son worked side-by-side with his father. In 1989 the father decided to retire and transferred the business to his son.

After forty-eight flourishing years as an insurance agency, its original motto is still appropriate: “You must treat others the way you want to be treated. Give your clients more than they expect from you as a business owner.” The agency continues to receive many business referrals from its current satisfied clients due to the excellent services provided for the past forty-eight years.

The son gives full credit for his success to his father. As a young man, he learned from his father the complete insurance business. “My father was a true humanitarian who believed in helping individuals and families find the best and most economical insurance coverage for their needs.” He stated “It is amazing how much we learn from our parents. My father’s careful professional training and life example made me what I am today.”


Jewelry enterprise is a fascinating business that in this case covered three generations. The first generation was initiated by the grandmother in Vietnam. Then her son and his wife established their own jewelry business while still residing in Vietnam. In 1980, the family immigrated to the United States. Shortly after arriving, the wife developed a retail family jewelry business in Garden Grove and the husband was employed as an engineer in a large firm. Two of their three sons soon showed an interest in the family business. Both brothers became involved as on-site jewelers, designers, and certified gemologists. One of the two sons is now the managing owner while the other brother assist in the daily operations of the business. The mother still enjoys helping her sons.

In 1995, the business moved from Garden Grove to its present location in Fountain Valley. Today, the retail portion of the business is steadily growing; but the demand for wholesale diamonds has been overwhelming. The wholesale part of the business is expanding faster than anticipated by both brothers.

One of the two sons is the main purchaser of diamonds for the business. He travels worldwide to acquire the right diamonds for their clients.

The two brothers recommend to other business owners the following: Constantly research your target market and try to have enough time to analyze the direction of your business.


Briefly describe the products and/or services your business provides: My business is a family owned and operated full service flower shop specializing in creating unique designs for all occasions. We give each order personal attention to always guarantee 100% satisfaction. We carry a large selection of fresh cut flowers, European dish gardens and unique floral arrangements.

Why did you start or purchase your business? I have been associated with this flower shop since 1993 as a flower designer. When the opportunity arose to purchase the business in 2000, my husband and I along with my parents jumped at the opportunity to fulfill our dreams, a passion of ours for many years.

What work experiences, skills, and degrees did you possess prior to starting or buying your business? I have learned designed techniques by enrolling in flower design classes and becoming a certified flower designer. My design staff and I are currently enrolled in design classes to keep up with the current designs and trends of the flower industry.

What is your target market? Our customers are of all ages and everyone loves flowers. The flower shop is the official florist of numerous bridal stores. In addition, the flower shop has participated in bridal shows throughout Orange County. Our goal is to make our clients’ weddings or special events their most magical day of their lives. One other service that we provide is a free wedding and occasion consultation.

What are some of your business recommendations for start-up businesses? Get to know your customers and their flower needs. Try to always offer the best possible customer service. Always keep up with current target market needs.


Business slogan: Custom Approach to Fine Jewelry

Briefly describe the products and/or services your business provides:
We are a full service independent family jewelry store. We sell fine jewelry including diamonds, gold, platinum, and silver, and we carry all colored gemstones. We offer full service guaranteed repairs. We specialize in custom design using the latest technology such as CAD and laser welding along with the finest of hand craftsmanship.

Why did you start or purchase your business? Our family started the business in 1917. The business has always been a family tradition and a passion to design gemstones and precious metals. We love working with customers designing and selecting something special to express how they feel about someone they love or for themselves.

What work experiences, skills, and degrees did you possess prior to starting or buying your business?
As children, we worked in our family jewelry store and started making jewelry at age 11. From a young age, we always excelled in school in art and design. Our business has won two international jewelry design contest from the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO).

What is your target market? Most of our customers are women who are from the middle to upper middle income desiring to purchase something beautiful for themselves and young bridal customers from 22 to 34 or older.

What are your current most challenging business issues? Most of our business challenges come from price increase of raw materials, such as diamonds and precious metals and the competition from the Internet. In addition, we need to maintain quality inventory control, and provide appropriate and sufficient advertising and marketing efforts.

If you were to start over, what would you do differently? Nothing! We realize that it is time to enjoy what we have and not what we could do over.

What are some of your business recommendations for start-up businesses? Take your time to select the best location and have a business plan before you open for business. Start advertising and marketing two to three months before you even open your doors. Be fully inventoried with the right merchandise at the start so that you don’t alienate potential clients.

Do you have anything else to share with the business community or your clients? Treat your clients as you would like to be treated. Always give a good sharp competitive price and back it up with service, warranties, and follow up. Do everything possible to become worthy of your client’s trust.


Slogan: “What is right is more important than who is right” from John Wooden

Briefly describe the products and/or services your business provides: The Estate is a mobilehome park community. The staff provides spaces/lots for residents to place their new and resale manufactured homes within our community. The Estate provides a manufactured home life style within the City at a per square footage cost below conventional housing. The staff maintains the common areas, pool/spa and recreation/clubhouse for our residents and their guests.

Why did you start or purchase your business? The Estate started approximately in 1965. My father became owner of the Estate in 1967. As his son, I became active in our family business in 1985.

What work experiences, skills, and degrees did you possess prior to starting or buying your business? I attended UCLA majoring in business. When I joined the family business in 1985, I had to relearn all phases of mobilehome park operations.

How long have you been in business? The Estate has been in business for forty years.

What is your target market? First time home buyers and customers selling their conventional homes and either down sizing or desiring to change their housing life style.

What are your current most challenging business issues? Customer education which concerns mobilehome residency laws. People tend to live closer together in a park community which may create, at times, some typical social concerns such as residents getting along and respecting other resident spaces.

If you were to start over, what would you do differently? We should have offered long term leasing agreements sooner than we did starting in 1986-87.

What are some of your business recommendations for start-up businesses? Study your field very carefully and speak with successful operators in that field. Have a genuine passion for your career, not just a job and work the hours necessary to be successful. Most importantly, treat people with dignity and respect. Your customers will respond accordingly.

Do you have anything else to share with the business community or clients: There will always be business challenges that you must face. Join your local professional clubs, chambers of commerce, etc., and stay current on all legal matters relating to your business.


Slogan: “Fix it right and forget about it”

Briefly describe your business: This Auto Service provides highly qualified mechanical auto service for German manufactured cars.

Why did you start or purchase your business? “I always wanted to be self-employed and be my own boss.”

What work experiences, skills, and degrees did you possess prior to starting or buying your business? “My technical auto repair training was from 1975 to 1982 which included scanner training classes.”

How long have you been in business? “I started my business since 1986 at the same location on Harbor Boulevard.”

Who is your target market? “My target market is mainly the German automotive motoring public.”

What are your current most challenging business issues? “Due to so many new technical auto advances, my biggest challenge is keeping up with current technologies.”

If you were to start over, what would you do differently? “If I had the opportunity to start my business over, I would purchase the building instead of renting it. Also, I would have taken business management classes at a local college.”

What are some of your business recommendations for start-up businesses? “First, make sure that you have sufficient financial backing before starting your business. Second, try not to grow too fast as a business. And third, purchase equipment only when you need it and not before you need it.”

Do you have anything else to share with the business community or your clients? “I believe that there will always be business challenges that you must face. Try not to get too overwhelmed by them.”


About Bob