Nami Grogan Parlor Room Grooming Melrose
The story of a startup that will become a franchise
The Start of Something Great
What Makes Los Angeles a Hotbed for Startups?
My Answer: I had to think for a second and get away from the general corny, responses- weather, smart people, tv, my neighbor did it.
What does it take to be successful? You need a good idea. Actually, you need several good ideas, just in case the first, second or even third don’t make it. Where does creativity come from? Everywhere — from your environment, influences, friends, family, teachers, mentors and even your dreams. It helps to be a part of a large multi-cultural city that embraces culture.
To get your ideas going, you will need connections. Someone to guide you in the right direction. Steer you left and right down the path of success. Where are these people? They are in networking groups, referrals, and people you pay for advice like lawyers, consultants, CPAs, etc.
Last but not least, you will need the oil that greases the wheel – money, money, money. It is hard to build a company off your credit card and savings account. People do it and bless the ones that are successful. Let’s be real. Are the big banks going to open their vaults to your new “hip” entrepreneurial idea? Probably not.
Earlier this summer, I saw program where Mayor Eric Garcetti was speaking about his economic development plans. As a business person, I am somewhat skeptical about politics but I heard the new initiative was worth listening to.
I was blown away by the thought process, the focus is to build and help small businesses. Many of these companies that make up every city are mom-and-pop retail shops, niche products and services that cater to the local market — there are so many and they are the backbone of the community.
Enthusiastic about the program, I reached out to a few contacts who led me to Frank Aguirre at the City. Frank suggested I speak with Derek Kissinger, who works for MCS, a city regional center funded by the city to guide entrepreneurs.
Through this process of knocking on doors and stepping in for meetings, I realized the people that work for this City are truly genuine.
When you learn something new, you should test it.
My barber, Regina Grogan, is a very professional, smart woman. She occasionally asks for business advice and makes the 30-minute process of cutting my hair very enjoyable. Then she tells me one day, “Dane, I want to own my own shop.” She has been telling me this for years but that day, she was dead serious.
I asked, “Do you have a business plan?”
“Do you have savings?”
“Well, not enough.”
“Do you have a concept?”
I thought about the conversations and knew there was an opportunity to get Regina's shop off the ground.
As a business consultant, I take pride in being knowledgeable about different industries, but I didn’t know much barbershops: how they generate revenue, who is the client, cost factors, location. It has been a learning process for her and me.
I connected Regina with Derek and after a long process she received an SBA loan.
I am happy to report, last week she signed a lease for her first space on Melrose; I say “first” because there will be more.
It starts with an idea: someone creative enough to think outside the box and willing to take the risk to make it happen. Then, there is the connection: having access to someone who you can ask for advice and help you with your goals. To complete your goal, you need capital, wants and dreams aren’t enough there needs to be liquidity.
So, what makes Los Angeles a hotbed for entrepreneurs? C + C + C = Startups