A group of about 20 business owners, aspiring business owners and business students met in Edmonds City Hall’s Brackett Room Thursday night to talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur, and how networking with each other can help their success.
Appropriately called 425 Launch, the program was developed by the Economic Development Committee of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. The goal is to promote and foster entrepreneurship by providing an every-other-month forum where business owners and those who aspire to start a business can help each other along their entrepreneurial journey.
Leading the group was Bob Rinehart, an Economic Development Committee member who runs a training camp for entrepreneurs, and saw the sharing that took place as the participants got to know one another. “They began feeding off each other, sharing experiences,” Rinehart said. “Business is a very dynamic thing, never static, and we can learn a great deal from each other.”
Frank Yamamoto, owner of Edmonds’ Running in Motion, said his passion for what he sells — running shoes and apparel — is a key to his success. Noting that his hobbies are running and cycling, Yamamoto said that liking what you do “helps you sustain yourself. When you venture out on your own, you really have to have that passion,” he said.
The group discussed a variety of basics that entrepreneurs had questions about, including where to get funding for a business start-up, the value of fear (it makes you work harder to avoid failure) and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and your ability to succeed.
Having a business plan is key, Rinehart and Yamamoto agreed. And when you are ready to hire employees, there was a valuable piece of advice offered by Matt Mikulsky, owner of advertising agency Chatter Creative: Before hiring anyone, evaluate your own skills and abilities, then fill in the gaps with those who have a different skill set.
And don’t forget the most important rule of owning a business, Yamamoto said. “The customer is really gold,” he noted. “Without the customer, you have nothing.”
425 Launch will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20. For more information, contact the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce at 425-670-1496.