Tag Archives: startup

Quit looking for a job: Start your own business

25 Feb

Sure, the economy sucks, but at least you now know the true value of your home (and no, it isn’t the same as a bank). Whatever your situation, you may have thought: I’d like to start a business. And then you hit a wall, with the inevitable follow-on thought: But … how … in … the … heck … do … I … do … THAT?

You can teach yourself. Pretty heavy lifting there, but it works, if you’re OK with the psychic pain of digging out all the answers from all the phone trees and all the bureaucrats in the world. Or you can jump start the process by contacting your local Small Business Development Center (in the Gorge it’s connected with Columbia Gorge Community College).

Or you can work with a private provider of advice, someone who has been down the road and wants to smooth the bumps for you. Meet Scott See (aka J. Hammock & Associates LLC). Scott is a great guy, who escape the cube farm years ago, and isn’t looking back. He and his wife run an export business, selling into the challenging Japanese market. He also does web design and hosting and a variety of other geeky things, that help you get the job done.

He realized not long ago that he could package his experience and share it (for a price) with people who want to do something similar. It’s here: Steps to Starting Your Business, an online course, runs for a year, and costs $29 a month ($348). It includes domain registration, hosting and basic site design for your web presence.

The course covers such things as business registration, business checking, business credit cards, setting up accounting software, tax records and deductions for home office use, online bulletin boards as a customer relationship management tool, and marketing for small businesses in an electronic world.

Full disclaimer: Scott hasn’t paid me or offered me anything, and I haven’t taken the course. But I’ve worked with Scott (he hosted the Downtown Business Association site, and handled design for it), and he’s a good egg.

Call Scott at 509-493-2296.

What this town needs is a …

3 Apr

Business is about the idea. Will it sell? Is there a market for it? Can you sustain enough buzz to keep selling?

So, friends and I found ourselves recently noodling around ideas for new entries in the local scene. Dave Barringer of Naked Winery was talking about the Sushi Bait Shop — you know, the first day the fish arrives, it’s sushi; the next day, it’s bait.

More seriously, Melissa Bailey was fantasizing about the space to be vacated by Annz Panz. She’d like to see (someone else start) a Four Corners Food Court — with a bakery, lunch stand, bento shop and cereal bar (yes, cereal — apparently such a thing does exist, somewhere, Fruit Loops and all).

Hey, how about Mini-Golf? It’s so retro, it’s hot. Or, like the friend of mine once suggested, a combination bar and golf practice range … called Drink and Drive.

Other ideas itching for a dollar?

P.S. What the Hood needs now …

29 Mar

… and may we only hope, is that someone with the oven chops will decide to create a great pastry bakery. Look, I buy my occasional muffin or donut at Safeway or Rosauer’s, and South Bank Kitchen nicely covers some of this ground. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where you could get a well-made Danish, sweet breads, cakes that taste like something other than wall board and Crisco? On at least three recent occasions, three different people have told me, What we really need is a good pastry bakery! This idea, by the way, is free for the taking. Just make sure you tell me when you’re open.