Tips on Starting a Small Business

You know the pros of starting a small business: being your own boss and seeing a small idea grow into a successful company. The cons? You don't even know how to get started!

According to a recent Kauffman Firm Survey, Latina-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of all women-owned businesses. Maribel Lieberman, founder of MarieBelle Fine Chocolates in New York City, has turned her amor for food into a profitable business. Here, she shares her tips for entrepreneurs.

Be Passionate
Lieberman says she became an entrepreneur at 8 years old, selling caramelos in school. She really became drawn to food and cooking while working at a catering company, which eventually led her to create her empresa de chocolate.

"I did research on chocolate, traveling to Belgium and France, until I discovered chocolate really came from Latin America," says Lieberman. "When I learned about the culture of the cacao, I was fascinated and knew I needed to do this." Lieberman's love for comida combined with chocolate's cultural history only increased her desire to open a chocolate business.

Set Goals
Instead of setting large, long-term goals, Lieberman recommends a more practical approach. "I make short goals for myself, and I achieve them," she says. "Then, I set new goals."

Also, stay realistic with your goals: You can't expect to make money right away. "Be patient," says Lieberman. "A business is like having a bebé: You need to feed and nurture it. It doesn't become successful overnight. But once you earn it, you won't lose it as easily, because you know how much work it took to get here."

Know Cuánto Cuesta
It's crucial to account for all of the costs involved with starting your own business. "Costs aren't just the items you buy; there are unseen costs too," says Lieberman. "There are taxes, insurance and overhead: rent, electricity and more."

If you're more of a creative type, work with someone from the start to help you manage these costs, suggests Lieberman. This will help make your company more profitable quickly.

Finally, be ready to work hard. "The main thing is to be brave and just do it," says Lieberman. "There will always be roadblocks, but if this is what's in your heart, go for it."

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