Find Your Niche
Justin began learning about how to make sushi first by watching videos on YouTube.com, watching sushi chefs on cooking programs, and then by taking a one-day class on making sushi at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland. "You can learn how to do almost anything on YouTube," says Justin. He bought supplies and began making sushi for friends, experimenting with different ingredients and recipes to find the right tasty combinations. He marketed his products via social networking on Facebook, creating a steady base of customers who wanted sushi delivered to them every other week.
Dream Big, Start Small
Like many other small business owners, Justin maintains another job while his sushi business is getting off the ground. Eventually he'd like to expand to offer his products at a storefront business but for now, he's taking it slow and advises others to do the same. "What it all comes down to," says Justin "is you should do it because it's something you like to do, not because you expect to make a lot of money."
"Don't get in over your head. You don't have to have a big retail store or a huge budget. You need to create a demand for your product or service and figure out what you can offer that's different from the rest of the market. How will you go above and beyond to meet your customers' needs? Find your niche and own it."
Look for Help
Justin comes from a business-minded family. His mother, Elaine Faulkner, owns and operates the Divine Burger Bistro in Tillamook and Manzanita. Justin has watched and learned from her experience. He says, "Talk to successful people about what you want to do and get their advice. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most people set up a business and fail multiple times before they find one that works.
If it doesn't work, don't give up. Research it and find another way to make your business work."
Classes in business, marketing, and economics are important for those thinking about starting their own business. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at your local community college, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Business Oregon, local Chambers of Commerce, and economic development organizations can help. They can help you develop a business plan; provide advice about financing, marketing, and other tools for starting up a successful business.
Good planning is important according to Justin. "It's like using a GPS, if you don't put the destination point in, you won't know the steps to get there."
For more information about starting a business in Oregon, visit www.oregon4biz.com.