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MailTribune.com
  • Making the best of it: 'Life Is Rosey'

    Actress sees success with jewelry business after OSF doesn't offer her contract
  • Acting is a precarious occupation, and for acting couples, the hazards double. Consider Sarah Jane Nelson of Ashland.
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    • 10 tips on starting a business
      Small Business Development Center Director Jack Vitacco offers these tips to those thinking of starting a business:
      1. Seek expert help.
      2. Check out www.bizcenter.org, a guide to 19 such cen...
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      10 tips on starting a business
      Small Business Development Center Director Jack Vitacco offers these tips to those thinking of starting a business:

      1. Seek expert help.

      2. Check out www.bizcenter.org, a guide to 19 such centers in Oregon. Call the SOU Small Business Development Center at 552-8300, or e-mail Medford@BizCenter.org.

      3. Research the market. "It doesn't have to be terribly sophisticated," Vitacco says. "But be sure you can visualize a target customer, be sure you can reach him, and be sure there's a need."

      4. Know the financials. Learn to put together a profit-and-loss statement and a cash-flow analysis.

      5. Know the management. If it's you, know your skills.

      6. If you'll employ anybody else, know exactly what skills and functions you'll need.

      7. Know your start-up and operating costs, and if there's capital available. "Most new businesses are capitalized by the three F's," Vitacco says, "family, friends and founder."

      9. If you're considering borrowing on your house, be very, very critical of your assumptions.

      10. Base your guesswork on real, credible, hard-headed assumptions. Experts can provide advice, but not decisions.
  • Editor's note: This is the third in a six-day series on ways local residents are reinventing themselves in hard times.
    Acting is a precarious occupation, and for acting couples, the hazards double. Consider Sarah Jane Nelson of Ashland.
    Nelson's husband, actor René Millán, was offered work in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2010 season when contracts went out in July. But Nelson, who had roles in OSF's 2009 productions of "The Music Man" and "Paradise Lost," was among some 20 actors who won't be seen on OSF stages next year.
    That fact focused Nelson's attention on a little, online jewelry venture called Life Is Rosey she'd started a couple of years earlier but allowed to languish.
    "The instant I knew 2010 wasn't happening with the festival, I said Life Is Rosey is about to take off, and I'm going to make a go of it," she says in a phone interview from Arkansas, where she's visiting family. "Once the holidays came, it started to pay off in a huge way."
    Experts say the ways in which Nelson went about turning a setback into an opportunity are almost a case study in getting a new small business off the ground.
    She got free advice on marketing and business at Southern Oregon University's Small Business Development Center in Medford, developed a product plan and a marketing plan and worked hard following through.
    "The fact that she came in the first place is important," says Jack Vitacco, director of SOU's Medford business center.
    "We've found that the success rate of startups is about 50 percent better when people seek help."
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