Small Business Week Interview with Tiffany Green of My Mantra, Inc.
1. Tell us about your business
MyMantra, Inc. (www.mymantra.com ) is a gift store created to provide quality products for primarily women and girls. Based in Chicago, IL, the women-owned company offers contemporary, gifts that encourage spirituality, personal growth and self-expression. Products include jewelry, journals, clothing, accessories and home décor items.
2. Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Entrepreneurship means freedom to me. I became a business owner to essentially create fulfilling work on my own terms. Also, my own particular business gives me an opportunity to positively impact the lives of others by reminding them to slow down and appreciate the small and wonderful moments of life. My business gives me an outlet for my greatest loves, business, spirituality and personal growth.
3. What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
I’ve had many influences but the greatest would probably be my great grandfather. He never owned a business but he was a constant learner, which is an important skill to have in becoming a successful entrepreneur. He taught himself architecture and construction and was eventually, able build his own home. As an African American man growing up in the South during the 1930’s, he didn’t have much formal education. However, he knew the importance of education, which he instilled in his granddaughter, my mother, and as a result, in me. I think his story influenced my drive for learning and gave me a tenacity to follow my own dreams.
4. What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
The greatest professional accomplishment for me was receiving funding for my business. It can be one thing to believe you have a great business idea but another to convince someone else to the point where they will invest. I worked hard conducting the financial and marketing research to support my business idea. After many requests to many sources, I was able to convince the Small Business Association, to invest in me and MyMantra.
5. What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
The best advice I have received in business is that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to be a successful entrepreneur. Many people think they need a new, revolutionary idea or product to be a successful business owner. More often, success is more about combining a personal passion or interest with a simple unfulfilled need. You don’t need an extraordinary idea—just a product or service that does a better job serving the needs of a select group of consumers.
6. What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
The one thing I have learned as a small business owner is to find your support. Every entrepreneur needs a cheerleader and a mentor—someone to share the successes of business ownership and someone to provide practical business expertise and advice. Entrepreneurship can be a wonderful, winding road of ups and downs. It’s great to have individuals who can share in your successes, as well as guide you down the right path if you get off track.
7. Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you succeed?
Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com ) – Constant Contact is a cost-effective tool for email communications and email list management.
Gotvmail (www.gotvmail.com ) – Gotvmail offers entrepreneurs professional internet-based telephone and fax services.
8. What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
I like to think big. (Even in spite of the current economic climate!) My goal is to double my client base by the end of the year.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I’d encourage any woman considering starting a business to do so. Start making a plan now even in this economic downturn. Sometimes the magnitude of what you would like to accomplish can seem overwhelming. If you are just beginning to lay the foundations for you business, I would suggest taking small steps to make it seem more manageable.
How can our readers find you online?
Website – www.mymantra.com
Blog – www.mantramaven.com
Twitter – mantramaven