Getting in the Game of Small Business Ownership

By Michelle McCullough

If you are a seasoned entrepreneur, what advice would you go back and give your novice self? If you are new to the start-up game, what advice are you seeking?

This week we had a great Twitter chat with our Twitter friends and the folks at The UPS Store! There were great questions and tips about “Getting in the Game” of small business ownership. I wanted to collect and share these little gems in case you missed our #SBOadvice chat.

Q1. What advice do you have for those who are “getting in the game” of entrepreneurship?


  • Start with the WHY. Why do you want to be in your business? Create a foundation. What’s your motivation? Money? Mission?
  • I also think research is a great first step. Research your competitors. Find out what else is out there, etc.
  • If you want to “Get in the game” of business you need to take action steps. Don’t just dream about it. Do it!
  • A1: I ask myself every day, “What can I do today to start or move my business forward?” That drives my to do list.


  • Sometimes having someone from the outside looking in can make all the difference.
Q2. If you have a startup dream, what’s one thing you could do today to take action on that dream?


  • The best thing we did was research before investing
  • We did both customer feedback and internet research. We found out during the process why our clients prefer us over others


  • Every SBO wears 5 hats, divide your action list: Marketing, Fulfillment, Creating (products or services) Admin & Learning.
  • What could you today in the marketing of your business that would move things forwards? Take THAT action.
  • Sometimes the best action you can take is to delegate something that is wasting your time.


  • Talk to a customer who should want to buy from you


  • I have found that you must do a personal assessment and then make the emotional commitment. All else will follow as designed.


  • “Success is Scheduled.” A2: I divide my task list into tasks I do everyday and tasks I do on a weekly or monthly basis.
Q3. Do you use a business plan? If so, how has it helped you?


  • If you fail to plan you plan to fail! Planning is key.
  • Business planning is a key part of success. You have to know what you want in order to chart your course.
  • If you aren’t keen on super long business plans, try a sticky note business plan!
  • The key is to do SOMETHING! Write down your goals and your plan to achieve them.


  • I believe it’s necessary (strategy) but jumping right into a biz plan without evaluating intentions can be a mistake.
Q4. One big mistake entrepreneurs make is not building a support system of staff, friends & mentors. Who’s on your team?


  • Every #entrepreneur needs 3 types of support. Upper level mentors/coaches, mid-level friends/cheerleaders, lower level staff.


  • What I love about mentors and coaches is that they can help you GET THERE FASTER. Don’t make the same mistakes others do!


  • Additionally, I’ve been a networking fiend and have meant amazing collaborators and competitors who also believe in abundance


  • A great resource for smallbiz owners is their local The UPS Store. We’re locally owned, so we “get” the struggles of SBOs.
Q5. One decision you have to make to get in the game is about funding. Are you planning to bootstrap or get loans/investors?


  • I have bootstrapped all of my businesses. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, but it can work!
  • Get creative. If you bootstrap or get funding. Create some good mutually beneficial trades, where appropriate!
  • If you do get investors, make sure you do your research. Decide in advance what percent of your company you will give up.
  • Also consider small business loans, and not just investors. Work with a local bank or SBA office in your area


  • I started my first business with $50 and it has run “in the black” every year since


  • I got in the game after exhausting my savings and unemployment ended, but somehow I have unwavering faith it’ll work out.

We would also like to congratulate @March4ward! She won one of The UPS Store’s new Small Business Tool Kits!

The Small Business Tool Kit from The UPS Store is designed to help you get all of your printed materials in one place and at one time. Get in the game of business, but don’t wait until you have your business cards done this week, and your flyers done next week. We know that it can be hard to invest in your brand when you’re a start-up, so The UPS Store gives you a discount when you purchase them together!

We ended with this: “Being in the Entrepreneurship game is fun! Lots of twists and turns, but YOU create your destiny. Great chat today!”

The UPS Store is hosting two more chats with great advice for Small Business Owners:

  1. “Stay In The Game” Twitter Chat with Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor) – Tuesday, March 26th at 3:00 PM Eastern Time
  2. “Game Winner” Twitter Chat with Barry Moltz (@barrymoltz) – Tuesday, April 2nd at 3:00 PM Eastern Time

Follow along with the chat by following the feed for #SBOAdvice. Join the conversation. Answer questions, ask questions and you could win a Small Business Tool Kit from The UPS Store!

How to Participate in the Twitter Chat:
  1. Create an account at
  2. Follow @TheUPSStore.
  3. Use our custom TweetGrid to view the conversation in real-time
    1. Stay in the Game:
    2. Win the Game:
    3. To join the chat, tweet your question or comment and include the hashtag #SBOadvice in your tweet. (TweetGrid will automatically include the #SBOadvice hashtag.) Make sure your tweet is 140 characters or less.
    4. The TweetGrid will refresh automatically. You should see your question appear in the conversation.

Michelle McCullough

Michelle is partner in Startup Princess, and is responsible for event planning, marketing, affiliates, sponsorships and partnerships. She has coached women entrepreneurs and helped them grow their businesses from “dream in development” to established thriving businesses. An experienced marketing and advertising professional, Michelle has worked in all aspects of the industry from production to creative and sales to management. Michelle is also a speaker, strategist, success coach and a serial entrepreneur, starting one of her first businesses, Doodads Promotional Products, when she was 19. On top of her full-time jobs, Michelle has cultivated her love for entrepreneurship by running Doodads as a successful side business. She has also launched a coaching program called “The Life Balance Myth” to help busy entrepreneurs build thriving businesses and meaningful personal lives by providing practical tools to achieve personal and professional success.