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Jones & Associates | | Owner | 09/12/2002 | Sole Proprietor
Betsy Jones is the founder of a Boston##comma## Massachusetts silk scarve design firm.

What kind of training or education did you acquire before your venture?
I have a background in design and have been surrounded by entrepreneurs my whole life. I have worked in various aspects of retail which has helped guide me in the retail/web side of my business.

What services or products does your organization offer?
We design##comma## import and sell hand painted silk scarves via wholesale and retail channels. We are in the metro Boston area.

What type of business or organization do you operate?
I##aps##m a sole proprietor. There is very little liability involved in what I do so it really was not worth it to spend the extra money for taxes to incorporate.

How many employees do you currently have?

How did you originally discover the idea for your organization?
I sat down with advisors and we came up with a plan that would allow us to have the most impact with as few expenses as possible.

How did you originally fund your organization?
Loans and personal funds.

Are you the founder of your organization?

Do you believe there is any distinct culture within your organization? If so, please describe it.
My two cats and I try to make the office a cheerful place to work. If we stay focused##comma## we can take some time to play with toy mice. For my reps##comma## I emphasize the importance of our brand and the distinctive look our scarves achieve.

What obstacles or challenges have you faced in your organization?
The first problem I encounted was age. When I started##comma## I was 26 but I looked much younger. When I made sales calls##comma## people would insist that they had spoken with an older person on the phone. The biggest problem I have encountered is hiring reliable##comma## sales reps. There have been good times and bad. I make sure that I screen the reps well and give them sales expectations. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn##aps##t. If not##comma## there is always someone else willing to take on the opportunity.

Did you accept any advice along the way? Do you believe new organizations should be open to such advice?
Very important. Everyone should have a mentor or string of advisors to whom they can turn. Also##comma## make friends with your local SCORE chapter or sign up for advisors via their web site.

Did you receive any help along the way from other businesses or organizations? If so, how and from whom?
Professional organizations for my industry

What have been the keys to success in your business? What do you believe are the keys to success?
Persistence##comma## a positive attitude in the face of some daunting experiences and simple hard-headed stubborness.

What kind of relationship do you establish with your customers or clients?
Our designs are quite unique so##comma## it really hasn##aps##t been a concern.

What types of marketing do you employ?
Word of mouth through our reps has been the most successful. The one on one attention a rep can offer a store owner has been key for us.

Do you employ any web or online marketing?
Note: Question not yet added at time of interview.

What role does trust play in business or in your organization?
Mistakes only serve to make you stronger. They may sting at the time but I believe that if you don##aps##t make mistakes##comma## you cannot truly understand your business. I have learned to be more discerning when choosing business partners. I##aps##ve also learned to be very strict with checking references and dispensing funds.

Did you struggle with starting your own organization or venture? Why did you decide to begin on your own?
Note: Question not yet added at time of interview.

What books or resources would you recommend for individuals starting off now?
Seek books geared to your industry and never underestimate the power of research via the internet.

Do you notice any trends in the marketplace? If so, what are they?
Note: Question not yet added at time of interview.

Do you believe networking and contacts are important? If so, how?
Network wherever possible and be a shameless (but tasteful) self-promoter.

What do you think about contracts and other legal obligations? Are they important in your business?
Note: Question not yet added at time of interview.

If there is one thing that would sum up your advice to new entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Never stop trying to get what you want. If one avenue fails##comma## seek another. Think of yourself as water flowing down a hill. If you encounter a rock##comma## flow over and around it instead of stopping or pouting. When water does not move on##comma## it stagnates. Try not to stagnate.

What, if any, final advice do you have for new entrepreneurs?
Do not be afraid to jump in head first and ask questions later. There is no shame in being green and making mistakes.

This addedinterviews article was written by Betsy Jones on 3/9/2005

Betsy Jones Jones & Associates Sole Proprietor