People who own small businesses have a unique blend of passion, determination, and grit; qualities that are abundant in people who live in Mendocino and Lake Counties. Our business community is primarily made up of small businesses, and these businesses weave in and out of our very community itself, making it a wonderful place to live and return home to. At West Business Development Center we are focused on helping our small business owner clients meet every challenge with expert advice and tools so that our communities can thrive.  We talked to a few of our clients to find out what their biggest challenges were to starting up their businesses. We identified five key challenges that all entrepreneurs face.

  1. Every day is a new challenge,” says Amy Collins of The Village Sock Shop in Mendocino. One challenge, and also a benefit to running your own business, is that you’ll never have the same day twice. New challenges, and as Amy notes, “new opportunities” present themselves every day. Tip: Set expectations so you can meet new and different tasks with positivity.

  2. Transitioning from a regular job to owning a small business. Ian Roth, the owner of Seagull Inn notes, “Trying to figure out how to get this whole business to work since my wife and I are from the public sector was what we needed to learn.” Tip: Get help from experts rather than trying to go it alone.

  3. Details, details, details. “There are lots of bits and pieces you don’t even think about at first,” says Julie Wood of Smithwood in Mendocino. When you are a small business owner, the nuts and bolts of your business are truly in the pesky details from permitting forms to setting up your business license properly. Tip: Walkthrough paperwork with a trusted advisor who has fresh eyes and experience.

  4. Being all the things. “It’s hard to know everything, and hard to be all things – bookkeeper, farmer, marketer– we finally felt like we weren’t alone doing this when we talked to our West advisor,” says Melinda Price of Peace and Plenty Farm. Tip: Never feel like you have to be all things. Call in subject matter experts or take a workshop when you need to learn new skills.

  5. Getting stuck. “Its good to have someone to go to when you get stuck or don’t understand something,” says Corrina Pena of Frosted in Fort Bragg. “When anyone starts something new we feel like we’re alone and we have to figure it out ourselves, but we have West right here in our own backyard.” Tip: If you come up on something you haven’t encountered before and don’t understand it, get in touch with someone who does that very thing all day long. They will have insight and tactics to get you through.

Free Business Advising at West Business Development Center

If you are a business of one or a company of 100 employees, at any stage from startup to established, WestBDC offers free business advising  — on whatever topic you might be stuck on. If it’s finding the right loan to expand, staffing your business with the right people or even just wading through new minimum wage requirements, we have experts ready to help you right now.

Click here to sign up for free advising. We’ll schedule a free, thirty-minute call and then we’ll assign you the free expert advisor you need.

Are you a woman-owned business?

Please join us for our monthly networking events where you can meet other women entrepreneurs and share best practices, knowledge and make friends.

Here how these women-owned businesses started, and grew their businesses with free advising from West:

Amy Collins / Village Sock Shop – Mendocino

Kiersten Hannah / Braggadoon – Fort Bragg


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If you have a business already, are just starting one up or thinking about turning your passion into a business, WestBDC has a workshop just for you.