Collette Paul
STM Media Inc. Publisher of Trade Magazines

Collette Paul

My name is Collette Paul. My company is STM Media. We've been in business since 1991, and I am in business with my husband. We have a small publishing company in Redondo Beach, California.

I have some pointers that I would like to talk about. One is, if you're going to start a business, one of the most important steps will be deciding what business you're going into. Once you make that determination, make a detailed spreadsheet, which includes as many aspects you can obtain about the business. Go to outside sources to get that information, including people who are already in that type of business. Then assess the risks and benefits very carefully before you jump off the edge.

The second point is to be able to sustain a financial commitment to whatever business you start. Every business has a different financial commitment. For instance, my business doesn't have a whole lot of manufacturing equipment. We mainly have computers and people. But, we had to sustain our living expenses for a long time before we could realize a profit.

I believe that you'll have a greater level of success if you find something that you have a certain amount of joy in. If you choose a business that you don't enjoy, I really believe that you'd be doomed to failure. So, if you have something that you really see as a joy rather than work, you have an opportunity to make your business a success.

I'm in business with my husband. We planned this business and we've sweated over it. We live it. If we were to do it over again, one thing we would do differently would be to define our individual roles more clearly. His role has been publisher and for many years I've done everything he doesn't do. That's not probably a good way to go. I think it would be important to identify your strengths and your husband's strengths, or vice versa, and capitalize on those strengths. You might consider it like a contract, and be able to renegotiate that contract depending on how circumstances change in your business.