From the Glendale News Press, August 18, 2017

Mark Kellam Contact Reporter

Starting a new business requires fortitude, funding and sometimes a little luck. It may also need some sage advice from someone who has worked in the business world for decades and is primed to help guide entrepreneurs on their new ventures.

SCORE L.A. offers mentoring services for those starting a new business, buying an existing business or purchasing a franchise. The organization’s Los Angeles County headquarters is in Glendale, and it hosted a workshop on how to start a business this past Saturday in its local offices.

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Led by Dick Mader, who founded wholesale publication distributor Mader News Inc. in Glendale, the workshop covered a variety of topics ranging from business plans to financing and hiring employees.

Mader said he started selling newspapers on a street corner. Coming from a 10-member family, each child had to find their own way financially sometimes.

Always thinking about future success, Mader said he saved his money to buy something that would move him forward — a bike, so he could get a newspaper route and make more money.

“I could increase my earnings by investing in a bicycle. I always spent less than I earned, and I suggest that you do the same thing,” Mader said.

When starting a new business, there are many keys to success, including setting realistic goals and figuring out how to do something that will be better than the competition.

However, one of the most important challenges can be timing. Sometimes, a product or service will fail today, but it might be hugely popular down the road.

Besides bad timing, a business can fail if the owner doesn’t adapt to change.

“Businesses fail because they don’t change, because they don’t listen to their customers,” Mader said. “They don’t watch what’s going on in the market. They fail because they don’t make changes internally to respond to what going on outside.

He cited his own adaptability when the mainstream newspaper industry started to slow down with the advent of the Internet and other news sources.

So, his company moved into distributing foreign publications, particularly fashion magazines that sell for $30 to $40 a copy.

“We’re actually selling fewer copies today, but at higher prices,” Mader said.

When starting a new business, finding funding can be difficult. It often includes using the new owner’s savings, equity in their property or borrowing from family and friends, Mader said.

Banks and venture capitalists are not likely to invest in a new business, he added.

While it’s tempting to hire friends when first starting out, Mader said that’s not always a good idea. It can end a friendship if the work arrangement doesn’t work out.

Mader suggested business owners figure out what the job entails first, then hire someone who has the skills to do it.

He also said that a good business plan can be a road map to keep the new business owner on track. It outlines what the owner intends to do and how they plan to do it, but, perhaps most importantly, how much money the business expects to make.

If the financial goals aren’t met, changes or sound advice may be needed.

Anne Pittman attended the workshop because she’s looking to start a company called Cupcake Panache, which will sell items that can up the game when cooking cupcakes.

For example, fancier cupcake liners may jazz up a batch of cupcakes.

“I’m going to have things that they can’t find at their local grocery store or craft store,” Pittman said.

SCORE L.A. offers many workshops on a variety of topics including buying into a franchise as well as social media and Internet marketing basics.

For more information, visit www.losangeles.score.org

mark.kellam@latimes.com

Twitter: @lamarkkellam

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