By Jade Inglada
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s business specialist Frank Aguirre was invited by East Los Angeles College’s Entrepreneur Club to discuss the fundamentals of business last week.
Aguirre focused on the development of small businesses. While Los Angeles is a great area to start a business, he said, “The start-up process is disorganized and makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to feel secure.”
“People think that it’s just opening and starting a business and they’re a business owner. There’s more than that,” Aguirre said.
He said that entrepreneurs should plan before rushing into anything. Aguirre suggested that they first visit places such as Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) that provide free services and advice to their clients.
He said having a business plan is important before attempting to get a loan.
Aguirre suggested banks and recommended online sources such as crowdfunding. Crowfunding is the use of a web platform to be backed by donations as a way to earn the necessary funds to start a business. The website kiva.org is a specific type of crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and their potential businesses.
He emphasized the importance of gaining relationships because, “part of being a business owner and being an entrepreneur is building contacts.”
Aguirre said that the connections people make can also double as a support group because owning a business can be lonely. It’s helpful to know others that are experiencing similar situations.
He owned a quick service Mexican restaurant, El Gordito, for five years and struggled since he had no one to relate to during that time.
“Anything can become a business, even the smallest idea,” Aguirre said.
He advised people to educate themselves, to do research and look into the saturation of the product or idea in the area.
Economic Department Dean Paul De La Cerda said that he appreciated Aguirre taking time out of his schedule to speak to students since business is a subject that he cares about.
“This is something that means a lot to me, and I hope this inspires students to pursue their dreams,” Cerda said.
Attendees received helpful handouts including one, which provided information about the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles and its databases and another which was a Small Business Administration guide.