By Juan Calvillo
The Los Angeles Comic Convention gave business professionals time to share tactics that make the process of creating successful businesses and brands easier.
Andres Salazar, writer of graphic novels including “Pariah, Missouri” and “The Adventure Bear Squad,” and Genese Davis, author of the novel “The Holder’s Dominion,” talked about brands as individual writers.
Tony Kim, chief executive officer and founder of Hero Within clothing, talked about business and branding in a more traditional sense.
The group explained some of the things it takes to create and run small businesses and retain positive brand recognition during their panel on Oct. 15.
The professionals all said that there were turning points in their lives when they had to make a difficult choice to change their careers.
Davis talked about the fact that she had always felt that there was something calling out to her in a creative aspect.
Kim said that, to him, it was more of noticing that the niche for geek fashion apparel was not claimed and how it was a space he could take advantage of.
Salazar talked about how making the decision to go all in on a different career can be scary, especially when it means losing the revenue of money for a family.The consensus was that no matter what situation these entrepreneurs were in, changing career paths was daunting.
Frank J. Aguirre, East Los Angeles College professor in the Business Administration Department, said that in the LA area, there were resources that could be tapped to help entrepreneurs.
“There are many, many resources that are free and designed to help you launch your business,” said Aguirre.
Some of these include: the US Small Business Administration, Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the City of Los Angeles Business Source Center System.
He also said that there were community non-profit organizations that specialize in helping small businesses and that colleges and universities also had programs to help entrepreneurs.
Aguirre said what was invaluable was defining a business early on.
He said that a focused business model and learning about patents or trademarks was always a good idea.
“If you don’t register it, then you don’t own it and anyone can simply copy it or take it away from you,” said Aguirre.
Deciding on a specific service or product was something the entire panel of professionals agreed on.
Davis said when it came to creating something, “You have to be all in.”
Each of the panelists said it came down to really honing in on their craft or their finished products and that finding their core audience was important.