Local woman Julie Wentzel had visions of taking what she had learned over the past 10 years working for another sign company and create a new one that focused on the employee just as much as the client.
Wentzel officially started Accent Signs in October 2009 with her brother Matt, and one of the main focuses for Wentzel in focusing on her employees involved their finances. "I wanted to build a company that is financially strong and be able to teach my employees how to build a strong financial future for themselves as well," she says. "I don’t think it is enough just to employ somebody. We should be helping our employees learn how to prepare a personal budget, give them resources to learn how to prepare for their financial future and stress the importance of volunteering your time to help others."
Financial preparation is not foreign to Julie. She and her husband wanted to make sure they were stable before investing in a new venture. "Luckily my husband and I have a wonderful financial consultant who helped us see our ‘whole picture’ of where we were financially, before we started this adventure. This was key," she says. "We wanted to make sure that not only would we have enough to get by for the next couple of years, but to also plan for our retirement and our daughter’s future."
After seeing the whole picture, Wentzel and her family rearranged their budget. "For some odd reason we found that budgeting our money and not spending just because we can actually made us happier," she says. "We feel better about our situation knowing that we have planned for our family’s future."
Beyond her family’s budget, Wentzel also had to consider funding and support for the business itself. "My first step was going to the Urban League of Cincinnati, where we were paired with a wonderful woman, Jeanette, who helped guide us on writing our business plan. We then used this to apply for certification as a Woman Business Enterprise from WBENC," she says.
Wentzel also turned to SCORE, the Small Business Administration, Southwest Central Ohio Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Turner School of Construction Management. "Turner offers classes to woman- and minority-owned businesses to teach disciplines practiced in the construction industry," she says. This has been great to Wentzel and her brother as their focus is on construction and government contracts.
Through her entrepreneurial endeavor, Wentzel learned about much more than just finances and business plans, and she shares five tips for other women starting out in the business owning world:
- "Learn what your true talents are."
- "Accept that fact that you cannot do everything and you are going to have to rely on others."
- "Admit that you don’t know everything already."
- "Network, network, network."
- "And don’t give up. There are a lot of people that are not as excited about your new business. Remember why you started the company and talk with other small business owners who will be a great support for you."
Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS). Securities products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Lifetime Financial Growth, LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Orange Financial, LLC and Lifetime Financial Growth Company are not affiliates or subsidiaries of PAS or Guardian.
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