How to get an upstart business off the ground

Business in Georgia had a record-setting August. According to the Secretary of State's office, so far this year, 700,000 businesses registered with the state.

Many of these business registrations belong to small business. But starting one up is not for the faint of heart. Your best chance at success is to find a network like Rebecca Smith did.

She opened Salon Honey II in Lithonia five months ago. Could she have predicted this?

"No. Not at all. No, not at all," she told the Fox 5 I-Team.

She's not a hair stylist. Rebecca Smith works in corporate America in training and development, but this is where she used to come to get her hair done.

"It happened on the fly, Dana. My stylist actually encountered some very catastrophic medical conditions and could not continue to maintain a salon such as this one."

It was her husband who said, 'Rebecca, you take it over.'  This is where ACE Women's Business Center comes in. Sandra Font is the director.  

"We get a lot of calls from moms, ladies with dreams, who have no idea how to implement it. So they call us."

ACE is a non-profit that provides loans, resources and business coaching to women and minorities getting into small business. Rebecca walked in with a plan to buy the salon and re-make it.

"Sandra put me in touch with everybody I needed. It was a one-stop shop. She has been my lifeline. She's been my breath," Rebecca said.

Marc Parham is one of those business coaches.

"It gives them someone to talk to, someone to help them get that idea out of their head and put it on paper and take a good look at it and determine if it's an idea that can make money."

And Rebecca's plan looked good, but it took a team to make it happen. And she says even though she had a great idea - re-launching an already established business - on her own, she'd still be in the planning stages.

"In a short time, they helped me bring it all together, re-purpose it, and keep it open."

Since 2000, ACE has loaned more than $56 million to more than 850 entrepreneurs who have created or saved more than 7,300 jobs in Georgia.

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