Unlock the American Dream

Unlock the American Dream


Frequently, I meet aspiring entrepreneurs who are in the midst of developing their Business Plan to start-up a business and become their own boss. They have identified a great product or service and know that their customers can’t live without it, so they are now ready to launch their operations.


Right upfront is the time for every budding entrepreneur to establish their “winning” image of success in the eyes of the public and especially their customers. Your image must radiate success from day one and give the impression that your operation is indeed successfully!  How this is accomplished is through different strategies, depending on whether you are home-based or located in a busy mall.  If you are going to start your business by being based at home, then your public image must be reflected in fine business cards and letter head stationary, a sharp logo and unique signage on your business vehicle.  You will need to identify an outside site to meet with a customer that is classy, elegant and reflects that you are, indeed, a successful business owner.


I often say that the first impression is the only impression a customer will make about your business image and it will be either poor or great.  You have no second chance on a first impression.  Your business image is all “wrapped” up in your “packaging”. This means that the major visible sign that you first portray must be one of wealth, prosperity and unquestionable success. You have to appear that you are “flying with the winners”.


I remained home-based for three years in order to save money so that one day I could open the finest office. Until that time, my business cards were elegant, I walked and talked the part of success and no one knew the difference. In my customers’ eyes they firmly believed that I was successful!  I met with my customer’s downtown in an elegant hotel and conference center. In order to pull this off, I talked the hotel manager into giving me the use of an elegant small conference room whenever I needed it, in return for two free stress workshops a year for her employees. This arrangement continued until I had sufficient money from my profits to lease one of their beautiful offices. Yes, I opened with the undisputable image of a highly successful business right in the heart of the city where I remain to this day! One of my original entrepreneur students, who went on to become a successful interior designer, decorated our site that brought fabulous reviews at our Grand Opening. My entire operation continues to reflect success and this has made us truly a successful business.


In addition to securing your site, you must consider all of your Initial start-up costs. These expenses are what it takes to start-up a first-class business operation. I shopped around and my initial office furnishings were acquired from a business that closed. I purchased these at seventy per cent of the original costs and they all looked like new. Initially, I leased my office equipment because money was tight and these expenses were spread out over time. The maintenance fees were also included in my equipment lease and it also covered any unexpected repair costs. I have found that leasing major equipment has been cost effective throughout the years by doing comparison cost studies.


Start-up expenses include lease costs, computer hardware and software, office supplies, your telephone and computer system, liability insurance costs, signage, legal fees, costs of any licenses, loan repayments and initial advertisement costs are only a few of your financial outlays. Identify these costs before you even open your doors to ensure that you have the funds to effectively start-up your operations because when you start-up there is no time for additional concerns. If you want more of my start-up secrets you can find these in “Unlock the American Dream’” found on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.


Many business owners go broke simply because they are confused about what the exact legal structure of their operations should be. Denoting your legal status is an important issue that needs to be addressed and included in your Plan.

When I started my business, I researched legal issues such as:

  • Licensing and bonding requirements
  • Permits local and state
  • Health, workplace or environmental regulations
  • Special regulations covering your industry or profession
  • Zoning or building code requirements
  • Insurance coverage
  • Trade marks, copyrights and/or patents

About Partnership:

This legal form should never be considered without the advice and guidance of your attorney.  The reason is that if one partner leaves town, the other is responsible for all of the business debts. If a partner accrues debts on a business credit card, then all partners are liable for these debts.

Dr. Pat’s Inside Secret:

Before you take a partner, I suggest that you ask yourself; “Why do I need a partner?”  If it’s money, then go to a loan officer.  If it’s for management needs, then hire a manager. Think about what a partner will do for you, not what you can do for them and seek the advice of your attorney. 

All of these legal forms may change with time; new forms come in and previous forms go out. This is why you must turn to your attorney for advice and guidance about what legal form is best for your business operation. Never assume that you can operate without their professional assistance because paying their fees upfront is much better that paying later on for the trouble that can evolve without this legal advice.


This is the first point that you will include in your Business Action Plan (Plan). Initially, you will start working on this, but it will not be fully completed until all of the other points in your Plan are finished.

The Executive Summary should be finalized last! This point gives a clear overview of your business operation to the readers. It should be no longer than two pages and represent a concise, clear and broad narrative about your business operation.

I made my Executive Summary professional, concise and I was enthusiastic in the manner in which I presented the contents. My entire summary was checked over and over for spelling and format.

I started with a brief mission statement featuring what the positive fundamentals of my operations were and why I thought this business venture would be successful and profitable.

Creating this statement requires a great deal of time to make it as powerful as possible to bring about the results that you hope for. I also confirmed that I had researched my specific product and service lines, found a suitable site, located sufficient customers and structured my pricing to realize a profit. I concluded that I will implement effective marketing and advertisement strategies and hire experienced personnel.


Before you start to work on your Plan, sit down in a quiet place for at least a couple of hours when no one else is around and envision  what achieving the American Dream will mean to you.


The successful owner that you want to become should dream like Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds, who envisioned a structured food operation that could be replicated everywhere. With very little money, he dreamed of growing his vision by staying focused. Today there are thousands of McDonald franchise owners worldwide and 95% of them are achieving the American Dream. Now ask yourself why do 88% of all small businesses fail when 35,000 McDonald’s are successful today? Why can’t your business be a winner too?


Make a copy of this page and begin to create your future vision of how you see your business operation in five years. Forget the negative and dream the positive about your American Dream.


Right from the very start of your planning, envision your business as the greatest, before this even happens. Think and act big and tell yourself that the morale is high among the employees and there is energy and excitement everywhere. Walk, talk and dress the part of the greatest business owner of all times.


Place your written vision in a safe place and look at your responses every month and especially when you think the “going gets tough”. It may take you five years and sixty reviews, but I’m sure that you will be well on your way toward the American Dream.


Over the past two decades, I have instructed and coached hundreds of hopeful entrepreneurs, who participated in a six-month small business training program, developed their own Plan and many are now living the American Dream.


You may be thinking, “Why should I take the time to create my Business Action Plan? This Plan is your exclusive personal and business profile that will lead you to reaching the American Dream. It’s the official document to take to your lender or anyone else who may need to know about your operations.


Let me state upfront that you have very little chance of securing a business loan unless you have a detailed Plan to take to your financial institution for the loan officer to review.


When others read your Plan it will give them an overview of your anticipated business venture and it adds credibility on whether or not your venture will be successful.  This Plan is also your written communications tool when you need to orient others such as an attorney, financial advisor, employees, sales personnel, suppliers and any one else who needs to know about your business.     


Lenders will want some type of collateral to ensure that you are serious about starting your business. The most common collateral is some of your savings or other assets and we will discuss loan rationale later on.  A word of warning; I have met with entrepreneurs in the past who want to put their home up for collateral to guarantee their loan. This is a very serious choice because you certainly don’t want to jeopardize losing your home if your business encounters trouble.


The benefit of your Plan is that it can take you “over the top” when reaching for the American Dream. It makes it easier to inform everyone about what business you are opening. Your Plan is the path in seeking the American Dream because it guides you through the turbulent economic seas and into a “harbor of choice”.


It’s always wise to be aware of what obstacles that can get in your way while you’re reaching for the American Dream.  Here are some of my obstacles that I encountered and conquered: 


1. Lack of a written Business Action Plan


Initially, I said that my Plan was all in my head, but it didn’t’ take me long to discover that I needed a written Plan if I wanted to succeed.

2. Going it alone

In the beginning, I was able to function alone, but as the business started to grow, I needed to hire employees including: the technician who assumed some of my work load, a manager to run the overall operations, the financial manager and I continued as the visionary.

3. Run out of cash

In the excitement of starting my business, I lost sight of the actual amount of money that I needed to operate during my first year. I took my Business Action Plan to the bank and secured a micro-loan.    

4. Not knowing my customers’ specific wants and needs

I discovered that if I did not stay abreast with my customers’ emerging wants and needs, then I knew that I was heading for failure.

5. Ignoring the numbers

I made a bold statement that I was in business to make a profit and that was my “bottom line”. I quickly hired a reliable bookkeeper to monitor and report to me about my ongoing financial status.

6. Its human nature to be attracted to what’s popular or hot


I was very careful that I chose a business operation that didn’t have the potential of “fizzling out” fast. I stayed current with what was going on in my business world and stayed alert for trends that come and go. I had to be constantly aware of what my customers wanted and was willing to continue to buy.




Strong leadership skills were essential while I was striving to reach the American Dream. The definition of a leader is: “an action person who directs, commands, guides, conducts and performs” (Webster’s Dictionary).


To reach the American Dream, the following skills kept me focused:


  • Always set specific goals with a focus on achieving these
  • I’m persistent and let nothing stand in my way
  • Hard work is my passion
  • I’m a visionary and a creative thinker
  • Problems are opportunities to be solved
  • I’m a leader in the business arena
  • Managing my time and stress are what I do well
  • Coordinating my family and business is a major priority
  • Conflict management is my expertise
  • I recognize opportunities to make money to show growth
  • Market analyzer in my name and this is what I do best
  • People call me the networking genius

Famous Quote: There are no secrets to success. It’s the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure (Colin Powell, American Four Star General, 1937 to present).


Successful owners stay focus on the following three most important  business-related assumptions to attain their American Dream:


  • Money: Awareness of available capital at all times
  • Materials: Knowledge of your physical properties
  • People: Responsible for all those who impact operations




Where do you begin?


I’m Dr. Pat and my job is teaching aspiring entrepreneurs for over twenty years on how to start up their own business. The odds of you succeeding in business without guidance and specific skills is only about 20%.  That’s a shock when you’ve put all your life savings and hard work into your business operation.


Let me begin by saying that over 80% of my entrepreneur students who opened their business succeed. Why?  Because they learned the specific steps to successfully start-up their business.


Initially, I ask all of my students:


Do you have the expertise and experience in the business that your want to start your business?


Are customers out there that will buy from you?


How much money do you need to start your business?


How much cash do you have?


Where will you be located and is this a prime spot?


Does your business name reflect what you do or sell?


Once my students respond to these questions, then they start working on their Business Plan. Keep following my blogs if you want to succeed in your own business or purchase my book called unlock The American Dream” from Amazon or Barnes & Noble for more of my secrets and advice.