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Coffee Talk Expert

About Our Guest Expert: Lillyvette Montalvo, Small Business & Personal Coach & Advisor

A native of Puerto Rico, Lillyvette Montalvo grew up seeing the world. Her father spent many years in the U.S. Air Force, and Lillyvette and her two brothers enjoyed a childhood of diverse peoples and cultures. This experience with diverse groups ultimately led her to study foreign languages in college.

Upon college graduation, she landed a public relations position with the USDA. Her ten years of work there also included marketing and speech writing as well as producing radio public service announcements for the USDA's Hispanic Information Services. She broke the proverbial glass ceiling at her Alabama agency by becoming the first Hispanic female to gain a management position with technical expertise. (You go, girl!)

Lillyvette eventually left the corporate rat race and decided to cook up her own biz. Inspired by her mother who was forced to close shop because of a lack of working capital, she wanted to help others in biz avoid the same fate. In 1997, Lillyvette rolled her years of public relations, marketing, and financial experience together and created her own biz, Star Capital, Inc., a financial service-oriented business that assisted small businesses in getting the funding they craved. Because of her expertise and drive, The Birmingham News touted Lillyvette as one of "Birmingham's Top 40 Under 40" in small business a few years later. In late 2001, however, Lillyvette decided to dissolve Star Capital, Inc. as personal changes in her life found her interested in pursuing new avenues of self-employment. Today, Lillyvette pursues freelance opportunities in modeling, radio, and fitness training.

Besides blazing trails for minorities, women and all businesses, Lillyvette enjoys hiking down-to-earth trails as well. She also loves to travel, sing in the shower, watch college football, and cook.

Lillyvette's Answers

My husband and I started our trucking company 2 years ago. We would like to get a newer truck with a warranty, but nobody will help us. One more thing, we've had some credit problems.

I need to investigate how to get a business loan to purchase some computer equipment for a business that I'd like to start. Where do I begin ?

It's been 4 weeks since I had an excellent idea for an Internet start-up.... Now I face the biggest problem: How do I find a partner or two, who would be able to raise Venture Capital for further activities ?

I'm a tax accountant. . . .I want to extend to my services to predominately Hispanic and other minority communities. How can I obtain information about any kind of special programs to get me started right away?

Right, so we Moms work at home, but how do we go about claiming tax deductions for costs towards the running of our businesses?

I'm thinking about starting a female-owned construction company... Does anyone have any advice for me in getting my feet wet?

Idea Cafe ran a practice sheet on news releases that was spectacular, so simplistic, just what I needed. I need the same format for a proposal...what goes in paragraph 1 and so on.

I'm trying to start a bookkeeping business and I need to target some accounting firms in my area to see if they have any clients they can pass on to me... Can anyone help me to do a target letter as I'm really bad with words?

I'm doing my business plan for an Internet company... Media-wise, I plan to use direct response radio and TV to drive response to a website or 900#... Are there any other costs associated with running a website I'm missing?

I need advice or tips on making my home office a more fun or motivating environment. My business is primarily transacted by the telephone....Any and all help is welcomed.

We need to hire someone to keep up with the work coming in, but we can't afford to hire someone because of lack of funds...if we could just raise enough capital to hire a few employees, we could break out of the small business bubble into a larger arena. Any ideas?

I'm getting great experience at a small manufacturing/import company, but the problem is the lack of promotion...My end goal is to start my own company...What steps should I take toward my end goal? How long should I continue to get "great experience" at the cost of promotion and pay?

Problem employee! ... She has been here for 18 years and is no longer able to do her job effectively. She has been outgrown by this company and will not change her ways. What do I do with her?

I was wondering what do other home-based business people do to get themselves motivated and keep themselves up the whole day? ... Any and all tips or methods is welcome.

I'm trying to come up with a proposal to motivate our employees to stretch a little more for the company. Does anyone have any incentive ideas (such as cash bonus, mini vacation)?

How do I overcome my fear of calling people on the phone?. . . I just get real nervous when talking to potential clients. I don't want to come across as an idiot. What do you advise to overcome this?

"We're a small business that sells apparel and have local stores which carry our product. We are planning to open an online store. How do we price our item so as not to anger our stores which have been our "bread and butter" to this point? ... Do we have one suggested retail price for both? .... We want to make money but also do the right thing."

My husband and I are tired of waiting for opportunity to knock and have decided to find him....We've been pondering the idea of purchasing a Convenience Store w/gas-type operation...My question is do I have a shot at getting financed? .... And any advice in turning our dream into reality would be so greatly appreciated.

I want to create a magazine or newsletter dedicated to inspire people...The trouble is start up capitol....I went to the government sites and didn’t see much that would help... My credit isn’t so good, mainly due to medical bills, and even though they say it doesn’t count, it seems to... Does anyone know of alternative funding for the type of publishing I want to do?

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