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Streetlight People

Developed by: Mary Cowles
Have a question? Want to see the full business plan? Request Info.



 1. Need: This particular poem book is needed to help people overcome their abuse and give them strength that their life will go on. There is no other poem book on the market that addresses the specific struggles I have endured—the struggles of being disabled and homeless and the strength to overcome these obstacles.

2. Company description: Streetlight People is in the business of publishing poetry and short stories. The first poetry book that will be released is called Cello Girl. Streetlight People will be committed to improving the lives of homeless people, first through the publication and release of this poetry book, which will help women of all walks of life hwo have struggled with similar battles but more generally, the poems will appeal to all people who have suffered or want to read something beautiful. Eventually, Streetlight People will branch off into opening homeless shelters for people with service animals

3. The business’s management: I, Mary Cowles, will initially run the business as CEO and president. I would like to have someone help me get the website up and running and will also need to outsource the publishing. I feel confident that I will be able to run the company on my own during these initial phases. As business grows, I will bring on more staff members to help get shipping orders and whatever else may be needed to get the book to clients.

4. The market and my customer: Specifically, Cello Girl will target battered women and young women who have dealt with extreme emotional situations and emotional loss. But more generally, I think my poems will appeal to all people who have suffered in any way or simply want to read something beautiful. My first target market will be people living at Union Rescue Mission, Women’s Center, and Skid Row Art Walk. Cello Girl will be available online through a website I plan to start to sell my poetry directly to customers. I will also have hard copies available for sale in the shelters and at different events throughout the City of Los Angeles. Eventually, I would like to have Cello Girl available in paperback for sale in homeless shelters throughout Los Angeles, and then eventually bookstores nationwide.

5. Executing the plan -
Marketing and sales: I will market at Pepperdine Law, URM, and the Women’s Center. I will have links to the website on my facebook and myspace page. I will have sales conducted through the website and also I will sell hard copies in person. - competition: Broadly, my competition will be other poets who write about similar struggles. Direct competition will be fairly limited, as there are very few people, if any, in the shelters that are selling poetry.

Plans: I hope to sell at least 1000 copies of my poem book this year, at $10 per book.

publishing costs (start with 100 copies)
shipping costs-$5/book
website: · www.streetlightpeople.com ($11.99-register domain name for 1 yr) ·
cost of launching the website storage for the books-$10 tray/cart for carrying hard copies-$20
laptop: $500-$600
phone: printer/copier: $50-$60 atty fees for getting the copyright: ?
travel (to get to different events throughout LA): $14 (travel pass)

6. Selling Paragraph:
Through Cello Girl I can teach people that the pen is better than the sword and violence is not the answer. Specifically, I hope the poems reach women of all walks of life who have struggled with similar battles but more generally, I think my poems will appeal to all people who have suffered or want to read something beautiful. I know this business will succeed because people that I live with and see every day are seeking the type of emotional release that this poem book will provide. I have the faith and confidence in myself to ensure that this business will be successful.

The defining moment when I realized it was time to turn my life around actually occurred a long time ago, when I was only 16 years old. Because of the circumstances going on in my mother’s home, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands; I put myself and my brother and sister in foster care. However, I was still doing some of the things that I had been doing while living with mom, including pimping and prostituting.

One day at the foster home, when I got back from my pimp job, my foster mother asked me “where have you been Mary?” I told her the truth, but she already knew. She hugged me and said “every girl is a special, one of a kind, endangered personal doll.” This was Christmas Day of 1988. That day I got my own Christmas present, a motto I now live by: life is a tilt-a-whirl, and each day is a new start.

Starting my business will be my new start once again—to share all the experiences and triumphs and life lessons with the world.

When I see myself as a businessperson, I feel confident, strong and sassy. I think by starting my business, I will feel that I am able to take on the world.

Being born two months premature, I suffered my whole life from several health problems, including cerebral palsy, dislocated hips, and eyesight problems. Through all of this, I learned perseverance and strength.

I have the confidence to run any company, including my own business. It’s always been my dream to own my own company. When I see myself selling Love & Pain, I feel myself inspiring others to live their dreams and have strength and confidence in themselves. This is what I’ve always wanted; to start my own company that would not only help to support myself, but help others, showing them each day is a new start—the lesson I learned that turned my life around.

When I can sell my poem book, Love & Pain, to support my next big project and opportunity, Streetlight People, I will then be able to provide transitional shelter for people with service animals. It’s important to me to start small with this poem book business, to prove to myself and the world that I can successfully run my own company.

But more importantly, this company will help to prove to my family and friends that, if I can do it, they can do it. I really want my kids to know that they must reach for their own dreams and if they try, they can fulfill them.


E4C focuses on three primary populations of entrepreneurs: Veterans, Green and Social Businesses, and those who find themselves operating within marginalized communities.

If you are interested and can find a way to contribute to their success, we would love for you to contact us directly and we will connect you to them.

These are an amazing group of dedicated and hardworking entrepreneurs, and we think each and every one of them is certain to succeed, especially with your help.


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