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Power User Spotlight: Information and Research is Essential

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Power User Spotlight: Information and Research is Essential

By JimD
Published: November 12, 2010

After
a 23 year career primarily focused on restaurant and retail development
throughout the United States,
Tony Ozelis started his own small business, Location Island.
Location Island is a web-based educational magazine that helps small business
owners learn about commercial real estate development. Tony is continually
learning and feels that the more information and research you have the better
off you will be.

Business.gov
interviewed Tony, also known as
LocationIsland
in the Community, for some insight into owning and running a small business.

How
did you start your business?

It all started a few years back when I
started writing a book. It was a guide for the small business owner with some
best practices from larger organizations. I felt larger organizations had an
unfair advantage over small business owners. Many small business owners are a
one-man-show trying to balance and do everything. The learning curve can be
steep, whereas larger businesses hired people with specialties. Small business
owners need a crash course of everything and I was a least starting to develop
that.

When I actually started my business, it
was out of necessity. I had lost my job and being over 50, I had to do
something. I turned my book into what is now my website. I have then been
adding to it ever since.

What
are some resources that you have found the most useful for building your small
business?

I do a lot of research. Many of my friends
consider my business my life-long thesis. If you walk into my office on a regular day, I
have two laptops and an iPad out.

One
thing that I was surprised to find when I was starting was government websites.
These had much more relevant information that I expected. Specific websites
that I found very helpful were IRS.gov, Census.gov, Energy.gov, and Business.gov. I figured that I am already paying for
these resources with my taxes and I should be taking advantage of them.

Not only did the websites give me a lot of
good information, but also I have actually called some of these departments. I
have talked with people and they gave me exactly what I was looking for. I
challenge people to find better resources.

Have
you had a great career mentor? How do you suggest finding one?

I have been lucky enough to have three
great mentors throughout my career. Finding them is probably the most difficult
part. I worked for a larger business and was able to meet people and start
relationships, but lifelong small business owners have it much more difficult.
Small business owners need to go out and search out a mentor. Some of the best
places would be SCORE, Business.gov community, or other social media sites like
MeetUp.

Mentors are all about sharing knowledge,
experience, and ideas. Therefore, you need to find someone who you feel is compatible.
After you know where to look, finding a great mentor should be too difficult.

In
your opinion, what is one thing all small business owners should know?

Small business owners need to know their
customers. Customers are always changing. If you assume you know your
customers, chances are you are probably wrong. There is no formula of figuring
your customers out, but if there were, it would create the opportunity to miss
things.

What
is your greatest accomplishment?

My business. I love being able to help
people. I have been teaching what I do for a long time and I have been able to help
many people. My website pulls together many resources from all over. I have
experts writing blogs, compiled data, and resources from across the web. I put
a lot of myself into my business and I take it personally. I love what I am
doing.

Quick
Facts

Username: LocationIsland

Date Registered: May 10, 2009

Total Messages Posted: 38

Total Kudos Received: 99

As
of 11/12/2010

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About the Author:

Jim

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