Power User Spotlight: Reinventing Your Business Is the Key to Success
by ChristineL, Former Moderator
- Created: April 15, 2010, 1:08 pm
George Illiparampil manages Cogency.us, an online business based in Massachusetts. He has several years of experience with small to medium-sized businesses, specializing in finance, business development, and general management.
While managing his business full time, Mr. Illiparampil has been a great resource in the Business.gov Community as gjosephus. Mentoring and coaching people are long-time passions for him, which comes through as he frequently shares tips for starting and financing a business in the Business.gov Community. In this interview, Mr. Illiparampil talks about the importance of flexibility when running a business.
How did you start your small business? What made you decide to take the leap?
At the time, I was working at a distribution company in Massachusetts. My job was taxing emotionally and physically. I worked long hours and traveled 900 miles a week. At that point, I knew I had to change the pace and nature of my work
When I took the leap, I did not have a lot of startup capital. I decided to go for it anyway because I wanted a change and had the right resources. I wanted to work with people, mentor, and have that personal connection with my customers that I did not have in my job then. I have always been involved in sourcing, purchasing, and importing products in Asia and Europe, so I had great contacts for suppliers and clients.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in your experience as a small business owner? How did you meet that challenge? What were some of the lessons learned you want to share with other business owners?
The collapse of the real estate market in May 2008 was the greatest challenge I faced. Only 2.5 years after I launched my business, my suppliers and buyers rescinded their orders. Banks withdrew their support.
At that point, I had to reinvent myself. I started to work at three part-time jobs to keep my business afloat. I re-launched my brick and mortar business as an online business so I would not need a lot of capital to run it. Business has been a lot better since.
This challenge has taught me to be in touch with market dynamics and continually reinvent myself. As business owner, you must be able to learn on your feet in order to be successful in a constantly changing world of business.
What are important skills for those thinking about starting a business or running a business?
To be a successful small business owner, you need to have a plan, but know when to take risks. Business plans are only roadmaps that guide your business development in a dynamic market environment. At the same time, you need to have a certain amount of fearlessness and jump at the right opportunities.
Starting and running a business also takes a lot of patience. You will not make a million in two days, so keep working at it. When your business takes a bad turn, be resilient and find a way to turn it around.
What are some of the most useful resources for building your small business?
A strong business network is the most useful resource for building your business. If you can afford to pay the fee, Business Network International connects their members with other businesses and contacts. Toastmasters International is another organization that helps people hone their communication and leadership skills- essential for a successful business.
The Internet also provides a wealth of free resources as well. Government websites like Business.gov are great resources for startups and small businesses. Even commercial websites like YouTube have free videos that teach you how to communicate better and brush up on skills necessary to run a successful business. In order to build your business, you can tap into social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to increase your brand awareness.
You have been very active in the Community, answering questions and providing suggestions. What keeps you coming back?
The questions on the Business.gov Community are particularly challenging. I enjoy answering them and helping other business owners in the process.
Furthermore, I enjoy engaging other business owners in conversations about manufacturing export business, especially since I am in that line of business. The Community has a lively environment that supports and encourages these types of conversations.
Date registered: 8/11/09
Total messages posted: 67
Total kudos received: 80
As of April 15, 2010
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