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Power User Spotlight: Small Business Owners Need to Wear Many Hats

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Power User Spotlight: Small Business Owners Need to Wear Many Hats

By JimD
Published: September 9, 2010

Small business owners have to balance many aspects of their business, usually on a tight budget and with limited help. Eric Bryant, owner of New Jersey-based multimedia firm, has experienced the challenges and successes of owning his own business.

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

How did you start your small business? What was the deciding factor that convinced you to take the leap?

I was;t planning on starting a business, it just kind of evolved and seemed to make sense. I started working for an Internet marketing agency and learned the principals of marketing websites and search engine optimization (SEO). I wanted to see if it worked, so I put what I had learned into practice on my own website. I had no coding skills at the time, but in the evenings and on weekends, I taught myself the basic skills.

I then started seeing results of my own website and thought that I could do the same for others. My business had a slower start and it turned into a full-time job in 2008.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your experience as a small business owner? How did you meet that challenge?

There is-t one single challenge that I face, but a handful. One overall challenge I face is that I have to wear many hats as small business owner. I have to be my own HR, legal, accounting, business development, recruitment, and sales department. I am not an expert on all of these topics, so it takes time to research and a little trial by fire. Some of the specific problems I have struggled with are dealing with legal problems, scaling up my business, and increasing profit margins.

  • Dealing with Legal Problems.
    I had to let an independent contractor go a while ago and she contacted current clients, telling them that I had mistreated her and another contractor I hired. She also told them to ask for refunds. This created a lot of headaches and work for me. I had to take a lot of time away from my business to deal with lawyers and this disgruntled contractor.
    I have now learned what I need to include in my contracts and how to deal with incidents like this. I hope other small business owners never have to deal with a situation like this, but understanding the differences between employees and independent contractors is good to know in the long run.
  • Scaling Up Business.
    At first, it was just my wife and me. As we grew we needed to hire employees and contractors. It was extremely difficult to make job descriptions and go out and find the proper people. Currently, I would say I am about 1 for 3 with good hires. You need people to get out there and sell your product, bring in new clients, and support the product, but finding the right people is difficult.
    • Increase Profit Margins.
      Trying to increase profit margins is also difficult. Contractors and employees want higher compensation, while clients what more services for less money. I find it difficult to come up with strategies for addressing increasing the profit margins when I am also working on operations of the day-to-day business. Most small busines-s largest expense is labor and trying to balance that with other finances is tough.

    What is some advice you have for other small business owners just getting started?

    As you expand, you will spend many hours working. There is a myth out there that self-employed or small business owners just do a lot at the beginning and once you start hiring people it gets easier. I found that not to be true. I spend just as much time if not more hiring, managing, training, monitoring, and evaluating my employees. The people that you hired will never know all the ins and outs of your business. I found that when your business is starting or expanding, you spend 60-70 hours a week working on different aspects of the business.

    Some other advice would be to learn as much as you can. Know the legal requirements and tax requirements. Those are important and should't just be brushed over. I am still trying to learn how to expand my business and be a better manager.

    What are the biggest benefits and opportunities of being a small business owner? What would you miss if you ended up working for someone else?

    Creativity. I like the ability to create something that is 100% mine from conception to final project. You do not tend to get that opportunity in a regular job. This was one of the main reasons I started my business. I was entrepreneurial-minded person and I got bored at regular jobs.

    I also like being able to help people. Being the employer, I am now responsible for professional development of my employees. I want to make sure I treat them well and make sure they are happy. I also like being charitable. Our company tries to help people whether they are a struggling small business owner looking for a break or a model trying to break into a competitive market. We help out people with our marketing skills to give people a chance to do great things.

    Quick Facts

    Username: petrosianii

    Date Registered: June 16, 2009

    Total Messages Posted: 131

    Total Kudos Received: 46

    As of 09/09/2010

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