By Michelle Areiza
Entrepreneurs aren’t only big companies and famous people. Entrepreneurs come in many different shapes and sizes. Most importantly, entrepreneurship is the process of starting a new business or a small business.
This year, The Student Government Association and Business Leadership Club from Passaic County Community College offered a special event, Black Owned Business for black history month. They welcomed Travis Niven and Stephen Bryant to attend a question and answer session on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
Thomas Moore introduced Travis Niven who owns a protective service business and Stephen Bryant who is a minister and owns Strategic Education Concepts Inc. They were both selected to talk about the pros and cons of being a business owner. One of the first questions came from Mathew Madrios.
“What was the greatest struggle you faced while starting your business?” asked Madrios. Many may think being an entrepreneur is easy, but many challenges lie ahead. There is cash flow management, delegating tasks, choosing what to sell, marketing strategy, and most importantly capital, Bryant said.
“My main struggles was gaining access to capital.” Bryant replied. "But what exactly is capital? Why is it so important for a business? Well, Capital is the money needed by a business to function properly. A business requires capital for products and the service they’re offering. Also, capital is used for payrolls and other business expenses. Capital is the financial Asset of your company."
“Clientele and finance is a big problem,” Niven said. “It’s all about, what makes you different, can you swim, can you drive?” Mr. Niven's believes in selling with passion and believing in yourself. Some other questions you can consider are: What makes your products different? How are you going to keep your clients satisfied? How are you going to keep more clients coming in? These are some questions you can consider when opening a new business.
One more important fact they both agreed on was finding an investor. To start a new business doesn’t exactly mean you have all the money you need for it. Most of all, you need a dream, a plan, and maybe some savings. An investor is someone who believes in you. An investor sees a revenue opportunity, and invests in you.
“What is the most important trait a business owner should have?” Henil, a major in accounting asked. Travis believes having good vocabulary and learning new words are very important. He also said, you will need interpersonal skills and have good work ethics.
People with small businesses are often driven for success . They want more and are goal oriented. They are also very passionate and humble. You should also be open minded to new ways to expand your business. However, are personal traits more important than having a school degree.
Marta Gordo ask, “Do you think that a College degree is a required tool in running a successful business ? Why or why not ?” Some people may think that being a successful business owner comes with a degree. But in some cases this isn’t quite true.
“Social Media proves us wrong,” Bryant replied. He believes with our experience with Covid, you can maximize all your credentials. School can be your first choice, but not your final solution. According journalist Steve Olenski, more than 50 percent of small business agree social media helps them increase sales.
“Having a degree gives you asset, but with discipline, people are successful,” Niven agreed. Foremost, being compassionate and staying focused are very important when starting a small business.
Raven then asked, “What kept you motivated to keep on going when things might’ve got tough?” When running a small business there are always problems running ahead. It is not always perfect. There is lack of proper marketing , money management , managing online presence and etc...
“Money is my motivation , something about that check , changes you," Bryant said. It is not always about the downfalls in your business, but the winning feeling from overcoming obstacles from your business which sometimes can be that income.
On the other hand, Nivens believe it is your passion that will motivate you to be great. If you’re passionate about your small business you will succeed. “Everyone is given a purpose, you just have to find it."
Whether you come from a family with money or a family with nothing that doesn’t determine who you are and where you're heading. The drive you have inside for success will determine
how far you will make it. “Did you come from a a background with opportunities or did you have to work hard for everything?”
Niven obtained everything on his own growing up in poverty. He didn’t have money to start his business, but he had a plan. He had people who believed in him and invested him. People who didn’t want anything in return, but believed in his dream. He was passionate and believed in his future.
Bryant was born into a middle class home. His parents owned a transportation company called C&C Tours. Although, he was born into a middle class family, he did have to work very hard to obtain all his success today.
The idea of running your own business is exciting. Unfortunately, it is not all bright colors and a fortune. There are many challenges and sacrifices. On the flip side , what a great feeling it is to be your own boss. Now that’s a boss move.