In the News: Q&A with Jennifer Bodner, 2018 Small Business Person of the Year finalist

Q: What strategies can small business owners use to build success into their companies from the start?

A: It’s all about focus. Entrepreneurs tend to have “ping pong brains,” their ideas are all over the place, and they are tasked with everything from financial growth, hiring, culture, and more. The more focus business owners have from the beginning, the better. I like to write out three areas of focus each quarter to help the team stay in sync.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you took when starting your business? What advice did you disregard, if any?

A: A fellow agency leader told me to aim for 15 networking meetings a week. It’s not easy, but focusing on your pipeline is definitely the key to success. Running a business is a constant roller coaster ride, so make sure you’re always out there, talking to people, and keeping your company top of mind.

Q: What would you share with an aspiring entrepreneur who is considering taking the plunge and starting their own business?

A: You have to love the hustle. Running a business takes different skill sets than being good at your trade. Whether you’re an attorney, an architect, or a consultant, to be an entrepreneur you have to be willing and ready to drop everything for your clients, to promote yourself and your company, and to constantly be on top of what’s around the next corner.

Q: How does metro Atlanta support the formation of small businesses?

A: Atlanta has the most amazing eco-system for small business. From industry associations like TAG and AMA, to affinity groups for entrepreneurs and women in business like LaunchPad2x, there is no shortage of support, training, and community. The universities are also stepping up with their support for entrepreneurs. KSU has been a leader in bringing in small business leaders to help set curriculum and partner with current students. UGA just recently announced their program for entrepreneurs as well.

Q: What can the region do better to help support small businesses?

A: I think there is some ownership on the region’s larger companies – the Fortune 1000 in town – to look to small businesses as vendors and partners more often. We’ve seen great success when corporate Atlanta takes a leap of faith on a smaller firm and they can play a key role in supporting the SMB community.