Question: What is the name of your business?
Your Answer: HC Consulting Group, creator of Daily Deal Builder, is a software development, consulting and internet marketing company specializing in the online deployment of business solutions. The company, started in 2008, has expanded into a global business with a number of software products that assist business owners in growing their internet companies. HC Consulting Group launched Daily Deal Builder in early 2011.
Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does your company provide?
Your Answer: HC Consulting Group is a software development, consulting, and marketing company specializing in the online deployment of business solutions based out of Atlanta, Ga. The HC team has grown into a global business with many information and software products that will help you grow your internet business.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: It all started about 5 years ago when I decided with my brother, Tyler, and my college roommate, Hollis, to start a software company. We had collectively saved about $25k and decided to invest that into our new business to create our first platform; a gradebook management system coupled with a social network, which we call SchoolBridge.com. We hired a development team in January 2008 and set out building our first piece of software. During this time I lived and breathed this new venture; I literally was roommates with Hollis and discussed the business over phone calls to New York City with Tyler daily. Hollis and I graduated college and moved into an apartment in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. That summer, Tyler came down from NYC and over the next few months stayed on the couch as we prepped to launch our new business.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: A byproduct from creating SchoolBridge was we had the initial designs of a pure social networking platform. Now, we decided early on that we wanted to offer SchoolBridge as a free service to any school nationwide in need of such a service. Over the course of a few month we culled all the social network aspects out of SchoolBridge onto a development server, added and built some additional features and ended up creating Social Network Empire (SNE), which we operate as SaaS and sell licenses for its use and which we still run and operate to this day.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: Starting a business comes with risks and as such is a little scary. I didn't have an income stream going in; the money I had saved up was just about all invested into our software development and it really was a ‘do or die’ type of situation. Needless to say, after a lot of hard work and sleepless nights we hit the ground running and HC Consulting Group brought in our first dollar on October 21, 2008. That first month in business we brought in about 99,000 additional dollars and were immediately in the black.
It has been and continues to be our goal to create and manage software platforms and services that help business owners, entrepreneurs, and everyday folks utilize the internet for their advantage. This mission has steered us to create incredible services such as DailyDealBuilder.com which has been transforming the daily deal industry and paving the way for thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs to launch a daily deal business.
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer: Over the past 4 years since we first launched our business we have created a suite of software services to service small businesses, entrepreneurs, and online marketers.Our business has taken us around the world to Spain, Mexico, India, France, Canada, amongst other places. Running with the bulls and doing business from an RV in Spain and France was one my highlights for sure. Our Workations to Mexico where we brought our entire company was not too shabby of times either!
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer: I never wanted to have a real “boss” so to speak and have been entrepreneurial, business oriented, and creative since I was a young kid. Starting a business was the natural thing to for me to do and having a couple partners enabled me to share the cost of start-up, share responsibilities and workloads, share the inherent business risks and expenses, as well as put myself in a better position by utilizing complementary skills and additional contacts from each of my partners; not to mention the accountability. Having business partners and being held accountable is something that you really can’t pay for.
Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
Your Answer: Sure, I graduated with a degree is business management from Kennesaw State University and was prepared as I could ever be. In theory I knew how to run a business, but the reality is that no amount of preparation or studying from a book can prepare you for running a business as well as just diving in headfirst and making moves.
Just so you know, if you decide to start a business with partners – be sure to have an operating agreement and go over the “what ifs” right from the start. Plan for eventualities. We had never launched a business before and the process of learning the ropes while running the day to day operations and in between taking account of necessary systems and processes that were before unknown to us even with a business background, left us in a constant state of what some people might call paranoia, but at this point it’s what I call an attitude of preparedness. They say hindsight is 20/20; well that couldn't be a truer statement.
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: Before starting a business and entering into a partnership, it is a wise decision to first determine whether or not you yourself are cut out to be the “partner type of person;” and if so, to thoroughly investigate prospective business partners as well.
There’s also a chance that one business partner may not work as hard as the other, but will want the same rewards as the more ‘valuable’ partner. If you have a low tolerance level for this type of thing, a partnership may not be for you. As with different roles of partnerships, different partners undoubtedly see what they do as the more valuable role.
As funny as it sounds, a business partnership is much like a marriage, and just as you would (or should at least) take great care, time and consideration in the selection of a husband / wife, the same applies in the selection of a business partner.