Doug Black is a family man first. Growing up in Michigan with two brothers, he knows the value of family. Raising three kids was no easy feat either, but he says family is what pushes him forward.
Next to family however, Doug’s passion is communication. He has been an expert in the field for over 30 years.
Given his knowledge and expertise, the next step for him was opening up his own business. Doug’s company helps major companies like CVS connect with other communication services to better their business.
Doug gave me insight on his life and what it takes to run a company. If you have any entrepreneurship dreams his tips and story are sure to help you out.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your job and how you help connect people.
I work with business leaders assisting them with using their IT and telecommunication services to increase productivity, reduce cost and solve problems. For example, let’s say a business has an Internet connection, but it is no longer suitable for their growing business and they are paying too much for it. As a technology consultant, I help them find the right solutions (in this case the right Internet connection) from the right solution providers (often times there are multiple companies who can provide Internet) paying a competitive rate. I connect the business people with people from the best service provider.
Q: Where exactly do you work?
I have a home-based office and spend most of my time working with clients at their place of business.
Q: How long have you owned your business and how did you start it?
I started Stonebridge Innovations just over a year ago. Having spent close to 30-years in the technology field, I have established relationships with companies across the country which helped me get the business started. I established strategic relationships with business partners who help me support my business clients around the country. I started the business by filing for my LLC, creating a marketing plan, setting up a website and started prospecting clients. This is the second time I’ve started a company in my career so not only do I have first-hand experience doing it, I have also worked for various start-up business over the years. These experiences combined helped me get the business going.
Q: What are some of the trials and tribulations you faced while starting your business and making sure that it was successful?
Boy, where to start. Most of my career has been with senior leadership responsibilities managing teams of engineers and technicians. My hands-on experiences has not been in sales, which is necessary in business. I’ve learned that sales is part art and part science and I’ve had to learn a lot to keep the business moving forward. As with anything in life, making it successful requires fortitude, persistence and a willingness to change.
Q: How important do you think this communication that you do in your business is?
Quality communications is critically important to establishing successful relationships, personal and professional. Without it, it’s difficult to establish relationships, build rapport and resolve challenges as they arise
Q: From what I know it seems like your business is very innovative. How do you think your business is innovative from your perspective?
I work in the field of “technology” which continually changes. My broad experiences in the industry allows me to be innovative in the solutions I provide to clients. They may be using yesterday’s technology while there are three new technologies that can accomplish the same business goals and cost less. The innovation comes into play by understanding the needs of our clients and assisting them with putting new solutions into place.
Q: Where do you think communication and media is going in the next couple years?
Online and in our hands. Mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, etc.) and their ability to be connected virtually anywhere will continue transforming how information is communicated.
Q: Any tips for young entrepreneurs or people who want to start their own business?
Owning a business requiresa particular mindset, funding, confidence, tenacity and a dash of craziness, courage, perseverance, and fear. You have to be comfortable, being uncomfortable. You have to learn to lose, before you can learn to win. You will be knocked down and you have to get up.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.