Michael Sowinski, owner of CFO Consultants in Asheville, talks about what he loves most about being an entrepreneur, ways to get real advice on your small business idea, and how easily it is to change your environment as an entrepreneur.
What I love most about
being an entrepreneur is
that your history and your
future is all up to you.
You can create your own environment
and if you don't like your environment,
you don't like the clients you have,
you don't like the people
that you work with,
you can change that
environment as an entrepreneur.
- My name's Mike Sowinski and I'm a CPA
and I started a business
called CFO Consultants.
we go from beginning to
end in a business' life
from a financial and tax perspective.
So we help with people starting
out with formation issues
and then do their accounting and tax work.
and then we also do business brokerage
to sell the business inevitably.
We also do a lot of business valuation
and appraisals of businesses,
which is also a service thatâ€™s needed.
The most important thing
for me in the incubator
was, again, the contacts
among the entrepreneurs here,
but also contacts in the community
and the bankers and the investment people
and other accounting firms
and all of those things.
And the very first thing,
when I came in the incubator,
and I had to do my pitch,
my elevator, first thing
I had a CPA firm, a prominent one in town,
owner come up to me and say,
"This is going to be a great business.
I'm really glad that I can support you."
She was doing for me
what I hope to do for
others in the future.
And it was the most, you
know, very exciting time
and also scary to start
a business with nothing.
And that's where I came from.
I was always a CFO somewhere
and now I'm just going
to start a business.
And I didn't know if anyone would like it
or if anyone wanted the
product, I had no idea,
but I just did it.
And being around that kind of environment
in the Small Business
Center was critical to me.
I think whenever you're
starting a business,
you should do a little due diligence.
And in my case, it was
definitely a lack of that
but you can talk to existing CPA firms.
And I have, I had a contact
with a CPA firm early
when I first started at the incubator.
They took me in
and if I had asked them more questions,
that was really what I should have done
is to ask more questions
of the people around you.
The Small Business Center
does a lot of that for you
where they'll put people in front of you
where you can ask the questions.
And that was the critical part
to be able to have this ability
to talk to professionals
that are already doing what you're doing
or something similar.
And they'll tell you if
it was a good idea or not.
But the other thing is
when it's not a good idea
or if you discover, as in my case,
that it wasn't a big enough idea,
then just start adding products
or pivot in what you're already doing.
But adding services and
products to your offering
was critical to me.