Brannen Cunningham, owner of Sparksmith in Waynesville, sheds light on how his business came to be, the key to finding and keeping new customers, and his best advice for first-time entrepreneurs.
(upbeat electronic music)
- Hey, I'm Brannen Cunningham.
And this is Sparksmith.
We do custom automotive lighting.
This business started in 2013 as a hobby
and it just worked out that
this location became available.
That was when it really
kind of solidified with me.
When I opened this place up,
I had an employee all of a sudden,
and I was like, "Wow, this has
gone from hobby to full on.
Like, this is a legitimate business."
It's easy to start a business
and be really passionate about something,
and then get burnt out on it.
If you've got the idea, if
you've got the business model,
go for it, but make
sure you've got a plan.
Even if it changes, because
the plan always changes.
But that's what plans are for
is just that point of departure.
Don't be afraid to borrow money.
If you've got a solid business plan
and you've got this thing
that's gonna solve a problem,
take that idea and go talk to the bank,
go talk to the small business center,
go talk to somebody who will,
they'll loan you money,
there's grants out there,
and things like that,
to help with that financial side of it.
I'd say you first have to
figure out who that customer is.
You gotta identify what
problem you're solving
and who you're solving it for.
Who's that person you're gonna talk to?
Once you figure out who they are,
you got to figure out
where they spend time,
how you can get in front of them.
But the core of that is
identify the audience.
What's great about Waynesville,
is we've got this community of people.
And I think my sister said it best,
"You're here 'cause you wanna be here."
And that just makes
this community of people
who love it so much, and they want to do
whatever they can to make it work.