Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bruce Haymes, Founder of Coleytown Advisors, located in Westport, CT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I lead a consulting firm that advises service businesses that are either technology-focused or private equity backed on best practices to increase growth. I work with my clients to understand their business, competitive landscape, strengths, challenges, and opportunities with the goal of creating multiple paths to generate revenue growth. These options typically include organic growth investments plus partnerships and M&A.

After I work with clients to create these strategies, I continue with most clients, working with their leadership teams, to execute one or more of these strategies. My clients range widely in size and maturity. I have worked with early-stage technology startups, mid-stage companies scaling up, and mature businesses or business units owned by financial institutions. While I work across many industries, I specialize in businesses focused on data technology, marketing solutions, advertising, educational technologies, and higher education.

Tell us about yourself

I started my career as a corporate finance lawyer and left a large Wall Street firm where I represented banks and large companies involved in IPOs or M&A to join a satellite communications company as its assistant general counsel. I worked closely with the CEO on M&A and joint venture strategies. I wanted to leave legal practice and spend all of my time on business and strategy, and that company ultimately promoted me to head of strategy and corporate development. After that, I worked in cable television (Time Warner) in a similar role and then Nielsen (the TV rating company) in a variety of product strategy, corporate strategy, innovation, M&A, and venture investing roles. Before starting Coleytown, I worked in the president's office at Northeastern University on strategy and joint ventures.

After working in diverse industries as an employee, in 2020, I decided to try to bring my skills and experiences to a new independent business. It has been a great experience. I find that I am more productive and more highly valued than when I was an employee. There are no politics, distractions, or bureaucracies to impede my work. I have more autonomy and find that I am more engaged in my projects. I believe my clients are satisfied as a typical engagement starts with a three-month commitment, but almost all of my clients extend - some for as long as two years.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Making the transition from employee order-taker to a proactive marketer of my skills. I never thought that I could sell myself, but it turns out that if you have confidence and urgency, you become a good marketer - whether you like it or not!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Securing healthcare and performing administrative tasks that are usually covered by an employee in a large company.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a safety net.
  2. Be prepared to market yourself.
  3. Have fun!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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