Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Blaine Bateman, President of EAF LLC., located in Boulder, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide consulting services in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and predictive analytics. The main product is models, which can be used to predict something important to the business, as well as exhaustive data analysis. My customers are B2B or B2C companies who need to leverage data for improved decision-making. Some customers may use my models in a product; others may be seeking to answer an internal question.
Tell us about yourself
I began my consulting business, EAF, in 2011. Originally I focused on helping clients leverage internal and external data to analyze markets and opportunities. But I found there were deeper needs--customers struggled to understand the extent of their data, much less fully understand insights that could be gleaned from the data. In addition, forecasting was a pain point for many of my clients. Around this time, Machine Learning was undergoing a renaissance that continues today. I decided to pivot my business and focus entirely on analytics and modeling.
In the work I do for my clients, I code (mainly in Python, but in R and sometimes others) nearly every day. I find this to fulfill a desire to be creative and solve problems every day. Getting a model to work for a client is very satisfying.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is that I have remained in business into my 12th year, despite economic conditions, the pandemic, and other headwinds. Another accomplishment is I have never had an unhappy customer.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Honestly, one of the most difficult aspects of having a small business in the United States is our crazy healthcare system. Other challenges are complex financial rules, which I leave to my accounting firm. As a small business facing large clients, it can take a long time to get paid, which presents its set of challenges. Overall, I think the hardest thing is maintaining a brand identity. There are things pulling you to do projects outside your scope, which can really hurt your focus.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Focus on something you love to do that excites you. Just because you are capable, even great at something, doesn't mean it will be fulfilling as your own business.
- Always try to over-deliver. Consider one of your titles to be head of customer happiness.
- Keep learning. Running your own business gives you the freedom to constantly learn, vs. being a cog in a corporate wheel. That means no excuses! Constantly improve yourself; you don't have to ask permission anymore!
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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