Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Randi Sargent, Founder of Say it with Symbols, located in Sudbury, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started Say it with Symbols to offer families and caregivers an easy-to-use way to communicate with their loved one who was not able to speak due to developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism, stroke, ALS, brain injury, and other disabilities. As I’ve experienced firsthand, without communication aids, families resort to playing a kind of charades to guess what their loved one needs. It's frustrating and exhausting.
Through Say it with Symbols, I create printed picture communication aids that give adults with speech challenges the opportunity to communicate with family and caregivers about their needs, feelings, and health and generally participate in everyday adult life. Some need my products temporarily during recovery from a stroke, while others have lifelong speech difficulties. My products are used by families, therapists, nurses, and social workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice settings.
Tell us about yourself
I am a parent and caregiver of a nonspeaking son who has cerebral palsy. When he was in school, we worked on his communication skills with help from speech therapists and educators. After graduation, these services disappeared. There were no adult-appropriate communication products available that nonspeaking adults could purchase, so I created them. My products are available to anyone via SayitwithSymbols.com, Amazon, Walmart.com, and Etsy, where they shop for other health products. My background in writing, communications, and marketing helped too.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I love being able to help family members and professionals find a product that their loved one can use to communicate and makes their life as a caregiver a little easier.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Juggling lots of tasks and prioritizing them. My kids are older now, so I spend most nights filling and shipping orders, it's a lifestyle choice!! I hope to be still doing this into my retirement era!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Purchase inventory conservatively - you can always purchase more as it sells! Keep your overhead low.
- Learn to do basic web content management yourself. You'll save time and money and have more control. But know when you've reached your tech limit!
- Listen to your customer's perceived needs and issues. The customer is always right.
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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