Garrett Massey’s web development start-up, Eyesore Inc., is in its fourth office since its 2009 launch, a historic Coca-Cola bottling facility in downtown Griffin. With nine full-time staff and annual sales shaping up to 50 percent growth for 2015, the company would seem to consume all of his time and energy.
It does not.
Massey has mastered the art of working on his business rather than in his business after training and consulting with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. And while expanding his firm’s services, staff and sales, he has grown from a student in the SBDC’s FastTrac Growth Venture® course to an instructor for Maximum Marketing® and a UGA SBDC event sponsor.
“I attended one of the very first Maximum Marketing® classes that Kyle taught in Griffin,” says Massey. Consultant Kyle Hensel is now the area director for the UGA SBDC’s Savannah office. “Later I would travel with him to places including Dublin and present material on search engine optimization at his courses. Kylewanted someone working in the technology business to make these presentations to SBDC clients.”
While teaching, Massey learns. “While my industry experience really helped me teach the SEO components of the course, my participation helped give me a good idea of what entrepreneurs know and need to know. And in working with the SBDC as a marketing professional, it has been good to be reminded that we need to be marketing ourselves. A lot of small businesses tend to overlook that ongoing marketing and networking.”
Eyesore creates and manages web content and marketing to drive sales and increase exposure for companies and nonprofits. The firm now spends half of its time in web development, maintenance and support, and the other half in its newer service, developing custom web applications and mobile apps.
Massey works on his budgeting, cash flow and reviewing year-end numbers with consultant Alisa Kirk, area director with the Clayton State University office.
“Eyesore is expanding quickly, and Garrett has made some strategic decisions about how to grow,” says Kirk. “He has called me in to help him look through his financials and understand the work he’d have to do to sustain a new hire. We’ve also talked about his deciding his best role in the business, like networking and signing new contracts, then finding people to fill his other roles.
“Garrett understands that when you’re going to expand, it makes sense to plan for it financially rather than to just expand and see what happens.”
“It’s good to have an objective point of view, someone expert looking over your shoulder,” says Massey. “I organize data on a daily basis, but working with Alisa and Kyle has been beneficial. They have forced me to look at the big picture, at what’s going to happen in the next year and the next five years, at what areas to expand and what areas to cut back, and in making more strategic decisions.
“The most important thing I’ve learned from the SBDC is that without an appropriate budget and financial plan, you’re in the dark, no matter what you think you know. Without financial goals in place, you’re churning and churning without necessarily moving in the right direction.
“The next thing on my agenda is to reach out to Alisa as we close down our budget year.”
Eyesore will also sponsor the Georgia SBDC Digital Marketing Program in Savannah in February.
“Garrett has developed Eyesore into a high-impact company with jobs and sales, and he continues to support the programs of the SBDC,” says Hensel.
“He will do well.”