Chris Pisarz – Advisor Insight
Chris Pisarz has been an expert business advisor with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) since 2013. His masterful skills of building relationships with his clients and guiding them towards a more efficient and prosperous way of business have been a great asset to the city of Bridgeport and its surrounding area, as he continues to improve the business lives of his clients and contribute to the prosperity of his community.
To Chris, being a professional business advisor is more than just the money and finances; one needs to be a people person to help guide clients and their businesses.
“My most important skill is that people trust me,” he says. Chris starts his first meeting with his clients already briefed on their needs and worries, and simply asks them about their passions and their reasons for being in business. He listens to their business troubles, and crafts an advising plan detailing the steps that they’ll take together to guide the client to better business.
Motivation for these cases often take a personal angle, due to how grateful and relieved Chris’ clients feel when they realize that he is there to help and that there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I let my clients know that I’m on their side, and that really gives them peace of mind. I’ve had clients tear up when I show them I have a plan for them and their business, and it really shows me how important my efforts are to them,” Chris recounts. He’s often inspired by businesses both creating new jobs and retaining old jobs thanks to his efforts.
“When I see that businesses I’ve guided get to keep their employees employed, and thus ensure that those employees get to keep putting food on the table for their families, it motivates me to do everything I can to help them, because there’s a real ripple effect when it comes to supporting Connecticut’s small businesses,” Chris says. With over $6.5 million raised in capital and 150 jobs saved in 2015, Chris has proven to be a serious supporter and benefactor to both new and existing small businesses.
Years of going into Connecticut’s entrepreneur communities and helping to guide each client to their American Dream has given Chris perspective into what it means to make a business succeed.
“I’m not just here for the initial problem the client comes to us with,” he says. “I’m here for multidimensional advising and evaluation, rather than a one dimensional quick fix. I’m here to show my clients the smaller problems that surround and cause the bigger problems in their business,” he states.
Chris believes strongly in the power of perspective, and often instructs his clients into viewing their businesses not from the perspective of an owner, but from the perspective of a customer in order to pinpoint the reasons why results may be dropping.
When asked what one piece of advice he has for American small businesses, he suggests “Know what you know, what you don’t know and who knows what you don’t. My advice is to surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and small business owner. Ask a lot of questions. Knowledge is power. Be open to constructive criticism. Understand that accepting advice from advisors, such as those from the CTSBDC, can only benefit you. Take advantage of all the resources and assistance that’s available to you.”
Chris also has the CTSBDC and its suite of business software tools backing him up. He cites tools such as GrowthWheel as being an important resource for guiding clients towards improving their marketing solutions and finding the best option.
“Using GrowthWheel, the client and I look at what they’re currently doing with marketing and identify what is working and what isn’t working,” Chris states. “We then check off all the possibilities that could be used in the future. It’s had amazing results.”
With the support of these tools, Chris helps his clients achieve tasks that were previously overwhelming, like crafting loan proposals and creating the perfect mobile website.
Of course, Chris does not do his work alone.
“Another thing that gives my clients hope is that I have relationships with agencies such as the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Labor, which help to secure potential capital for struggling business owners.”
In a world where processes and paperwork can be confusing and overwhelming, Chris has expert knowledge about relevant organizations that can be a lifesaver to businesses, and can help guide clients to the proper resources.
A Bridgeport native, Chris is proud of his state and his city. As a member of the Bridgeport Board of Commerce, he wants to elevate the reputation of the city and its surrounding area.
“There’s a lot of factories and manufacturing businesses in Bridgeport, and people don’t often see what’s happening in those brick buildings, but I do,” Chris expresses. “There’s a lot of cool things happening, and I want to help these things succeed. I definitely have Connecticut pride, and I want to do my part in helping this state to be known for its strong small businesses.”
Chris continues to improve his community and give new and existing business owners hope with his expert advising services from his office at the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Because of his work, he was selected by his peers to receive the America’s SBDC (ASBDC) Connecticut State Star, a prestigious award given to the most industrious and passionate SBDC workers in each state. He will be honored for this award at the ASBDC National Conference in September, alongside other State Star winners.