Jim Jackson – Advisor Insight
When it comes to the world of business, CTSBDC Business Advisor Jim Jackson is anything but inexperienced. Trained as an engineer, Jim has 45 years of design, manufacturing and business experience under his belt, as well as leading a Fortune 500 division and starting his own small business consulting firm in 1995. In October 2013, he joined the CTSBDC as a professional business advisor, coming to the aid of small businesses throughout Middlesex County. Clearly, his experience speaks for itself.
As a “recovering engineer,” Jim uses his expert knowledge and unique perspective to help guide small business entrepreneurs in the right direction.
“I help my clients look at both the big picture and small details in order to find all the opportunities to be followed and problems that need fixing,” Jim recounts. “At the CTSBDC, I’m helping clients design their future and succeed, which is very important to me.”
When Jim first meets his clients, he focuses on asking a broad range of questions about their business as well as their personal goals and aspirations. Once clear goals are defined and laid out, Jim and his client can work together to create successes and avoid failures.
Jim also places a large emphasis on networking when it comes to promoting small businesses. “Networking can often be the lifeblood of your business. I know that the majority of my business’ success came from public events and referrals,” Jim admits. “It’s not about who you know. It’s about who knows you, and what they say about you when you’re not around.”
When it comes to software and technology, Jim also makes good use of the CTSBDC’s suite of business software tools. “We have a program for nearly every situation,” Jim says. “For example, I use Fintel to help an experienced business compare its finances against its peers. Ibis World is opened up when a client wants to enter a new market and find out who are the big players in the industry. Our very own Business Analyst Reports are for small businesses that want to focus on the demographics of their home turf.” Of course, Jim isn’t afraid to start small and use an Excel spreadsheet for budgeting and finances, to help even veteran businesses keep track of their cash flow.
Jim’s dedication to Connecticut’s small business expands even beyond business advising. In 1997, he helped develop the Side Street To Main Street program, an entrepreneurial and business development course geared toward helping minority small business owners thrive and become more successful. As a CTSBDC business advisor, he helped license the program and teach his fellow professional business advisors how to facilitate the course. Thanks to Jim, the CTSBDC can further reach out to and educate entrepreneurs who are just starting out in the world of business, with the CTSBDC’s inaugural Side Street to Main Street students graduating from the program in December 2015.
When asked what his number one piece of advice was for American small businesses, Jim stressed the importance of having a clear definition of your goal and of success.
“I think it’s incredibly important to have a visual affirmation of success. That’s why right now, you should ask yourself, what is success? What is my goal?” Jim suggests. “Then, turn it into a picture for you to look at every day so that you can remind yourself what you’re working toward, even if you have to find a picture of a storefront and paste your own name on the door. That way, you never lose sight of your dream.”