Brian Cairns understands how businesses work. With 20 years of management and marketing experience for companies like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer, he’s no stranger to the challenges of corporate environments.
But the higher Brian climbed, the more disenchanted he became with the Fortune 500 world. He began searching for deeper meaning and purpose. “There was something about the constraints and politics of large organizations that made me feel undervalued,” he says.
A management reshuffle proved to be the perfect opportunity for Brian to jump ship, and he dove head first into the world of entrepreneurship. His first business, a supplement company, did fairly well and he eventually sold it. But it was the second venture, ProStrategix, that captured his full heart and imagination.
ProStrategix is a consulting firm that serves small businesses. Its clients are usually in their first or second year of operation and looking to grow. “So many of these businesses have incredible potential, but they struggle to scale,” says Brian. His mission is to help small business owners prioritize, get focused on the right things, and plan for the future. “You should be running the business, not letting the business run you!” he tells his clients.
Brian’s message to small business owners is clear: narrow your focus and don’t get caught up in the day-to-day whirlwind. “So few of the businesses I see actually take the time to plan,” says Brian. “In the crazy world of running a small business, you’re pulled in 100 different ways every day. It’s so easy to be distracted or to lose sight of where you’re heading.”
Planning is essential to help business owners focus and make better, more thoughtful decisions, says Brian. He recommends going back to your business plan at least once a quarter to make sure you’re focusing on the right things.
Financing is another common obstacle for most of the businesses ProStrategix helps. Great focus and planning can only do so much for a business if the cash flow dries up, shares Brian. “I’ve seen a number of my clients struggle to get the funds they need,” he says. “Usually they’ve only been in business a short time and their credit scores are low. It can be a very painful process for them.”
The good news is the small business funding landscape is changing. Since the recession, online lenders and lending marketplaces have stepped in to fill the gap left by big banks. Nowadays, it’s easier to access hundreds of different loan products online and find one that fits your business.
For Brian, creating a small business that helps other small business owners reach their goals has been a life-changing experience. “What my business does is solve problems for people who need help. Small businesses really appreciate people who can help them and provide a boost. It is so rewarding to help someone achieve a dream, and I’ve encountered so much appreciation. That has made all the difference to me.”