Business Junkie


Meet Bill Brigham. He’s a “business junkie”.  After working in and around small businesses for the last 25 years what else would you expect. 

Bill & his family in Ecuador

Bill & his family in Ecuador

Bill is the director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), at the University at Albany. The Center is staffed with 10 Business Advisors that provide free one-on-one counseling to existing and startup small businesses, including: business planning, marketing, creating financial statements, and training. “Some business owners just want to talk or bounce ideas off us, so we sit down and guide them through the problems and issues that they face.”

Beyond his business obsesssion, Bill is a distance runner and golfer and recently spent two weeks in Ecuador where he and his family learned about the cloud forest and the indigenous people. Not a typical vacation for a suit & tie bureaucrat (whatever that is).

Prior to the SBDC, Bill was the Marketing Manager and the Vice President for two local family-owned manufacturing firms – the ideal on the job training for what he does today. It involved sales and marketing, product development, quality control, production scheduling, figuring out how to make payroll along with the typical “putting out fires” of small business management. Bill’s toughest decision: laying off 40 people three weeks after Christmas. (We’ll hear more about that in a future blog).

In addition to first-hand experience, Bill is an SBDC Certified Business Advisor. For five years prior to becoming the Director ten years ago, he worked on a pilot SBDC program that was structured as a three person “swat” team to trouble-shoot distressed family businesses in New York State. He also teaches an e-commerce business planning course in the University’s MBA program. “This keeps me in tune with current trends and issues.  It also allows me to feed off the enthusiasm and unique perspectives of a group of extremely intelligent young people.”

What do you like most about your job?
“We empower people! We make entrepreneurs successful!  Also, the diversity of the region’s businesses involves working in “pizza to aerospace”.  Analyzing and assisting existing businesses is a welcome challenge.”

What is the biggest pitfall for new business owners?
“The obvious, lack of capital, planning, and experience.  Simply put, small businesses are victims of what they don’t know.   My best advice for someone starting a new business or even an existing business: Plan Plan Plan.  Also, use the resources that are out there.”

The SBDC at the University at Albany staff is comprised of serial entrepreneurs, former business owners, and technology and economic developers. The services are tailored for any small business (500 employees or less), start-up or existing.   The program specializes in business planning, financial analysis, strategic planning, marketing, international trade, and even has access to a 5 business librarian research network, which includes pro blogger Roger Green, that supports the entire 23 center network with market research for clients.  The services are of great value, even though the services are free.  

The SBDC: Here to make New York State businesses successful.  


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