Many people dream of owning their own business, but only a few take the leap and become their own boss. Brian Bedford is one of those people – he had aspirations to contribute to his community and help those ready to ascend to the next level in their careers.
In this edition of #AIUStrong, we talked to an alumnus who found entrepreneurial success through networking and careful analysis of his competition. Read on to learn what motivated him to start a business, what challenges he still faces and how his degree from AIU helped prepare him for entrepreneurship.
Meet Brian Bedford
Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (specialization in Management)
Grad Year: 2005
Company: Network Job Training Services, LLC
- Before establishing your business, what was your career?
Before my business was established, I was in Facilities Construction Management for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Hines, Illinois. I oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Office Space Management, Data Center Installations, teardowns and change orders.
- What motivated you to start your own business?
For years, I have been networking with people and helping them by sharing job search tips, including how to search for the career they want. I have been told that my tips were so successful in helping people find work that I should just go into business myself.
- How did social networking play a role in your business?
Networking is a big factor today. A lot of businesses have been created online and this appears to be a great way to get started. With the creation of Facebook and Twitter, social media can be a big factor when it comes to marketing your business. I created business accounts with Facebook and Twitter, and they have been instrumental in growing my business.
- What do you enjoy most about operating a business? What are the challenges?
What I enjoy most about my business is that I interact with my clients on a virtual basis. I can teach courses online via video conferencing, which gives me a lot of flexibility.
I still face challenges with identifying the best methods for marketing my business. I feel that every business owner will face this challenge, but marketing is still necessary. If your business is not actively engaging in marketing, there will be no profit.
- Are there specific resources you used to start your business?
I created my business plan, and analyzed ideas to see what would be feasible to make my business happen. I also compared my ideas with other businesses by observing their techniques and strategies on creating jobs within their companies.
My business is built for the individual that is looking to take their career to the next level. I provide more than training tips on how to find the right job; I coach people on building their confidence, I critique resumes and I prepare my clients to negotiate the right salary.
- How did earning your BBA in Management degree at AIU help you in your career and start a company?
By earning my degree from AIU, I was able to learn the responsibilities of what it meant to become an entrepreneur. I have always had the confidence and ideas for what I have wanted to do in life, and I chose my business, Network Job Training Services, to make this happen.
- What advice, tips or suggestions would you give to alumni thinking about starting a business?
Make sure you have a plan. Developing an idea for a business is not hard, but starting a business is a lot of work. I put a lot of time and effort into the development of my business before it was launched.
Inspired by Brian’s story? Meet more alumni on our blog.