Small Business Success Q&A #7: Gravity Switch

Gravity Switch is a highly respected firm that has established a name for itself in the world of Web design and interactive technology. Known for producing high-end, custom Web and CD-ROM solutions, they work with local and national companies, educational institutions and non-profits.

Anyone who knows anything about the world of Web design knows how highly competitive this field is, so any firm that has managed to hang-in there for 14 years must know some secrets for small business success. I particularly like Jason Mark’s advice to cut expenses before you need to. If we all practiced that advice, our bank accounts would be far better off! Enjoy!

Name: Jason Mark

Company: Gravity Switch

Location: Northampton MA

Website: www.gravityswitch.com

Blog: http://www.gravityswitch.com/blog/

Founded: 1996

No. of employees: 8

Business description: We design and build websites, databases, CD-ROMs and iPhone/iPad applications that work. We compete head-to-head against big companies in Boston and San Francisco on websites with millions of visitors, and bring that experience back to the Pioneer Valley to help non-profit and for-profit customers of all sizes.

What have been the keys to your business success? Focus on quality and customer service above all else. Everyone here also has a passion for learning and improving, and that is what sustains our focus.

Best business advice you’ve ever been given? It’s hard to pick the “best” but some that stand out are paraphrased here:

  • You can either work in your business or on your business.
  • Only 75% of all hires make it through the first year. Plan your hiring strategy accordingly.
  • Cut expenses BEFORE you need to.
  • If you don’t change, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing, you’re dead.

Worst business advance you’ve ever been given? I’ve never thought of any advice as “bad” advice. It’s all part of learning and growing, and for every 100 things that come in, one thing sticks. I’ve made bad decisions, but I can’t think of any bad advice.

What was the toughest thing you’ve ever had to do as a business owner? Go home from work to spend time with my family. It’s hard. I want to do it, and I do it, but it’s hard to be on a roll with a project and have to stop.

What advice would you give to someone just starting a business? Learn your financials. Without positive cash flow your business is really a hobby, and you can’t support yourself, your family, your employees or your community on a hobby.

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