Growth is something all small businesses aim for from their very inception. But growth can present its own unique hurdles in practice. What happens when customers are knocking down your door for your product? What happens when demand for what you create exceeds your ability to supply it?
Scaling up, bringing on staff, and expanding offices are all tricky and expensive things to do, especially when you can’t take a break from your business’s everyday work to put those initiatives in place.
That’s when help from an experienced group of small business professionals and accessible lines of credit can help transform a one-person team into an entirely new company—which is exactly what happened with JB Media.
Justin Belleme spent the first few years after graduating from the University of North Carolina in Asheville doing what he could to pay his bills and make a mark in the city he loved. He worked at coffee shops while taking on any freelance clients he could get in the fields of SEO, Google ads, and social media, building his skillset as well as his reputation for quality and reliable work.
Before long he found himself stretched thin—he was juggling the work of eight clients as he pushed through regular 80-hour weeks. He was exhausted by the grind of seeking and maintaining new business while providing top-notch service to the clients he already had. It was a time of “big ups and big downs,” Justin said of this period of building his client base. “Big wins and big stressors. I could hardly handle the pressure of it.”
He knew he was at an inflection point. Either he would have to drop his current way of doing business and go to work full-time for one of his clients, or he would need to start hiring staff to take on some of the workload. He decided on the latter and decided to start his own agency—JB Media Group—to give him the room he knew he needed to grow.
But moving from freelance work to starting your own agency is more easily said than done, considering the upfront costs and monumental amounts of effort involved. But Justin knew that Mountain BizWorks offered services and business loans that were designed with small organizations and startups in mind. With their help, he had access to a line of credit that allowed him to cover final contractor payments, as well as purchase furniture and office equipment that would allow the JB Media office to open and hit the ground running.
In a handful of years, the JB Media Group has expanded to take on a broader clientele both in industries and in company size. Their staff has grown to nearly 20 individuals and the services they offer has expanded to match.
JB Media and Mountain BizWorks have worked together many times in recent years. The most important part of any business, says Justin, is the team—the people. That means not only the agency staff, but also the partners and community business members, like those at Mountain BizWorks, that align with their goals and values.
“The fact that we are able to be one of the larger creative sector companies in Asheville and have been growing steadily over the years is a big part of what I’m proud of,” Justin said.
“I couldn’t do it at all without the amazing team that I have.”