Betsy, a 13-year-old black lab, had no idea that one day a small business would be named after her. When entrepreneur Paul Zindrick launched Black Dog Consulting, LLC, this hypothetical became a reality.
Zindrick’s consulting agency is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area in California where he resides. It was formally set up in November 2012 and consists of a business partner and a few contractors.
Black Dog Consulting assists clients with their branding, marketing, business development, and public relations needs. Zindrick specializes in working with drivers and teams involved in motorsports, particularly for auto racing. He also does work with other athletes, entertainers, and musicians.
The company’s services include strategy consulting, positioning, brand strategy, general marketing strategy, sponsorship acquisition, business development, and social marketing.
“In a nutshell, the services we offer can be applied to sports and entertainment fields,” Zindrick says. “We can build a marketing program around a band, a team, or an individual.”
For 6 years, Zindrick worked at a large corporation running its sponsorship and events team. He eventually decided it was time to go out on his own.
“The position I held there didn’t have any more room to grow,” he says. “I discovered I was really passionate about the work. I also have a background in business, so I thought it was a great opportunity to combine my prior experience in business and marketing to start my own company.”
Zindrick says he did not start out with a business partner, but he decided it was important to have someone else on board. He previously worked with this individual and felt their strengths complemented each other well.
“He’s the other half of my brain,” Zindrick says. “He brings other skill sets to the mix that aren’t necessarily strengths of mine.”
The Enjoyment of Self-Employment
He says there are lots of reasons he enjoys being one of the many American small business owners doing what they love.
“The flexibility of being a business owner and working from home is a big thing for me,” he says. “Coming from the corporate environment, it’s great to have the opportunity to make things happen quickly and to make decisions on my own. Basically, I’m in control of my own destiny.”
About 70% of his work can be done remotely through communication tools like phone, e-mail, and Skype. The rest of the time, he is meeting with clients face-to-face or is attending events he helps market.
He talks about the competitiveness of the industry and explains how he can set Black Dog Consulting apart from the rest of the small business owners out there who have similar agencies.
“There’s a considerable amount of competition,” he says. “What I am doing is creating programs that fill a need that others do not work in as much. I found a niche and we’re building programs that are different.”
According to Zindrick, networking and word-of-mouth are the most effective strategies to make others aware that his small business exists. He also utilizes social media and has a website – www.blackdogsmc.com. He has company pages on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Starting something new takes time to learn. For Zindrick, becoming a new small business owner has certainly come with a learning curve.
“It takes time to build up that client list. It’s all about getting people to recognize that you’re a viable company and convincing them to trust you and to do business with you. The core foundation of a professional network is to gain credibility. As your client list grows, that will help you with your credibility.”
Tips for Aspiring Small Business Owners
He says being adaptable is a necessary element to running a successful company that can be maintained over time.
“Follow your dreams,” he says. “Just remember that when you build your initial business plan, you’re going to have to make changes to it over time. You’ll have to accept and embrace change because you’re going to have to make adjustments along the way and adapt to a potentially changing market. If I hadn’t been open to other ideas, I would’ve never been able to tap into the entertainment side.”
He adds that working from home is much different than the fast-paced and often hectic environment of working in a corporate office.
“I’m a very social person, and my dogs don’t talk back to me,” he jokes.
As a 1-800Accountant client, Zindrick says the national accounting firm has been able to help him with many facets of his small business.
“Everything I’ve needed 1-800Accountant for, you guys have come through. The biggest thing for me was getting things set up from a tax standpoint. I’ve had several good discussions with your tax advisors, and they’ve been very helpful in guiding me before I make any decisions.”
Photo credit: The photographs included in this article were provided by Black Dog Consulting, LLC and are used with permission.