Swiss Technologies of New England & Stone Medical was created by President, Shawn Gaskin. When starting and maintaining your business can feel daunting at times, but being able to look back at your growth and accomplishments can make it all worthwhile.
Below is an interview transcript asking some insightful questions as to why Shawn started his manufacturing business as well as the highs and lows of being a small business owner.
When did you start your business?
“I started the business, Swiss Technologies of New England on February 9th, 2001.”
How did you come up with the name for both of your companies?
“I actually came up with the name when I was looking through Thomas Register and I wanted it to start with swiss because the machines are called swiss screw machines. I then came up with the name Swiss Tech when looking through the Thomas Register, but then I ran into a possible copyright infringement, so I switched the name to Swiss Technologies of New England from Swiss Tech.”
“And Stone stands for Swiss Technologies of New England. Our Business Manager actually came up with the name so I give all the credit to her.”
Why did you decide to start your own business?
“I just wanted to be able to call my own shots and at the time it was perfect because I had just gotten married and didn't have any kids, so I had the time to roll the dice, take a chance, and start up on my own.”
What advice would you give to someone just starting their own business?
“If you're starting your own business and think you're going to work 40 hours a week to create, that's not going to happen. You should know you have to have the eye of the tiger when you're going to be starting your own business.”
What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
“The hardest part is letting go and letting other people take responsibilities away from you. Especially when you're small. You want to have your hands in everything because you know the right way to do it and a lot of times you must let an employee fail to end up being better at their job.”
What would you say is the easiest part?
“The easiest part I think is actually finding the work to run through the machines.”
What have been some of your most significant learning experiences in running a business?
“I would say how to read a profit and loss statement and how to deal with all different types of employee personalities.”
What would you change about your business journey if you could go back?
“I probably would have stayed smaller than what I am. Bigger business means bigger problems, more employees, and it's just gotten really tough to find qualified people, and the bigger you get the more water you leak. With leaking you are not as profitable when you're bigger.”
What do you think is the significant challenge facing small businesses today?
“One of the major problems that I see facing small businesses right now is 1. Qualified people. 2. The cost of real estate and the cost of renting real estate has really gotten out of control. It's more of a real estate game now than it is a small business game. If you can get and hold on to a piece of real estate or a building it makes it a lot easier for you to be able to do business."