A new business owner takes leap and learns the language of a new industry
They say if you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life. That could not be more accurate for International Translation Services President, John Bryant. Starting out his career in the insurance industry, but his position was eliminated due to a company closure. Bryant then looked to business ownership as a solution. Having other family members who had gone that route in the past, it seemed like a good option.
Although Bryant had no previous experience in the language services industry, he was blessed with a bilingual wife. Stumbling upon International Translation felt like a natural fit for his family. Being around non-native English speakers, Bryant saw the positive impacts language services can have firsthand.
With any business, there are challenges in this industry that Bryant is still navigating his way through. Most language services professionals have been interpreters themselves, which gives them a huge advantage of having existing clients to work with. Additionally, employing quality translators isn’t cheap. This is a professional service where you get what you pay for and Bryant only wants the best.
International Translation Services provides face to face translation services which can struggle to compete with online translation services; however, that face-to-face contact is one his biggest assets. Being able to hear tone and see facial expressions while translating makes a huge difference. How many times have you copied something into an online translation tool and the results are something completely different than what you meant? It can be safely assumed that the answer to that question is often.
As seen with other blue sky businesses, a translation services company has minimal to no physical assets, with the biggest intangible value being those interpreters working face-to-face with people in need of help. This was a business that didn’t need a brick-and-mortar location or a large amount of inventory on hand.
When planning long term, it is vital to know what your limitations are and what resources you have available. Knowing from the beginning that his home state of Iowa didn’t offer a lot of translation service opportunities, he has always had it in mind to expand to other states. Knowing what your end goal is up front
can help outline what day-to-day decisions will get you there.
Two years after Bryant’s initial purchase of International Translation Services, he has returned to The Firm with interest in another translation service business. Now with experience in the industry, Bryant feels comfortable purchasing a business that was originally located hundreds of miles away. An industry he knew very little about has now become his new career and passion.
John Bryant's Advice to those New to Business Ownership
• Do your own research...digging into the financials and physically touring the business gives you a much closer relationship with the opportunity to really see if it’s right for you.
• Talk to people that do the same type of business in another state. Not being seen as a competitor they most times have great advice to give.
• Be on the look out for potential customers (specifically large organizations) – this gives you a starting point for growth opportunities
• Pay attention to the news! What is going on in the world can have a large impact on business owners.
• Being excited about a new opportunity can sometimes give you rose colored glasses. Don’t forget to also consider worst case scenarios while you daydream about the possibilities.
• Expect to lose some business due to the change in ownership.
• Get the seller’s buy-in. Having a good contact to help you through the transition is invaluable.