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Small Business Spotlight – September 2020: Self Interactive

Company name: Self Interactive
Person in charge: Charlie Rosenbury, president
Year founded: 2012

Describe what your organization provides for its customers:
Self Interactive solves business problems through software. This can be in the form of directing a business toward off-the-shelf solutions, designing a strategy across multiple services, or building custom bespoke software. The “business problems” can be anything from creating efficiencies internally, reducing human error through better design, or more straightforward goals like a marketing website or app.

Give us a brief history of your business and what makes it unique:
Self was started in 2012 as a for-hire software development company. As business grew, so did the Self Interactive team. Recognizing the future of digital work and the move toward a gig economy, we shifted the infrastructure for approaching these bespoke solutions to ad hoc teams on a per-project basis. This provides flexibility for each project, letting us address the issue with the talent that best fits the need. This also means our toolbox is much larger than a company with a fixed set of developers & designers. We can do anything from tech strategy to websites to apps to virtual reality. This versatility allows us to always land on the best solution for each business’s unique needs.

What’s the most exciting recent highlight for your business?
Over the last year, Self has had some very interesting projects. We’re currently working with a company leveraging very large datasets to make informed marketing decisions. Another interesting client has a unique hardware device related to generating experiences related to the stimulating the user’s senses. We’re currently overhauling the user-facing software interface as well as the composer in which these experiences are authored. This diversity of projects and subject matter keeps the work interesting.

Where do you hope to see your business in 12 months?
Hopefully not too different from where we are now. We have found a good balance of workload and income that has been manageable and interesting, which is hard to find. We are no longer pursuing growth for the sake of growth, but rather prioritizing a reasonable and manageable workload for everyone involved.

How have you adapted its operations to deal with the coronavirus crisis?
Fortunately the work has always been virtual, so besides the bumps early on with some clients scaling back their projects, we’ve weathered the crisis better than most.

What advice would you offer to someone starting their own small business?

  • Have an outline of where the business is headed, but be willing to adapt to the realities of your business operations and clientele
  • Understand your KPI as early as possible
  • Spend time on operational systems to track work and targets, but recognize that your work/product should remain at the center
  • Hire intentionally and be willing to wait for the right candidate
  • Never get involved in a land war in Asia
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