Name: John Blomberg SBDC Region: Winthrop
Area Center: Rock Hill Area
Title: Area Manager and Business Consultant
Start Date: August 1, 2021 QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC?
ANSWER: My career path was a little unusual. After undergraduate studies at The Citadel, I went in to sales with an international steamship line in the early 90s. But I couldn’t seem find my way in such a large multinational corporation. So, after earning my MBA at Queens University, I transitioned to a project manager role in a small software company. This led me to learn about programming and then to founding a few applications development companies. Luck was with me as this was during the initial heydays of the internet. The company took off as we focused on developing web and mobile based applications for mid-sized and larger corporations.
QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant?
ANSWER: I sold my business in 2016 and worked through an earn-out agreement that ended December of 2019. I was a little lost after leaving the company and spent a good bit of time trying to determine what in life excites me. Over 2020 I realized helping entrepreneurs, teaching and consulting were at the top of the list of things I was good at and enjoyed doing.
I was later asked to be an adjunct professor at Queens University teaching entrepreneurship and innovation. Teaching became a pathway to better understanding my passions and where I want to spend time. That then led me to realize working at the SBDC provides a perfect mix of consulting, teaching and the focus on entrepreneurship that I love.
QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer an aspiring business owner?
ANSWER: Learn to accept failure. You will get punched and knocked down. True entrepreneurs understand failure comes with success and they push forward. Learn to fail fast, pivot, and try again.
QUESTION: What particular area of interest/expertise do you offer your clients?
ANSWER: I am passionate about technology and fast-moving technical services companies. From software-as-a-service (SaaS) to innovation and new product development, my experience is in consulting on and developing technical solutions that solve problems. Other areas of expertise include entrepreneurial idea validation, ecommerce, small business software, and business scaling.
QUESTION: Why is the SC SBDC an important resource for business owners in South Carolina?
ANSWER: The SC SBDC allows potential entrepreneurs and existing business owners the ability to lean in and obtain knowledge from seasoned consultants. Many of whom have been in their same situation. The SC SBDC is also a conduit to understanding various services and opportunities offered by the SBA and the State of South Carolina.
QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC?
ANSWER: Working in an environment where helping entrepreneurs is our main goal. I love learning about new ideas and ventures from clients and knowing the impact success will have in their lives, and to the South Carolina economy.
QUESTION: What quote/saying/maxim expresses your philosophy toward work and/or life?
ANSWER: It’s a quote from Elon Musk: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”
QUESTION: What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered while working as a consultant? How did you overcome it?
ANSWER: My greatest challenge was overcoming the need to think I should know everything. Years of experience taught me I do not have to try and be the smartest person in the room. Instead, I learned to lean on others to facilitate a better experience for everyone involved. I learned consulting is about listening, building trust and encouraging.
QUESTION: Describe your approach to counseling.
ANSWER: I believe in the art of listening. I believe listening is especially important when working with a client that wants to create truly new products or services. For all clients, it is important to learn where “they” want to go with their business. We can then work together towards validating the idea and building a plan to execute the needed tasks.
It is critical to be humble and build trust. Being a resource and a navigator in a client’s entrepreneurial journey can be a lot in their success.
QUESTION: What keeps you busy when you're not at work? What is your hobby and/or passion?
ANSWER: My family loves to travel and learn about other areas of the world. We jump at opportunities to go places we’ve never been. I’m also passionate about cutting stained glass. It’s a dying art that I’ve enjoyed for several years. I read historic biographies and maintain a small garden.