This is a true story. It’s about how doing one thing well and sticking with it worked. Over 10 years, the Small Business Advocate radio show has grown from Jim Blasingame’s own certainty, in the beginning, that it was needed and that he could do it, to an established personal brand.
My first experience with Jim Blasingame was at 5:30 in a very cold dark and rainy morning in January of 1998. The Small Business Advocate show was barely two months old. Jim made a radio interview fun, easy, and worth doing. I decided right then that Jim is a natural interviewer. He’s friendly, he’s smart, he knows his stuff and he knows your stuff, and he knows the world of small business and the people in it.
So I started regular early morning radio visits. A natural interviewer makes an easy radio session. We always covered topics I cared about, mostly business planning, but also starting a business, growing a business, and working with family members in small business. He invited me to join his group of experts (he calls it brain trust). He also archives a lot of his shows, meaning tons of good content, and also several interviews with me.
Palo Alto Software became a sponsor soon afterwards. I told my marketing people that "this guy" is good, and he works hard, and he’s going to make it. We put our money behind that and decided to sponsor the show. We were the first sponsor, but hardly the most important. As Jim continued to do a good show five days a week and 52 weeks a year, he grew. Fortune Small Business named put him on a short list of the most influential journalists in U.S. small business. The SBA named him journalist of the year. IBM became a sponsor, and several other larger companies followed. Last September the national Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) asked him to introduce keynote speaker Stephen Covey.
This week Jim celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Small Business Advocate show, and his story and my congratulations belong here at Planning Startups Stories. Jim’s is a great story and a successful startup. He saw a need and he jumped into it. I’ve kept up with him about every month over these 10 years and I know that his steady rise has been a matter of a whole lot of hard work for a long time. Step by step he managed to first break even, then, slowly, build the revenue stream to the point he is now, making a comfortable living for himself and three other employees, and still growing.