In a small business, 'You do everything; you wear all the hats.'
Name: William and Rosanna Feyerabend
Business: Alianza, a weekly Spanish-language news publication
Location: Prescott Valley, Arizona
What’s the history of your business?
A Mexican immigrant began Alianza in the mid-2000s as a soccer newspaper. Around 2007, my wife, Rosanna, was looking for something to get involved in. She’s an American citizen and Peruvian by birth. In Peru, she worked as a reporter and worked in public relations for the state hospital system. But she was looking for something to occupy herself while the kids were at school. So she contacted the guy who ran this, which was basically a soccer league sports sheet, and he allowed her volunteer.
Then he went back to Mexico, and she got a call from someone from at Prescott Valley asking her to continue it because it was the only way the town government knew to communicate with the Hispanic population. It’s about 13 percent Hispanic here in Prescott Valley.
There are three towns: Chino Valley, Prescott and Prescott Valley. Alianza distributes free weekly in the tri-cities and surrounding hamlets.
What do you love most about running a small business?
At times it’s very aggravating, but at other times it’s rewarding. You do everything; you wear all the hats. That means you go out and contact people. Our teenage kids accuse Rosanna of knowing everybody. Having a lot of circles of contacts is huge. But you know the customers inside out, the community inside out.
What is Arizona’s business climate like?
It’s incredibly open and easy to start a business here. I don’t view anything as being particularly problematic. I mean, you have to register your business and pay taxes, etc. But from the point of view of Arizona, a car dealership is a small business. Alianza is more like a microbusiness.
Why did you join NFIB?
The thing that’s different with NFIB is every time I’ve asked for information, they provide it. The crew always comes back, always produces. And it’s informative. Their meetings—you get a speaker at each one, and you get somebody who does what they say they do, which is an admirable trait.
What are some of your biggest challenges, and how are you dealing with them?
The big challenge, at least one of them, is with the migration to digital—figuring out how to make that pay. It’s ingrained when I take an ad in print newspapers, you pay for it. With the Web, it’s a challenge to figure out how to make the finances work.
There’s the print side of the business and the digital part, and you can’t let either one slide. She’s got over 1,000 likes on the website and Facebook, and when you see that number you go, “Wow.” But you still have to pay attention to the print and balance how you spend your time on all the factors of the business.
What have you learned from your experience as a business owner?
(Speaking on behalf of Rosanna) Don’t be afraid to talk to people. I think we all fear rejection. Get over it. Most people want to see you do good. In business, there are a lot more open people than there are closed.
What advice do you have for other small business owners?
Don’t take out a loan. Keep thinking. Don’t be afraid to try, but don’t begin a car dealership when you have $100 in your checking account. There are businesses you can start on a shoestring. Find a business you can live with.