So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was 18, a family friend introduced me to the electrical trade and I took to it very easily. After taking a few trade classes, I worked as an apprentice at a company and moved up to an electrical assistant before moving to a different company. I’m a perfectionist my nature and the electrical field was the perfect fit. I liked the organization of wiring a house but I like the problem solving that you experience during service calls…. why an outlet isn’t working, etc.
During my time as a certified electrician and supervisor, it occurred to me that I could and should start my own business. I started exploring that idea and talking it over with my wife. Around the same time, a program was being advertised in my neighborhood, Kirkwood, called Start: ME Accelerator Program. This program focuses on micro entrepreneurs (businesses with 3 or less employees) and helps develop their business. Start: ME was my launching pad; I learned so much about starting a small business.
As an added bonus, the program paired me with a mentor who was able to zero in on my trade and provide me with recommendations and suggestions on how to be successful. Shortly after finishing the program in 2015, my family and I decided that it was time to make the leap from being an employee to be self-employed. The skills I learned during the Start: ME program made the difference in my first year of Smart Choice Electric. After a full year (2016) under my belt, my business is thriving and I’m looking forward to its continued growth.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been a smooth road but it’s smoother than I had anticipated. The biggest challenge is advertisement. How can I get to customers beyond referrals? Another challenge is time. My wife works full time and we have two young children. We have had to depend on family, friends and neighbors to help out with the kids after school when we both have work engagements. It’s doable but you have to expect that going in.
Please tell us about Smart Choice Electric.
Smart Choice Electric is a family owned business that focuses on residential and small commercial electrical concerns. We work on new builds, rewiring and a wide range of service calls. Since we are a small company, we are able to quickly attend to customer needs.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is learning to cook from my mom (She has since passed).
About Smart Choice
Smart Choice is a Kirkwood family-run business, owned and operated by Master Electrician Dionisio “Dion” Reina and his wife, Vielka.
Company Name: Smart Choice Electric
Contact Person: Media Manager
Country: United States