Overcoming the Challenges of Owning a Small Business

Gainesville Black Professionals sits down for a conversation with Reggie Keith, owner, Carpet Systems Plus of North Florida, on the challenges facing small business owners today.

GBP: What is the name of your business and how long have you been in business?

RK: Our business is Carpet Systems Plus of North Florida.  We have been in business for 15 years and we specialize in cleaning homes and offices. Our services include water extraction, upholstery, tile, carpet, janitorial and construction cleaning.

GBP: Why did you choose to open your business in Gainesville?

RK: I was living in South Florida when I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to have more control over my future and my destiny. My wife, Deidre and I had several conversations before I was able to convince her to relocate to Gainesville and pursue this dream. We chose Gainesville because this is where I grew up. I knew that I would have a lot of support and be able to quickly expand my network and get the business up and running. So, in 2003 I purchased Carpet Systems Plus of North Florida and we opened our doors in June.  We began serving the greater Gainesville area and surrounding counties.

GBP: Has locating your business in Gainesville been a positive experience?

RK: Absolutely, even though I am from Gainesville, I still had to learn to navigate the landscape of the community, which all business owners must do. I had to learn the community and politics of business. I joined the Chamber and other local networking groups which helped me to get planted in the community rather quickly. Gainesville has grown so much in the last 15 years and it feels good to be a part of this growth. It is amazing to be a part of something greater than yourself and still be able to make an impact.

GBP: What are some challenges that you face as a small business owner?

RK: It does not matter if a business is large or small, challenges will always be one of the main fabrics of it. At Carpet Systems Plus, we look at them as mere speed bumps. However, human resources and employee retention by far have been the most challenging areas because no one grows up saying that want to be a cleaner. But we welcome challenges because they help us to stay focus on what is really important.

GBP: Is there any other information that you would like for our readers to know?

RK: We have been members of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce since 2003, and a member of the Builders Association of North Central Florida for approximately 5 years. We are the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce Minority Business of the Year for 2010 and 2011. We are committed to educating our clients and prospects about the best care for their cleaning issues. We are also committed to always expanding our knowledge base of the cleaning industry so that we can continue to deliver quality service with a 100% money back guarantee.

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