Today we’d like to introduce you to Gregory Perrine.
Gregory, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Someone used the phrase “renaissance man” to describe me once. I’m a tech nerd, foodie, event planner, singer, writer, and ironman.
My philosophy on life is to take opportunities as they come, set goals, and surpass expectations. I’m a part of that generation that grew up with technology, and although millennials are getting somewhat of a bad rap, I was raised by hardworking parents that instilled in me work-ethic, the value of a dollar, and seeing projects through to the end. All qualities I use in business every day.
I stumbled into the world of off premise catering and events after graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Vocal Jazz Performance and Fiction Writing. You may be asking yourself, “How does singing and writing translate into catering and events?” Well, I grew up as a restaurant rat, holding my first job at a cafe when I was 16, and then working up to waiting tables by 18. I held a full time job through college serving at a local diner, and knew that I would not have to go to school to get a job in the restaurant world. I will say, I consider myself a more well-rounded person having studied in a field I was passionate about, vs. taking a degree that was going to “get me a job”.
At the Chicago-based high end catering company, Jewell Events Catering, I went from getting a foot in the door, working as an office assistant and managing events, to exiting the company as Director of Catering. I joined the team at another large event conglomerate, The Revel Group, in 2014 and was able to further hone my business and sales skills working on a variety of luxury high-end in home events and fundraisers.
During my time at Revel I began to get small business fever, which seems to run in my family: my dad started his own business boarding and raising horses in retirement. I have two uncles that run their own business, and my grandmother has had a hand in many businesses throughout her life. At this same time, I started to really notice something that did not exist the same way it did a few years prior, “Technology was and is no longer an option.”
From smart devices, appliances that augment life through technology, to client relation management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Technology and the effects of technology are everywhere.
Sadly, in December of 2015 my grandfather, who was living by himself in a high-rise in Madison, WI had a stroke and was stranded in the bathtub for multiple days before he was found. It’s not to say that technology could have saved life, but had he been trained to use a device in an emergency situation, the outcome may have been different. In early 2016, my grandmother, who also lives alone, was given an iPhone 4, and for the next 3 months my mother worked relentlessly to get her to text once a day to check in as a safety precaution.
At that point I began to do some research on companies that work with small businesses and individuals to help them utilize technology to better their lives and business, and came up fairly empty handed. When those pieces fell into place it was a no-brainer for me to start eGuide Tech Allies. We launched in October of 2016, and I went full time with the business in February of 2017.
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?
Leaving a well-established company, with a decent salary, to starting a brand from the ground up, making ends meet to keep the dream alive, leads to every week being a rollercoaster of wins & losses. It’s exhilarating and terrifying. I’d like to think I am a realist that skews slightly to the optimistic side of things, but I will say that without some sort of optimism, some of those blows and unexpected expenses could be business ending.
I wake up every day and think about companies with products, or even restaurants — there is just so much overhead, and labor. I could not imagine feeling the crushing weight of loans and investors on my shoulders all to launch and have a roadblock, or mis-projection.
Luckily I’ve had the events industry to help springboard some clients. A foot in the door here, and a successful project there, has led to some direct referrals, and just now I am feeling like momentum is starting to build.
I try to keep the big picture in mind. My goal is to have a team of four full time people here in Chicago, and then expand into other markets around the nation. This thought helps me frame decisions that I’m making even with the company in its infancy.
eGuide Tech Allies – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As I mentioned, eGuide Tech Allies launched with a mission to keep our clients tech savvy by enriching lives and growing businesses through technology consulting and training.
Having a background in sales and events, a lot of the projects that we’ve executed so far have to deal with sales systems for small businesses. There’s this almost over saturation of tools in the market, and your average small business owner does not have the time to dedicate to sourcing, trialing, migrating, and on-boarding to a new system. There’s just too many things to do to keep the ship afloat. So that’s where we come in. At a competitive rate, we analyze a business, research tools that may help whatever process they are struggling with to run more efficiently, and then manage the migration and training with the new system. There are such smart systems available, but a team of 4 people could launch a product in Silicon Valley, outsource support to overseas, and never be able to provide any face time with their end users. For small businesses, it requires a little extra assistance to help make sure that going live with a new system is done with little to no business debilitating mistakes.
On the personal side of technology, we work with individuals who may benefit from a dedicated technology session. This could be a husband and wife who have just uprooted their family and don’t have time to get their Wi-Fi & streaming systems back in order, all the way to an experienced business professional, who knows they should have a LinkedIn profile, but doesn’t have the patience to navigate a changing interface.
Our differentiator is the customized and patient service we provide. Sure, you can activate a live chat feature, or call up Geek Squad, but you will not be receiving the same level of hospitality, dedication, and service that eGuide will be able to provide.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
We partnered with a floral and decor company for a website redesign project. Our approach to the website was to provide an end product that would allow the owner to jump on and edit photos, add content, and update a blog after the project was complete. We also focused on keyword optimization to gain better traction with search engine optimization (SEO).
What the business owner had waited for over two years to pull the trigger on, was taken care of in less than a month, and the end product was representative of his brand, aesthetic, and was targeted specifically to his end client.
We received the most sincere thank you response, and as the months have gone by continue to receive updates on how the new website is helping drive business, and is continuing to creep up the SEO ladder. This assistance and help is at the core of what eGuide is about, and it’s great to be able to see the direct results of our service.
- 60 minute one-on-one technology session with 30 minute consultation: $95
- Smart Device Tech Tune-up: $50
- Consulting Projects: Hours & Rates Vary
- Website: www.eguidetechallies.com
- Phone: 773.245.1836
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eguidetech/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eguidetechallies
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/eGuideTech
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/eguide-tech-allies-chicago
Personal Photo: Maricel Cruz Photography