BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: MEET BRIAN WYATT OF B-EZ GRAPHIX, PART 2
In part one MYBB introduced you to Brian Wyatt, founder of B-EZ Graphix. In this second half we learn how he overcame adversity to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams.
Like many budding entrepreneurs of his generation Brian Wyatt started B-EZ Graphix while still in college. Though one thing separated him from his peers. While their biggest stressors were final exams and finding the next party, Wyatt was homeless. As a result of a disagreement with his roommates–they were participating in activities that did not settle with him ethically– Wyatt decided to move out. Unfortunately, he had nowhere to go and that wasn’t the only adversity that he would face. “I also got kicked out of college that year,” he shares. It was during the same time that his mother was also laid off from her job. So, Wyatt started working as much as possible–as much as 80 hours a week–in order to pay for his tuition and to help his mother out. “I was going through a lot and already doing a lot,” continues Wyatt. His grades soon suffered and he was expelled from school.
However, he refused to let what he considered mere circumstances to sway his determination. With his eyes on the prize–surviving, overcoming and somehow succeeding–Wyatt woke every morning with the intent purpose on making something out of his situation. He stresses that it was his positive outlook and determination that got him through. “I always dressed nice and I would go around to these mom and pop Black owned businesses,” he recounts, and it soon paid off for him. Wyatt continues, “One person hired me on the spot as his marketing director.” His client soon became his confidant. After sharing all that he had endured during the previous months, Wyatt’s client dubbed him “Be Easy”. “He couldn’t believe that I had been going through so much, yet every day I came to work with this calm, chill attitude,” says Wyatt.
He liked the moniker so much that he decided to apply it to his business. Hence B-EZ Graphix. While it is also his namesake, Wyatt says there is another meaning to the business name. He believes that marketing does not have to be hard or complicated. “Clients come to us with business ideas; they know their industry, but not quite how to get started,” he says. He realizes that for the average person, the thought of creating a website or marketing plan can be a daunting one. So, he believes it’s his job to not only guide them, but to make the process as simple as possible. As his tag line states, “Shouldn’t marketing be easy?”
Wyatt eventually returned to college; first enrolling in community college and ultimately graduating from the University of Illinois. Further proving that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. However, one could propose that he comes by his determination naturally. His great grandparents were civil rights activists. Wyatt proudly shares, “They put the community before themselves for a very long time.” They were his greatest inspiration and he promised himself that he would walk in their footsteps.
His great grandfather had also been in the Navy. He says that he admired his great grandfather for qualities such as discipline, being goal oriented and putting others before self. These were all qualities that his great grandfather had learned during his time in the military. So not long after graduation, Wyatt decided to enlist in the Air Force. As with all of his decisions, he had a grand plan. “My goal was to go into the Air Force, save up a whole bunch of money and study aeronautical engineering.”
Wyatt ultimately served five years in the Air Force. During his military career he continued to grow B-EZ Graphix. In fact, 2014 marks the company’s 10 year anniversary– a milestone to which many only aspire. Over the years he has experienced both the ups and the downs. Luckily, it seems as though the ups, certainly outweigh the downs. Most recently, he was recognized by the CEO of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association–a nonprofit group that advocates for the rights and interests of current and former members of the United States Air Force–for his volunteer marketing and design efforts for the association’s Middle Georgia Chapter. Wyatt proudly shares that his efforts increased membership from just six people to over 1,000 in just two years.
Of course with the good, comes the not so good. Wyatt says the biggest uphill battle has been staffing. “It has been really hard to find reliable people who share the vision that I have,” he says. For Wyatt it is more of a ministry than a business, because he tries to keep his prices so low. “The value of the work that we do exceeds what you pay,” he states. However, many just see the money. In his opinion, a great employee carries qualities that closely mirror the Air Force’s core values: integrity, service before self and excellence in all that you do. “If you’re running behind on a project let me know. Give your best even if we are doing it for pennies and think about how you can help others.” He believes this type of approach to business is why he has come so far.
When it comes to Minding Your Black Business Wyatt says the key is to acknowledge the issues, but not over generalize. Yes, the crabs in a barrel mentality does exist–for some–but instead of enabling such thought processes, seek to help those who are coachable. He also reinforces that you can’t always be that person for people. “When you have a purpose you can’t afford to stop to give handouts to people not willing to help themselves.”
To learn more about Brian “Be Easy” Wyatt and B-EZ Graphix visit his website.
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