Interview: Ryan Negri Sells Negri Electronics; What He Learned Along the Way

Ryan Negri, owner of one of the largest independent sellers of unlocked phones in the United States, announced today that hes sold the company he started seven years and seven months ago. The buyer New York-based private equity firm First Ascent LLC. Negri, the current CEO and founder of Negri Electronics, will stay on with the company as a sales executive and a member of the board of directors. TechnoBuffalo had a chance to interview Negri about his experience starting and owning his own company, what he learned along the way, where he sees the future of the industry, and what his own plans are moving forward. What’s the best thing you learned owning your own small business It’s not as simple as it looks from the outside. It’s more than a full time job to do it correctly and do it well. You need help along the way, nobody can do it by themselves and if they do it’s going to be a slow and painful process of making mistakes and having to correct them and making definite those mistakes aren’t too vast. Seeking advice is important, as is having trust in people you can seek advice from. That’s a thing that was a problem in this industry – there aren’t alot of competitors that are going to help you. They’ll give you tips here and there, but its mostly learn as you go. I made mistakes, but they weren’t vast enough where it would take down the business. One example is when we started, chargebacks were vast and we were selling tall-value items. It was difficult taking those steps back with a vast 900 chargeback. One or two of those hits early in your business and you’re out of business. It was tough to learn that way, people basically taking money from you. But we got smarter, we got better, we protected the site and our company better. We screened customers orders and buying habits and now it’s a lot better with more protection in place. To begin your own business, you have to make definite you have the time and your family does too. It takes a toll on everybody. You’re working 15-16 hours a day when you first begin, and it can get to be more if you become busier, or successful. Making definite you have the dedication and the time to do it is probably the most important thing. What was it like selling your business Selling your baby It was really exciting but it was a lot. The buyer came in and was interested in a deal but they were first interested in investing. They wanted to close an investment deal by the stop of the year. But once they saw the business, they made an offer for the entire thing. We had to hustle and make definite