Joe Reger's first experience with home computers came in 1982, when he bought one for his MBA studies. Fascinated with the new machine's capabilities, Reger and his son, Joe Jr., spent many hours experimenting with programs, games and the untapped potential of this high-tech toy.
Today, father and son still spend a lot of time working with their computers. Only now, it's more than just a pastime. They're partners in frogfire DIGITAL, a fast-growing new media design firm that specializes in Web site development and Internet marketing. As with many new businesses, the Regers happened upon their venture almost by accident.
While working with the Atlanta SBA office, the Regers were referred to the local chapter of SCORE. There they met Morris Horesh, the former CEO of a regional sales company and an expert in business planning and management. In Morris, the Regers found the "perfect" advisor: one with the wisdom of a scholar and the discipline of a drill sergeant.
Today, the Regers' work can be found at the Web sites of such well-known corporations as Motorola, Turner Broadcasting and Equifax. But while frogfire DIGITAL is well on its way, the Regers continue to work with Morris and SCORE. "You need a certain 'chemistry' when you go into business with someone or hire employees because you'll be working with them a lot," says Joe Sr. "Morris was the ideal person to work with us. He's always been straightforward, candid and willing to lend his advice and expertise. We couldn't have asked for a better counselor."
Joe Reger had every intention of turning frogfire DIGITAL over to son Joe Jr. when the time has right. Turns out, Joe Jr. couldn't afford to lose his father's experience. "Joey's been busy with a new online business services company, Brightlane.com, which provides back office support to small and medium-sized businesses," Joe Sr. explains. "While he's still a part-owner of Frogfire, Brightlane is taking up more of his time."
Not to worry, though; there's still plenty going on at frogfire to keep Dad occupied. "We're consistently progressing in both our technical skills and vision," he says. "We're integrating our design creativity with technical advancements to help larger, branded clients make the most of the Internet's marketing and communications potential." Joe Sr., in turn, still works regularly with his SCORE Mentor, Morris Horesch. "We talk on the phone, or go out for lunch quite often," he says. "Though it seems like I always have a problem, Morris always helps me keep my head on straight. He's a great guy."
SCORE mentor Morris Horesh worked with the Regers to evaluate their venture's goals, strategies and markets. He also helped them identify potential problems and pitfalls such as unscrupulous investors. Before long, frogfire DIGITAL was making a name for itself as a highly creative design firm, attracting a wide range of high-profile clients and technical consultants who enhanced the firm's services and capabilities.
As frogfire DIGITAL grew, Horesh advised the Regers on various employee policies, health care plans and forging an equitable contract arrangement for the company's sales staff. Morris also helped Joe Sr. understand the importance of taking care of himself, as well. "Morris reminded me that I would easily damage my health by getting too wrapped up in the business," he says. "He made sure that I started exercising and did other things to keep my life in balance."
Morris has become a permanent fixture at frogfire, with his advice permeating the business. "He always comes up with ideas that I can apply immediately," says Joe Sr. Most recently he has advised the father-son team on further expanding their business horizons, which has led to their involvement as organizers for BizE.com.