Entrepreneurship Stories: Business Month Series – Acutely Aware Firearms Instruction
August is “Black Business Month” in America. To celebrate, we’ve teamed up with Cherokee By Choice Investor Georgia Power to feature Cherokee-based black-owned businesses all month long. These inspiring stories will shed a well-deserved light on their incredible leadership, business acumen, and resilience.
“Georgia Power is proud to partner with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development to feature black business month. Minority-owned businesses in Georgia provide over 575,000 jobs to hard-working Georgians and energize the state’s economy. Georgia Power strives to empower these businesses by building social and economic opportunities in communities across the state through our engagement and partnerships that incubate new business owners and ideas,” said Georgia Power Area Manager Jeff Butterworth.
This week, we’ll hear from Tracye “TBuzz” Busbee of Acutely Aware Firearms Instruction, LLC. – a Canton-based business whose mission is to provide targeted instruction to women who desire to become more proficient in their own self-defense. Follow along on cherokeega.org and via social media to like, follow, and share.
What inspired you to start your business?
When I relocated to Cherokee from Washington D.C., I decided to enroll in a citizen’s police academy that Canton was offering. My husband traveled a lot for work, and I was left here alone with my young son in a new community. I started thinking about how I might defend myself and my son should the need arise, so I decided to purchase a firearm. From there, I knew I needed to be trained on becoming a safe and responsible firearms owner, and I began to look for training locally. I found that the training offered was mostly by former military or law enforcement, and it seemed a bit too tactical for the new firearm owner, which was me. Ultimately, this inspired me to start my own business.
How has being in Cherokee County helped grow your business?
Cherokee promotes and supports small businesses so well, which gave me the perfect opportunity to grow a business here. This community believes in supporting new and smaller businesses, and there are many resources available for new entrepreneurs. One of the biggest benefits is the power of Cherokee networking. These groups support community businesses and help businesses spread the news about their offerings. Ultimately, the community has been one of the most beneficial resources to my business, and for that, I am grateful. Additionally, the City of Canton staff has been instrumental in providing vital information through their website, in person, or via telephone about the required paperwork and the processes to begin and continue your business in Cherokee County.
What advice would you give to other small business owners who are wanting to grow/scale their business?
I think the best advice that I would give to other small businesses is to really get to know your community, the resources they offer, and to meet other entrepreneurs through networking. Staying connected and being involved with the community is vital. It is important to talk about your business, but to also promote other small businesses. I partner with different businesses locally, and it is beneficial. They talk to friends, and their friends talk to friends, so it is powerful. Together, we all win.
How can we as a community best support you now and in the future?
I think the best support would be to continue to spread the word about the importance of community safety, and the training required to help maintain that safety. We live in a relatively safe environment. But having a safety plan really does help to build confidence and makes you comfortable in times when there are perceived threats in the community. Word of mouth about my business is the ultimate compliment, and the number one reason for the referrals that I currently receive.
Tell us about the different classes that you offer.
I offer a variety of training based on lifestyles. I teach on a spectrum from situational awareness to less lethal tools such as pepper spray, striking tools, etc., to firearms safety and fundamental instruction. I provide individual and group training. Some of my classes include workplace safety and wellness, real estate professional safety workshops, home defense, red zone school safety programs for high school and college students, girlfriends defense safety workshops, and church security. I’ve found that everybody’s safety plan and journey is different, so you must meet people where they are comfortable. Some people come from domestic violence backgrounds, some people are divorcees, or they’re widowed, and now they are responsible for their own self-protection.
Your website says that you are an “Independent Damsel Pro” for Damsel In Defense. Could you tell us more?
Damsel In Defense is a business that anybody can join. I joined it because it was the perfect complement to the business that I already had. The primary focus is to equip, empower, and educate women and families about their personal safety options by demonstrating how to use the tools we offer, and to help defend against potential threats through our “safety empower hours.” We serve to train people on how to protect themselves, teach people how to be prepared, and to educate people about the best way to prevent an attack through situational awareness training. We bring that demonstration to you, and I also have a classroom in Canton if you don’t have a space.
What would you tell someone who is considering becoming more proficient in their own self-defense, but isn’t sure where to start?
It is very daunting. I’ve learned there are many people who own firearms but are not sure where to start. That’s exactly where I was, and I modeled my business based on what I was seeking at the time. I would tell anyone who is interested in becoming more proficient in their own self-defense to really consider a fundamentals class. It is important to seek out a certified instructor, and to vet them carefully. Talk about what your self-defense goals are, and make sure that instructor can meet your needs. It is a very personal choice. It needs to be somebody that is relatable to you, someone that you feel confident and comfortable talking about your personal protection goals. Training is not a one and done, so you must be prepared to practice and create that muscle memory, which leads to the proficiency. It needs to be somebody who you feel comfortable going back to after the initial training.
What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
I’ve learned many great lessons as an entrepreneur. First and foremost, you must talk about your business to have a business. Networking allows you to talk about your business, get your name out there, and build relationships with others in the community. Additionally, it is vital to run your business with honesty and integrity because people must trust you to trust what you offer. It is important to surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs, and to possibly consider getting a mentor. Every lesson is a learning opportunity, and there is always more to learn. Your passion will keep you up at night, so rest when you can.
To learn more about Acutely Aware Firearms Instruction, LLC., visit http://www.acutelyawarellc.com/.