Expert of the Week: Dennis Barber III, PhD

He's back! You might remember Dennis from this Thursday Throwback.

Dennis Barber III, PhD

Assistant Professor of Economics and Small Business Institute® Director at Armstrong State University


“My teaching and research interests include applied microeconomics, behavioral economics, entrepreneurship and small business management.”


What is your professional background?

After completing my undergraduate degree in Business Management, I worked in the staffing industry for two years. I then decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics focusing on public policy issues with small businesses. While working on my degree I founded three firms each with a different focus but all offering support services for small and medium sized, technology and engineering firms. One of my companies I operated out of Brazil when I was completing my research in the capital city, Brasília.


As Assistant Professor of Economics, what’s your average day like?

I work for balance in my day. My days start with a good meal, a meditation practice and a bike ride. Once at the office or in the community, I focus my efforts in three main areas. One is teaching and improving my efforts in the classroom. Secondly, I focus on academic research. At this point, I am working on projects regarding entrepreneurship in the Czech Republic and India as well as using entrepreneurship as a policy tool to combat income inequality and poverty.


What are the most common mistakes that small business owners make with managing their firms?

This is anecdotal; I must say. But from my experience the most common mistake is not having a clear but adaptable strategy from the beginning stages of the firm.


What trends in business do you foresee in the near future? What about the long term?

The Census Bureau estimates that 1 in 10 of businesses with employees are new firms (less than two years old). Also, a larger percentage of new firms are minority and women owned firms. There have been recent efforts at the federal, state and local levels to incentivize firm creation among these demographics. With new support for veteran owned businesses, there may be an uptick in these types of new firms.

Over the past 10 years microbusinesses (less than 10 employees) are providing a smaller share of jobs than in the past.


What books/blogs/materials about entrepreneurship would you recommend?

Well, my recommendations would depend on to whom I am making the recommendation. There are great places to look for information for scholars, financiers and entrepreneurs. Some of those places include The Kauffman Foundation, the Small Business Administration, SCORE, your local Small Business Development Center, the National Venture Capital Association, Thomas Reuters, Dunn & Bradstreet and Intuit.


What advice would you give to someone looking to open their own business?

My most often given piece of advice is to find a mentor. Whether this is a formal or informal relationship does not matter. There are great services, such as SCORE, that offer free mentorship for small business owners.


Find Dennis at the Small Business Institute, on LinkedIn and Twitter.