Published March 23, 2018
Antonio Bryant is the owner of Anything Anymated, which is located at 7117 Farnam St. #14. You may contact him either at 402.670.8753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q1: Are you originally from Omaha?
Yes, Mr. Bryant grew up on 48th and Boyd and attended Fontenelle Elementary School. His family moved to New Jersey when he was only nine years old, but then came back to Omaha as he was about to start high school. When he came back, he attended Northwest High School.
Q2: Where did the idea for Anything Anymated come from?
Antonio started his business right out of college. At the private institute that he went to, he learned how to produce full animations from beginning to end. He was inspired by one professor in particular who did a lot of the animations for the Sci-Fi channel when he wasn’t teaching. Antonio saw this and realized that, with all of the skills he had acquired throughout college, there was really no need to work for one company and that he could go out on his own and be able to help many different companies with his work. Most animations at the time were actually outsourced to Korea, so Antonio saw a hole in the market and jumped right in.
Q3: How did you come up with your name and logo?
He knew that he wanted the word “animation” in the name of his business because his skillset and services he offers is rare. Furthermore, he knew he planned on being a one-stop-shop for multiple services, so he came up with “Anything Anymated,” and changed the spelling of animated to be more unique and catchy by having both words start with “any.”
Q4: How did you get your first client?
Unfortunately, Antonio did not remember exactly how he obtained his first client. His very first client was the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which he helped while still in college. The project was turning an actor into a cartoon, and adding voice-over and live footage in the background.
Q5: How did you know you were passionate about what you were doing?
“When you do something and it doesn’t bother you and you don’t notice the time going by, I think that’s a pretty good sign that you’re passionate about it.” He also knows that he is passionate about his work because of the feeling of validation and appreciation his clients give him that let him know his work is making a difference.
Q6: What was your goal when starting your business and how has that changed?
At first, the goal was just to survive. After graduating, it was an initial drive to make money. Finishing a job and doing it to the best of my ability is now what gets Antonio going. His new goal is to do what needs to be done in the best quality possible so that his customers feel proud to show off their brand.
Q7: How many employees did you start with and how many do you currently have?
Mr. Bryant has always been a sole proprietor and done pretty much everything on his own. He is fortunate to be acquainted with many colleagues who are also in the same line of work. He has always had “a library of people that [he] could tap for resources.” He often collaborates with others who have a more focused concentration in certain areas or to acquire extra help for larger projects or if he is very busy. This is on a case-by-case basis and therefore does not have any employees, and only hires people on an independent contract basis. From his viewpoint, you don’t necessarily need employees, but rather just need projects to be completed.
Q8: Did you have any mentors that have helped you become successful?
Antonio mentioned one of his previous mentors. His friend’s father was also in the freelance creation of arts for corporations and had built up a very strong network. Antonio looked up to him and found it inspiring knowing that it was possible to maintain a lifestyle on your own and work for yourself.
Q9: Were there any businesses you looked up to or aspired to be like when starting out?
GoDaddy. He is a very big fan of how easy GoDaddy makes the whole website experience for their customers. He complimented the user interface and the user experience they deliver. He joked that many people don’t even know what hosting websites is, but often associate GoDaddy with the best of it.
Q10: What are one or two of the greatest challenges you have faced as a business owner?
For Mr. Bryant, the biggest challenge is being on his own. He says that it is often difficult to wear all of the different hats necessary to run a business. He is compliance, customer service, accounting, a salesman, and everything else. Time management is very crucial to ensure all tasks are accounted for and get done properly. Mr. Bryant finds it challenging to shift his focus from finding a project, to working the project, to supporting the finished project, and back to acquiring new projects.
Q11: What services does Anything Anymated offer?
He helps companies start at the very beginning and helps them create a logo. Then they explore any graphics or cartoons his customers might want to add to it. Anything Anymated also creates stationary letterhead, envelope design, and business cards. Then, they build websites for their clients that include hosting. Once the website is created, Anything Anymated provides content writing for the site.
In addition, the business creates commercials, animations, ads, mobile apps, and has recently gotten into helping companies market with proximity beacons. Proximity beacons are a new technology that send notifications to mobile devices within a specified location.
Q12: What makes Anything Anymated unique?
Antonio said that he is going for “the one stop shop jack of all trades sort of thing.” That is what makes the business stand out most. Also, he feels that Anything Anymated is unique because it is a small, ma and pa business. Anything Anymated has also established credibility, despite being so small, because of past work the business has done with large corporations. This is especially nice because Antonio does not have all of the costs that a big business would have, but still lands the big projects that a larger company would.
Q13: As a small business, how do you determine the best way to spend your money?
Mr. Bryant finds it difficult to decide how to spend money for his business. He expressed how it is especially difficult because small businesses can’t afford to test all of the different things like larger companies because of their limited capital. Keeping track of data and schedules because critical to see which things you are doing creates a positive return. Mr. Bryant has noticed that once he does find something that works, things usually align and he is able to figure out the next thing he should spend his money on.
Q14: How do you advertise your business when going up against much larger businesses?
Antonio had a very unique answer to this question. He stated that he has always felt as if he could not force advertising to happen and that it usually just happens on its own naturally through word of mouth. He believes that word of mouth is so powerful because it is predicated on trust. When someone you know makes a recommendation for you, you trust that company is good and will do the job right. If your company can be that company, then that new customer trusts you, and the cycle keeps on repeating.
He told me that he has tried a couple of other forms of advertising over the years, including Yelp, but never felt as though he was getting a good return on his investment with those, so he’s always fallen back to trusty word of mouth advertising.
Q15: What is Anything Anymated’s relationship with Omaha?
“It is just beginning.” Most of Mr. Bryant’s clients are not in Omaha. He has recently started to reach out more and become involved in different conferences. For example, he was a guest speaker at a meeting of Black Coffee and Black Business not too long ago. Mr. Bryant is currently looking to establish a larger connection with the community.
Q16: What is your favorite part about doing business in the city of Omaha?
He believes that Omaha has ample resources for while providing comfort for small businesses. “The hustle and bustle on the coasts takes a lot,” he stated, “it takes a lot of resources just to move a small amount of distance.” Because the standard of living is so low in Omaha, it does not take a lot of money to stay afloat, which leaves small business owners with more money to put back into their business to help expedite their growth.
Q17: What is your current view of Omaha and where do you see it going in the near future?
“Well, I am definitely seeing a lot more culture.” He believes that the arts community in Omaha is branching out and becoming more creative. He is very proud that Omaha has a unique artistic feel that the city can call its own. Antonio thinks it is spectacular that Omaha is starting to really compete with the rest of the world, and even more spectacular that the city wants to be a key player.
Q18: Why should someone from New York, LA, or Chicago move to Omaha?
Because of how cheap and affordable everything is here. This allows business owners to get ahead and move up quickly. “If you’re an entrepreneur and you have something that you can call your own, you might consider yourself a big fish in a small pond in a place like Omaha.” He has experienced big businesses being much more accepting of startups and receptive to what they are doing because there is often less of what you’re doing to go around since Omaha is fairly small. “Being here, I do feel like a big fish in a small pond and I am waiting for more people to take advantage of the abilities that we have here.”