Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Cassie Hughes and Gabrey Means, co-founders of marketing and publicity firm Grow Marketing, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
We’ve made a business of building brand connections with consumers in a careful and calculated way. At Grow Marketing, we focus on experiential marketing, which involves a wide array of services, including hosting celebrity-studded events and tracking down tastemakers to ship them free products. And although our clients, which include PepsiCo, Jamba Juice and Estée Lauder, have learned to expect the unexpected, we are fanatic about crafting strategic campaigns.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
Owning your own business allows you to create a work culture built around your own values. Plus, it’s much more rewarding to work for yourself than someone else.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Balancing our short-term staffing needs with keeping the company’s payroll affordable is a constant challenge. If we have a major program that’s about to launch, we staff up. However, we also have to keep our overhead in check.
Name: Cassie Hughes and Gabrey Means
Business: Grow Marketing, a non-traditional marketing and publicity firm.
Location: San Francisco
Year founded: 2001
Number of employees: 15
Web address: grow-marketing.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Finding employees who are both creative and strategic about marketing, production, public relations and social media isn’t easy. To find people of this caliber, we’ve had to dig deeper and never settle. We reach into our existing networks to find talented people, and we’re willing to take the extra time to ensure the best fit.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Following industry “group-think” rather than listening to our own intuition. A few years ago, many senior people in the industry suggested that we needed to open multiple offices in different cities right away. Although we initially followed this advice, starting with our New York office, we quickly figured out that growing too large and being so spread out while we were just starting up could jeopardize the quality of our work and wreak havoc on our internal communications.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Don’t be in a hurry to expand too rapidly. Instead, put your head down, gather a stellar team and do great work. Your business will grow if you do.
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