Originally published July 2015
Year three of the Self-Employment Experiment (which has been dubbed the “Gauntlet Year”) is finally completed, and my consulting business aimed at helping entrepreneurs serve up their best small businesses marketing assets has surpassed the 50 client mark.
The big realization after hitting the 50 client milestone is that what I do is a little like being a mad scientist trying to organize another mad scientist. Entrepreneurs are inherently possessed by ideas that they must bring to life. They work furiously to assemble the parts, build the systems and channel the energy needed to jolt the concept into reality. As a marketing consultant for these “ideas-sparked-to-life,” my task is to assess business capabilities, locate just the right mixture of resources and then propel those resources into action. It requires experimentation, a few failures and a whole lot of appreciation for the uniqueness of the business owners I serve. My personal mad scientist is part Gene Wilder’s Dr. Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein) and part Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown (Back to the Future). Curiosity keeps me digging to know the inner workings of each client’s business and the habits of their customers, research helps me find manageable methods of delivery and a healthy dash of creativity lets me propose innovative (yet accomplishable) content development that will make each client’s marketing stand out among the competition. I strive to maximize each business or organization’s unique and memorable assets in the most cost- and time-effective manner possible.
In taking stock of my own small business marketing assets, I am aware that in addition to honestly knowing the difficulties my clients face day-in-and-day-out (because I too face them as a small business owner), my most valuable marketing assets by far are my “mad scientist” client stories. And what stories they are! From the C-SPAN producer turned Life Story videographer to boutique hotel owners contributing flavor to a thriving historic downtown; to young farmers introducing stewardship and sustainability to the next generation ; to second career farmers of heritage breed livestock and rare alpacas; and on to local manufacturers of portable solar generators and companies bringing renewable energy to unusual places, KLCreative Media’s client relationships have been rich with real stories of entrepreneurs who believe in themselves, in new ideas and in making their communities great places to live.
Three years in, and I count myself extremely lucky to have worked with some of the most fascinating organizations and businesses that are making significant contributions, not just to the economic well-being of their communities and themselves, but to the overall advancement of our social landscape. Does it take a little madness to be an entrepreneur and a “mad scientist” approach to market small businesses in today’s marketplace? You bet it does. But the businesses that define their small business marketing assets early on and stick with the creative process that all “mad sciences” require, will reap the rewards of an experiment that not only succeeds, but one that satisfies that mad scientist in all entrepreneurs.