“I’d gone to school for marketing, and just as I graduated, the Recession started,” explained Kevin Martin. “Like many of my classmates, I found that there were not a lot of suitable job opportunities. This led to my decision to create my own firm.” Kevin’s goal was to serve small business owners who needed marketing services but couldn’t afford an in-house employee to perform those tasks. “By hiring our firm, they could effectively promote their business at an affordable rate.”
It was a roller coaster ride at first!
Kevin’s new marketing firm was not an immediate success. “We did everything in the beginning,” he explained. “Event marketing, traditional marketing, we tried it all until we hit on what worked best for us and our clientele.” Today, Agile Innovative Marketing Solutions focuses on Search Engine Optimization, Online Advertising and other digital marketing strategies that help their clients grow. “Our approach is to stay genuine and authentic with everything we do,” Kevin said. “Our processes always work, but in more of a compounding, residual type of way. Consistently, months after we’ve started working with a client, we get the calls saying they’re seeing the real results of our efforts and how happy they are.”
SCORE taught me how to focus my efforts and concentrate on my business.
Kevin met with SCORE Westchester mentor Glenn Shell. An expert in finances and strategic planning, Glenn helped Kevin learn how to start and manage vendor relationships effectively. “This was key to making my agency appear larger than we were,” Kevin explained. “At the time, I was doing a lot of the client acquisition and operative work on my own. It was hard to grasp at first. The need to shift some of those operational tasks onto vendors, but once I did it, it freed up so much time. I could focus on growing my business because I had a team that could execute.”
Glenn’s support also helped Kevin build his skills and confidence. “A lot of people don’t think I’m shy, but in the beginning, I was. Glenn worked with me, rehearsing what happens during sales meetings, teaching me how to build rapport, how to connect with people. This is all information you can read in a book, but when you actually practice it in person, it changes everything. I found that to be tremendously helpful.”
Lessons from SCORE Westchester: Look for specialists and experts.
“If someone were in the position I was when they were starting a business, I’d say, as Glenn taught me, to build partnerships with vendors who offer similar services. This gives you access to a bigger clientele, and allows for growth on an exponential level. Look for people who are good at what they do, the experts, the specialists – these are the experts you need on your team to get the job done.”