There’s that old saying “you’re only as good as the company you keep” and what usually follows is a discussion about surrounding yourself with positive people who will bring positive energy to your life. But, it goes without saying the same holds true when you surround your business with other great business owners.
So when I decided to open up my own practice, I knew my success would be dependent upon building a strong network of support from the local community. As a small business owner, I also felt it was important to reach out to other successful small business owners. And, having spent the first 15 years of my professional career in business-to-business marketing and promotions before becoming an attorney, it just would not feel right if I didn’t help promote my fellow colleagues who have been such a great source of inspiration and support to me and my business. It’s all about paying it forward and together we can grow.
Even though I have a background in marketing, I still needed to find a strong partner in marketing to oversee and help direct my firm’s marketing efforts. I hired Amaniac Design Corp., which was founded by Amanda Koziar. The company produces graphic design solutions for brand identity, business collateral, websites, internet marketing and other business tools. The company’s tag line is “enthusiastic about your brand” and based on my experience of working with Amanda, the company tag line is not only true, it is the whole drive and focus of her efforts. She is an absolute delight to work with and her excitement for my projects has intern made me even more excited. More importantly, she was able to create a brand identity that took my vision and brought it to life. I am pleased to say that Amaniac Design Corp. has created my logo, business card, note cards, website and what I hope to be many more marketing projects in the future.
When you are in the business of selling a service versus a product, a professional photo becomes every bit as important to the brand identity as the company logo itself. I hired Miguel Ocque Photography and how I came to find my very special photographer is a real six degrees of Kevin Bacon story. I first met Miguel at my bank, where he helped me set up my trust account. It wasn’t until after working with him that I finally realized I already had his number stored in my phone. Several months earlier, I had asked my friend for his number after seeing the amazing family portraits he took for her, and coincidentally, a month before our chance meeting at the bank, he took portraits of my brother’s family, which were absolutely fabulous. I had been admiring his work for months and now cosmic forces had brought us together. Miguel’s work in photography is a hobby that started when his daughter was born and now he’s made a successful business out of it. I happen to love working with someone who has been able to take a hobby and make it a business—they inherently bring a level of passion, drive, and commitment to their work. In keeping with my brand identity, Miguel went with a more editorialized look rather than a traditional portrait, the results of which were even better than I had expected. I now have an amazing portfolio of several distinct images to use. And, the cosmic forces worked their magic again, when a month later I handled Miguel’s title closing!
If you’re going to spend the money on professional photos then it goes without saying that you want to look your best. You not only need to pick the right outfit, but you also need to put your best face forward. Or, as I like to tell my nieces and nephews, Aunt Heado needs to put her mask on so she doesn’t scare people away. Any good photographer will know a good make-up artist with that special touch to make you look and feel your best. I hired Makeup by Julie B., a mompreneur who has the energy to balance her full-time work in a hospital with raising her three-year-old son and six-month-old daughter while successfully turning her hobby into a business. Whatever the occasion, Julie will travel to you and bring along her magic paint brushes. For my special day, I asked her to come to my home, where we made the living room base camp because it had the best natural light. I showed her what I was going to wear and all I said was that I did not want to look like I had on a ton of makeup. Julie took it from there. We had the most fun getting ready and when she was done I almost fell out of my chair—she had made me into a princess! I can’t wait for another big event so I can hire Julie B. again to help me rock the occasion.
It has been a privilege to work with each of these small business owners and I hope each of them will continue to thrive at what they do. If I am lucky, I will get to work with them again too.