Michael Marshall is the lead instructor and owner of the Search Engine Academy of North Carolina. He has more than 24 years of experience in information technology, covering a wide range of specialties including web design, software engineering, ecommerce solutions, artificial intelligence, and Internet marketing. He is a member of the World Association of Internet Marketers and of SEO Professionals. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.
Brandon Ives is managing partner and marketing strategist at Brasco Design + Marketing. He is responsible for client services and works with Brasco clients on creative planning and implementation for their initiatives. As a “business development minded marketer,” he thinks about how marketing can be translated in to more sales for the client.
Brasco Design + Marketing is a top quality web marketing agency that helps companies design and implement creative strategies to springboard their growth. Armed with a client base in a variety of industries, Brasco Design + Marketing specializes in marketing strategy, creative brand design, web development, online/SEO marketing and comprehensive marketing management services.
MO: Can you give us an example of a recent creative strategy you implemented to springboard the growth of a small company?
Sarah Gilbert is a former teacher turned Publishing Professional. With years of experience helping writers accomplish their goals, her specialty is unearthing what exactly needs to be done so that they can successfully publish on their own.
Lulu is creating a new model in publishing — open publishing — that empowers more creators to sell more content to more readers more profitably than ever before. Through their open publishing platform, they are helping creators make works available in multiple formats and markets and improving discovery so buyers can more easily find the content they need. Since their founding in 2002, 1.1 million creators from more than 200 countries and territories have registered with Lulu.com. And each month, they add approximately 20,000 titles to our catalog.
MO: What does your typical day look like?
“But what intrigued me about coffee in general was that there were so many facets of coffee. This green bean came from some place far away that I never heard of or didn’t even know that coffee was grown there. It’s brought over here on some old rickety schooner ship. That’s the fantasy in my head versus some big commercial container ship.”
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is Larry Larson, the Head Bean and Founder of Larry’s Beans, an organic and fair trade coffee bean company in Raleigh, NC. Larry is also the founding member of Cooperative Coffees, the first and only cooperative of independent roasters importing 100% fair trade coffee directly from fair trade farming cooperatives. Larry, Thank you for taking the time to speak with MO.com.
You were introduced to coffee roasting while you lived in Seattle, home of the well-known coffee servers, Starbucks. What about coffee roasting did you find intriguing?
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is Jim Morgan, Founder of Team Trainers Consulting. Founded in June of 2000 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the company is currently based out of Raleigh, NC and provides training worldwide. Jim, thank you for taking the time to speak with MO.com.
You hold a Master Degree, are Project Management Certified and have worked in a number of industries before going out on your own. Was this always part of your plan, to go out on your own or was it a particular set of events that made you make this move?
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is John Miles, the CEO and Chief of What’s Next at Integritive, a web development and emarketing firm located in Asheville, NC. Integritive also made the 2011 World Blu’s list of most democratic places to work. John, Thank you for taking the time to speak with MO.com.
I read that this is your 10th year in business. Congratulations on your milestone! Ten years ago the web or web marketing was not nearly as big as it is today. What made you decide to start this type of company?
That’s a great question. I studied chemistry and humanistic psychology in college so that pretty much makes perfect sense how I ended up on the internet. In the late 90’s there was a lot of activity there and found a hidden passion and hidden talents in that regard. In our general market there seemed to be an opportunity to get in the game and see how things would fly.
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is Jeff Dudan, who is the CEO/Founder of AdvantaClean Systems in Huntersville, NC founded in 1994. AdvantaClean has over 70 franchise locations in the U.S. including Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Canada. They were rated #5 in the 2011 Franchise Business Review. Entrepreneur Magazine rated AdvantaClean #16 for Top New Ranking, #92 for Top Home Based Franchise, #291 Top Franchise 500. Jeff, Thank you for taking the time to speak with MO.com.
You began your initial business as a painter and it was a trip to Florida to help clean up after Hurricane Andrew that you learned about disaster restoration. What was it about disaster restoration that made you add it to your painting business?
I think like a lot of entrepreneurs in that circumstances create opportunities. Our painting business was a college painting business. I attended Appalachian State University, coming from Chicago originally and I wanted to stay in Boone NC over the summer but I couldn’t find employment. So I started the business with a friend and we painted apartments for student housing when the leases changed. We were able to make good money and cut our teeth as entrepreneurs during the summer while in college.
How long did you continue with the painting business before focusing solely on disaster restoration?
Our younger brothers had come to the university and we turned the business over to them. We were looking for what to do next and a prior roommate called me and said that Hurricane Andrew just hit South Florida and he had taken a job with a firm that was in the restoration industry and he encouraged us to come down and take a look and see if we wanted to help them clean up South Florida.
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is Chef Chris Duke, who founded Anna’s Gourmet Goodies with his wife Debbie in 2001. Chris, thank you for taking the time to speak with MO.com.
I’ve read that it was your grandmother, who was a great cook and the inspiration for your gourmet cookies and brownies. What was it about her love of cooking that made you want to introduce some of her recipes to the world?
My memories of cooking and preparing dinner with family were always very happy ones. It was very common in my family for my mother’s brothers and sisters to either come over to our house or we go to Aunt Lois’ or Aunt Lucille’s and we would gather together and have dinner. And everybody would bring or cook different things. So much of what I remember about cooking growing up is that it was very much a family affair. My mom used to tell me a story about my grandmother. My mom grew up in the later years of the great depression. She was pretty young but they lived on a farm and basically they didn’t have a lot of money so the depression didn’t mean anything. But she told me the story that one of the things she remembers about the great depression was that more hobos would show up at the back door where grandmother Birchfield would always have something for them to eat. I took that as ‘wow’, they already didn’t have a lot but whatever they had they would always have something to share.
This is Taylor Sparks of the Raleigh-Durham MO.com, where we feature business owners and entrepreneurs to bring you, hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful. Joining us today is Kenny Moore, the Founder and President of Andys Burgers, Shakes & Fries. With over 100 franchised and company owned locations, Andy’s 2010 sales topped $50 million and new locations are expected in 2012.
I understand that you decided to start your restaurant business after being fired from the defunct restaurant that burned down. What gave you the confidence to believe that you could do better than they did?
Actually it wasn’t one that burned down it was a chain of about 30 and I was a district manager that worked for one of the franchise groups that had 5 stores and they went bankrupt. And when they did, the guys I worked with let me go as well, even though 3 of the 5 stores that I was overseeing at that time was in the top 5 company wide. So that’s where, I guess, the confidence came from to start Andy’s. I saw some closed locations out there and I had the confidence that I could run them well. Also I had a great education on what not to do or what to not do is a better way to say it. Because I was in the mix I saw some decisions that I thought were not the best thing to do and I could potentially do it better.
After attending undergrad at University of Virginia, getting his Master of Engineering Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from Duke, and a MBA Concentration in International Finance from European Business School, Jon Reifschneider knows what it is like to be a student. He used his experience as a student to develop an amazing platform for businesses to connect with highly skilled students. His company, 31Projects, started only five months ago, and is already a success
31Projects is an online platform for student projects and contests for businesses & social organizations. 31Projects works with organizations to help them define their challenges into consulting-style projects and crowdsourcing competitions and connect them with students from their nation-wide network interested in working on them. The goal is to connect students with meaningful opportunities to put their skills to use helping organizations while themselves gaining hands-on experience in their field of interest. 31Projects signed its first fortune 500 company in November, and they were so impressed with the results of the initial project they signed on for two more.
Jeanne Frazer is the President of vitalink® and Marketing Speaker Author. Jeanne has a BA in Journalism and minored in Graphic Design and Business Administration at the University of Florida. Jeanne has worked in the advertising/marketing industry for over 20 years. Before starting her own business, she worked for FOX, NBC and UPN. In 1996, she started her own company, vitalink, which has grown into a successful advertising agency which continues to hire despite the recession. What makes her story even more inspiring is that she has done all this while fighting cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2009.
vitalink is a marketing firm that does advertising, branding, creative and more. vitalink has vast experience in certain niches and looks for client- partners that offer a good “fit” and synergy. vitalink specializes in providing marketing solutions for the legal industry, associations, colleges, universities, sports,, b2c products, restaurants, government and non-profits. vitalink is also partnered with the Lawyers Marketing Agency and offers nationwide marketing services to law firms, including producing a news show called Spotlight on the Law. vitalink’s MO could best be described as working toward a true partnership through good client-agency fit.