Interview with Candy Rice and Cassie Bair, Chief Creative Officers of The Collective Savvy.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
The Collective Savvy is a marketing consulting and training service in Denver, CO that takes a unique approach to creativity for business. We think access to savvy marketing & training should be easy. It should be tailored specifically for you, and it should be fun while connecting you with a live person. It's all about effective marketing with practical know-how, and it's why lots of small and midsize businesses are choosing The Collective Savvy to power their marketing efforts. The Collective Savvy has a specialty focus on social media and marketing integration.
When did you start the business?
Conception: December 2009. Website and social media launch: January, 2010!
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
Candy: This is the third small business I've successfully launched since 2007. I presently also run Candy Rice Design (candyrice.com), focused on providing savvy marketing consulting and design to small business owners and nonprofits.
Cassie: This is the first small business I've launched. I presently am a freelance marketing consultant, and most recently was employed full-time by the American Heart Association as their Cause Marketing Director.
How did you come up with your business idea?
The Collective Savvy was a concept stemming from a local need. We had both jointly looked for social media training, as well as companies that offered tools on combining social media with current marketing strategy. We both decided to teach ourselves. Out of that spun the idea of being able to teach others.
In conjunction with trainings, we realized many companies wanted to do social media, but aren't sure of how to integrate it into their current marketing strategies. We offer consulting on that technique as well.
What outside resources were helpful for you? Business incubators, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, etc.?
We utilized the Small Business Administration and use a SCORE counselor. In addition, we simply did a lot of research on what tools were available in our particular market.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Our business is operated from our homes. Challenges include areas such as IT support, home distractions such as personal calls and people dropping by and not having a traditional work structure to work within. It can be hard to concentrate when others are at home and it can be hard to get into a routine.
Benefits include flexibility of schedule and working in our casual clothes in an environment we enjoy. Another perk is having a dog friendly environment. No one is regulating our work hours and lunch breaks; yet another great perk!
How did you select a partner?
Our joining was serendipitous and in this case, an easy decision to make. We both have a background in marketing, yet very different skills sets and industry experience. But most importantly we had similar vision, similar work ethics, and a shared optimism that we can make this work.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
Do your research. Companies want business, and that includes companies you need to work with to launch your business. You don't always want the cheapest company, but if you are on a budget, you can save costs by looking at reputation, product quality, and special offers. If you can't find a special offer, ask the company what they can do for you. The worst they can offer is the price they've already listed, but they may be willing to work with you.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Take the time to think strategically about the vision and direction of your business. Put it down on paper (especially if you have a partner) and write & sign your company bylaws.
Consider your area of expertise, your passions and the opportunities in your market. Our business has a specialty niche. Does that appeal to you? Is there enough business available in your market to support it? Do you enjoy working with people and heavily using technology?
Really consider all implications of your partnership. Do your skills both compliment and balance one another? Do you have a similar approach in work ethic, customer service and planning? Do your short and long term visions mesh?
Launching into a relatively new market is something to heavily consider. It has unique risks and great potential. Make sure you have thought everything through before executing!
Thanks for talking with me today, ladies.