Cypress Creek Marketing is helping business owners with product and services connect with potential customers.
Tell me about your current business, Ms. Williams.
Cypress Creek Marketing is a small telemarketing operation that supports a Texas electricity broker, and we work with other entrepreneurs to help them bring their products to market. I identified a product that was being sold on e-Bay as having potential for a variety of retail niche markets and formed the company in 2005. I had more than 30 years in advertising/marketing and PR. Cypress Creek Marketing is a spin off from a marketing consulting company that I've owned since 1996 - The Williams Group.
I was intrigued by the WondaWedge, a product that I purchased online to use in my personal RV. The WondaWedge solved a need – that of being able to comfortably read in bed before turning in at night, in the camper. Bed pillows just weren't enough to provide comfortable support for reading due to a shelf at the head of the bed.
Once I ordered and received the WondaWedge, I sought out the creator of the product and talked with him about how he was marketing the product. It turned out that the inventor had been looking for someone to help him to market the WondaWedge to a wider market, he just didn't know how to go about it. His background and expertise were in physiotherapy, not marketing.
Based on myexperience helping other entrepreneurs market their products, I could see that this was clearly a product that would fill a host of different needs in a variety of vertical market niches, both indoor and outdoor, so I took this product on as a personal project. I now hold an exclusive agreement to manufacture and market the product worldwide.
What were you doing before you founded Cypress Creek Marketing?
This is not the first business venture for me. Earlier in my marketing career, I had a small advertising agency. That was quite a learning experience for me and I guess I'm one of those people who has to have a hands-on education. That early experience taught me that you can go out and get the business, but without a proper infrastructure, business doesn't run smoothly. I advise new entrepreneurs that it's really important to track income and expenses properly from the first day, and to have a business plan so you have some benchmark goals to achieve – a 'roadmap' if you will.
What advice would you give to somebody else interested in becoming an entrepreneur.
The one key piece of advice that I can pass along to other entrepreneurs is "Focus." A business plan is essential because it causes you to think of all the potential scenarios, and to work through those situations before they hit you in real-time. A business plan also forces you to focus on the important aspects of launching a business.
Many entrepreneurs are so busy doing everything from manufacturing the product or service to cleaning the office that they are scattered. You have to focus on those activities that will bring in the money and further the business.
I believe in growing a business slowly, self-funding as much as possible by plowing profits back into the company. That way, the business is stable without huge overhead. The growth may come more slowly, but the financial stability is there. This may not be a solution for everyone, as there are some products and services that need to be launched and moved to market quickly because they are facing competition, or a short life span.
What outside resources were helpful to you when you started your company?
I found the Internet to be a valuable tool for gathering expert information. I also recommend the retired executives at SCORE. SCORE offers a wealth of knowledge on a wide variety of business topics. I found an executive through SCORE who had worked in manufacturing for an American company in China and his advice was key to he