A collection of short interviews and education from local business owners with amazing insights to today's challenges.
We virtually interviewed some of the top small businesses to take a look at what's really happening during the COVID-19 Crisis. Everyone has some important tips to share with other business owners and a few even have a special offer to share. Check out their interviews and MOST IMPORTANTLY visit their websites and check out their services. Every small business needs us now (and probably yours too!)
OH, And, learn from their mistakes.... hear what they've done wrong so you can do it right!
Heather Capps, HCK2 HCK2 is a full-service marketing communications agency with a diverse roster of clients seeking creative branding, social media, digital marketing, public relations and web services. The agency partners with organizations as small as start-ups to nonprofits and large corporations such as 7-Eleven and Greyhound.
Who do you consider your best customer or target audience? We’ve found that our sweet spot is mid-market businesses – those with smaller, one-to-two-person marketing departments. Our team comes in as a full-service agency and acts as an extension to our client’s marketing team. That said, we’ve been successful in our work with clients, both big and small, each with different business objectives.
HCK2 has a unique position here in the DFW Metroplex because 50 percent of our clients are business-to-consumer and the other 50 percent are business-to-business. Meaning, our team is well-equipped to develop communications, social media copy, websites and creative for companies targeting either consumers or businesses. What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? Like many businesses across the country, we were hit pretty hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, we were working with many B2C companies, including restaurants and entertainment clients. Once the world shut down and businesses started cutting expenses, we lost a number of our agency’s biggest clients. Unfortunately, we had to make cutbacks as well and had to let go some really good and talented people because the agency didn’t have enough business for these individuals to work on. Our team is the heart of HCK2, so losing the clients we had strong relationships with was unfortunate but having to say goodbye to our cherished colleagues was absolutely the most difficult challenge the agency faced in 2020.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? Operating during COVID-19 allowed us to pivot and go after verticals we hadn’t previously approached. We began reaching out to companies in new industries and expanded our networking efforts. Additionally, the agency creatively staffed accounts by developing a hybrid full-time/part-time contractor approach. We have already started to see how these changes are paying off. As an agency, we’ve pushed our boundaries and started working with industry-changing clients that we may have never approached before the pandemic.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? Having been in this business for such a long time, I became complacent. I was comfortable doing things a certain way because it was successful in the past. We weren’t looking at new ways of doing things or exploring unknown avenues, but that has since changed.
If I have learned anything in the past year, it is to be open to new experiences, operations and processes. That’s what I recommend to anyone looking to find a spark in their business. Always look for opportunities to evolve and improve all aspects of their organization.
What is most inspiring to you today? The most inspiring thing to me today is watching my team still deliver incredible work for our clients. During these unprecedented times, my team continues to show up and do great work. Because of that, we are getting fantastic results for our clients.
Osiel Betancourt, All Flooring Install LLC We are a flooring and installation company based in Richardson and we cover all DFW. We work with different flooring stores to provide our customers with the right material at the best deal possible.
Who do you consider your best customer or target audience? My target audience would be anyone needing flooring insulation. We work directly with consumers. They go online searching for someone and we usually are the first ones popping up. What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? We had to close in March 2020. We have to wear PPP equipment when we go to someone's house. We are a lot more conscious about where we go, what we touch and how we do things. We are vetting our customers less often. We give pricing up front and we make sure the customer is right before we even go and measure their house.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? The screening for customers has changed. We are going to every house. We are asking a series of questions and presenting quotes before we go out to measure. All of our staff is now wearing protective equipment. We are getting a lot more quotes over the phone that we didn’t use to do before. We have invested more in SEO and market utilization. It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You don’t want to depend on one source of work you want to make sure you have different sources of work. You need more than one store or one company to work with. Diversification of work is key.
What is most inspiring to you today? The end result of our work. Seeing a target go from nothing to beautiful homes and the feedback we get from our customers. All the good reviews and comments from customers once we finish a project. The positive feedback is what inspires to keep doing what we do.
Jay Harrison, Addicare Addicare is an outpatient counseling and treatment center. We have been in business about 30 years and we have programs that specialize in substance abuse, anger management, family and domestic violence, and stress management.
Who do you consider your best customer or target audience? Our target audience is someone who is looking for an outcome. People are looking for an outcome because they have a problem at work--for example, an anger problem at work. Or they have a legal problem of some kind. Someone who is looking for a way to move on. They want to keep their job or get their kids.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? Folks not wanting to come to counseling. They are afraid to come out. Most of our programs are in a group situation. This is how we keep our work at a low-cost. We are more affordable and we are a nonprofit. We have done some zoom session to accommodate.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? One of the things is that we are one of the last to go to zoom. We moved to a hybrid zoom situation and that has kept us seeing people more vs not seeing them at all. Working with folks more, being more accommodating to what is going on with them right now. Some need a little extra time than we would prefer.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? Learn the sort of leader you are in your company or your business. When I first started out I struggled with the sort of leader that I would be. I became a servant leader. My mistake was not moving to a servant leader type position sooner. I want folks around me that are smarter than me. That's when I know I do better. If I give them the tools, we all grow and we are all successful. I have the last say in something but I try to take a look at everyone’s input and try to come up with the best scenario weather it is a client or business decision. What is most inspiring to you today? I love this work. How do I take a step back from running a company and go back? Running a business today is harder than ever
Offer: I'm open to doing a consultation for businesses. I’m willing to take their call and do an outline of what we can do for them as a company and as an employee. They can call up anytime I can provide a solution or step or program that might help.
Amanda Esquivel, Room for Change I am owner and lead therapist at Room For Change. We started in 2014 and the business has grown from just me to 12 counselors. We provide mental health and substance abuse talk therapy for those 12 years and older. We are located in Garland, TX.
Who do you consider your best customer or target audience? Ideally our clients are people who are motivated to make a change in their lives. We treated a wide variety of people. Some meet criteria for medical diagnosis and some are just regular people needing to get better in an area.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? The biggest thing was originally we wanted to meet virtually. Room for change has 2 meaning – we have the capacity to change ourselves and we have an environment for people to go to change their lives. Our current clients really missed the physical space. We are now seeing more in person than online.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? Its 2-fold, one offering virtual appointments and that’s been a huge pivot and just being able to allow for that. If they are at work or in their car, they are accessing the treatment that they need. The second big change I went from all cash to accepting 3 forms of insurance.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? Initially I found myself wanting to learn from anyone with any sense of business. I have degrees on how to be a really good counselor and I put so much emphasis on what they knew that I was short-changing myself. I learned not all industries operate the same – what someone in manufacturing can do I cannot do ethically. What is most inspiring to you today? That so many people amongst the chaos are still believing they deserve something better than what they have and that brings me so much hope.
Offer: We have services beginning at $40 a session and in most cases, we have same week appointment including nights and weekends.
Tom Sadler, Tom Sadler and Associates We are a digital marketing agency. We help our clients with their online presence. We manage social media platforms. We do a lot of video because video drives traffic. If it’s a local customer we go out and do videos and spend about an hour shoot 30 min worth of video and we can knock that down to 90 second snippets and use that for video online. We do some photo shoots if they want product photos or headshots. We will build a website for them or we will go in and make changed to their current websites. The videos and photographs we can do for local but we work with companies all over. We can manage social and our website from anywhere.
Who do you consider your best customer or target audience? My target audience is when I have shown people something that will add value to their life and they decide to buy. Someone who wants to have an online presence. I’m not going to convince you that you need a website or our services. If you don’t know that then you’re not an ideal client.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? COVID has helped my business. People knew they needed an online presence but COVID forced you to get online. It has hurt us in another way as far as getting in front of someone and talking to them.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? Two things we have done is if you need to work remote you can work remote. You can get the job done but you can’t get collaboration at home. We have an agreement with the employees that we are not going to do stupid things. We aren’t going out and exposing themselves and the employees.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? Not having a clear understand of the project your client is asking you to do. Being profitable. I used to be sensitive for pricing. And I started standing by my price because that is what it is going to take and I can’t do it for any less than that.
What is most inspiring to you today? The young people and their desire to do something to work hard and make a contribution. That’s what inspires me the most.
Offer: Free website evaluation and/or your social media platform.
Candy Evans, Candysdirt.Com I am a journalist and I went to Columbia. I always thought I would be a journalist and I would write for TV news. I wanted to start the first real-estate blog here in Dallas and it went well for about 3 years. I broke the news internationally when George Bush came back to Dallas.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? Anyone that is interested in real-estate. The buyer, seller, real-estate agent, broker, Investor, etc.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? It made our business grow tremendously. We usually meet once a week but media doesn’t need a hard space to meet.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? We have become way more digital. We had to stop doing our viewing parties. As soon as we figured out zoom, we started doing zooms and Facebook lives. We did media before but we are doing much more now. We present a seminar and had experts talking about how to shift to online.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? I have made so many mistakes along the way. One of the mistakes I made was not trusting. When I first started hiring people it was hard to turn the keys over. The biggest mistake people make is that you think you can do everything. If you can delegate 80% of the work and its done the way you do it that is 100% success. Do not be afraid to try. I didn’t know what I was doing when I set up my company.
What is most inspiring to you today? People, and I do believe in people. I think the goodness of people is the most inspiring thing to me. There is a future despite all that we have gone through. I love how people have adapted, I have seen it in the Dallas real estate community. Technology is here to enhance our live and not ruin our lives.