I was always the kid with the lemonade stand. Besides lemonade, I packaged up and sold door-to-door individual bags of my mom’s coffee and clothespins. Really. I learned photography in junior high (camera and darkroom) so I could take action pictures of the football and baseball players and sell them prints. For a 12-year-old, this was a pretty lucrative business. I created and printed my first brochures while in high school, one for a local fish smokehouse near PCH, and the other for a trial product called the Bulldog Air Jack. And these were paying gigs.
So when I went off to college, I naturally studied Engineering and Computer Science. What? That only lasted a couple of years, as I orbited around into Mass Communications. I ended up working on the student newspaper and took over as editor of the college magazine. I recruited a new staff, and we turned the publication from the “Iconoclast” into “Focus.” From a 24-page, 500 circulation, paid publication into a 64-page, free publication with a circulation of 10K and 20 pages of paid advertising. We made a profit for the department. We launched Focus on December 7th with a noontime campus concert (free of course) and dropped “surrender” leaflets from an airplane onto the quad. It worked really great. Except for the part where I got arrested…
Part of the original Commpro team: Susan Finch, Greg Smith and Kimberly Olfias
I was fortunate to find work with a top advertising agency out of school. And a decade later was running my own Ad/PR shop in Orange County. Now I was selling other people’s lemonade, with great clients like Yamaha, Isuzu, Carl’s Jr., Fluidmaster, Rainbird, ASICS, ARCO, Tohatsu, Aerostar and Lear Siegler. Eventually I sold that agency and started looking for something new. What was this internet thing, anyway? .com was still .coming.
So I moved from AD/PR into web building and web promotion with a new company – Commpro. And built a different kind of team to get it done—creative people who weren’t afraid of technology. One of my best finds was Susan Finch, a former ad agency talent who owned an art gallery in Laguna Beach. I hired her over lunch when we talked a blue streak about everything right and wrong with the ad business. Only thing we forgot to discuss was when she was going to start and how much I was going to pay her. Oh, we worked that out 15 years ago.
15 years later.
We developed the Commpro Content Management System to build websites with teams in mind. With marketing techniques built in and coding eliminated. It’s a concept we’ve now used for scores of companies, cities, organizations and non-profits. Our CMS works because we keep improving it. And we take our clients out of the technology and put them directly in control of their communications. Together, we build communications teams, centered around that CMS experience; which is both cost effective and powerful. For as it turns out, these teams prove to be darn good at selling lemonade, too.Related Articles
How do you look in all online venues; not just your website but social media? Remember to review periodically. Make sure your connected accounts are current. Don't forget that your business face may need to be VERY different than your personal face ad profiles.Need help? Let us know.