Today we’re continuing with our Client Spotlight series where we feature some of the superb people and companies that our virtual receptionists get to work with every day. I got together with Shawn Busse, co-founder (with Wendy Maynard) of Kinesis, a Portland marketing and design firm, to chat about his area of expertise, entrepreneurship, and all that goes with it.
Tell us about Kinesis
Kinesis is the “marketing department” for professional services firms between $1 and $10 million in revenue. We do all of this, typically, for less than the cost of one full time employee.
What advice do you have for small businesses who want to get their names out there?
I can sum it up in one word: differentiation. While most businesses focus on getting the word out, it’s far more important for them to first define what makes them remarkably better than their competitors. Once you’ve nailed down how you’re different, letting people know about your business becomes much, much easier.
Are there any campaigns that you’ve worked on that you’re particularly fond of?
We’ve got such a great roster of clients, that it’s hard to pick just one. In the last few months, we’ve launched several major rebranding efforts and even one completely fresh, from-the-ground-up medical practice, Reflex. Other examples: Clarum, specializing in green homebuilding in Palo Alto, and Portland-based Fluence, consultants for the medical and dental industry.
What are the top three things a small business with limited marketing dollars can do to maximize their internet marketing efforts?
Marketing a small business is tough! Money is always tight, and few businesses have the kinds of funds it takes to do a comprehensive marketing campaign. That said, the internet is one of the best, lowest cost options for a small business owner. My suggestion would be to 1) define your BEST customer 2) research where your customers congregate and 3) participate in the online spaces that foster your customer-communities. This won’t work for all businesses all the time, but it’s a great starting point.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Great question! I blame my dad and his serial entrepreneurism. But, in all seriousness, it was really about seeing an opportunity and going for it. You see, the problem with marketing – like many fields – is that it’s gotten incredibly complex. Just think about it for a moment – you’ve got online marketing, social media marketing, search engines, referral marketing, event marketing, trade shows, and on and on. For businesses under $10 million in revenue, it’s overwhelming. Hiring one person as a marketing director to do it all is nearly impossible, and employing an entire in-house team is financially untenable. Kinesis was set up to answer this problem for owners who want to grow their business.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love helping owners advance their businesses. Fostering the growth of my team and clients is hand-down the best part of my job.
How has having Ruby’s virtual receptionist service affected your business?
Working with Ruby was a great decision in so many ways – their virtual receptionists eliminated the telemarketers while providing a high-level of service to clients and prospects. It frees up my staff to do what they do best – marketing and design – at a price that can’t be beat.