If you believe recent headlines, there's an economic rebound underway, however small it might be. Markets are up, unemployment is down a bit. So, is it a good time? For several successful small business owners in the D.C. area the answer is yes. For 2012, they each have a different approach to expand, but they agree on one thing: Standing still in 2012 is not the answer.
How's Your UX?
Dan Banks of Flux Forward
(Photo by Daniel Vickers)
Dan Banks is the owner and creative director of Project Design Company, a print and Web-based design firm that works with nonprofits and for-profit businesses. He believes this is the ideal time to expand with a new, second business that takes advantage of the trends in mobile computing: Flux Forward.
''My business partner is a user experience (UX) expert -- and he's also my life partner,'' Banks says. ''We know that more and more, organizations reach their customers through Web and mobile devices. The user's experience in these platforms can enhance or hinder messaging and sales—and profits. Organizations want to know that their customers enjoy the best possible UX while maintaining brand security, whether the customer uses a PC, laptop, iPad, or mobile device. When customers are identified as having a bad experience with sites, we provide solutions to these problems.''
Why this new business now? According to Banks, ''User experience is a new frontier. For people who want to grow their business or organization, this is a great investment—and why we believe it's a great time to expand into this business.''
Certification = New Opportunities
A number of large companies have goals for supplier diversity. Millions of dollars in purchases are available exclusively to minority-owned businesses through such corporations as Marriott, IBM, American Airlines and many more. Eligibility is contingent on being certified through programs like the one offered by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
David Rowley, owner of Minuteman Press Crystal City, had begun the application process for becoming a certified Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender owned Business Enterprise through the NGLCC's Supplier Diversity Initiative. At an orientation on the program, he learned there are very few businesses nationwide with this certification, even fewer in his line of work.
''Becoming certified,'' Rowley says, ''will allow us to expand our clientele beyond the D.C. area, especially with those companies looking to bring diversity to their list of vendors.''
Timing, a wise person once said, is everything. Anyone remember when several very smart and experienced political strategists thought the time was wrong for then-Sen. Barack Obama to run for president? He listened to none of the doubters and decided to seize the opportunity available, following a barrage of media attention following his speech at the National Democratic Convention.
Kim Rosenberg and Meghann Novinskie, founders of Mixology- Matchmaking with a Twist (and partners in life), have decided to seize the day following a run of publicity that would have any small business owner jealous. Mixology is expanding with a new location on the West Coast.
''Due to our recent press nationally and our affiliations on the West Coast,'' Rosenberg says, ''we found that the timing was right to open a Los Angeles office. Meghann and I are about to make our TV debut behind the scenes, matching a gay celebrity on 'Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.' Although D.C. still continues to prosper, we wanted to seize this incredible opportunity to expand out West. Our Los Angeles office will cater to our San Francisco clientele as well.''
Robert E. McLean owns REM Association Service, a full-service association management company in Arlington.
For more information about the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, visit caglcc.org.