Forward Thinking is a marketing agency that focuses on small businesses. The agency opened in 2006 in a town of 15,000 in Ontario, Canada. We have worked with more than 200 clients, helping them promote themselves and grow their businesses.
Small business marketing is a niche. It is not a condensed version of big business marketing. Understanding how a small business (or small organization) can best achieve their goals requires an understanding of how that business operates. Sometimes, you have to have “walked the walk” in order to really get that.
Also, the small business market is about as competitive as you can get, and competition is something I know a little bit about.
I attended Campbell University in North Carolina on a golf scholarship, while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication. Upon graduation, I had two career options: golf or communications. I chose communications and went to work in advertising at a small town newspaper.
After two years, I made another choice and pursued professional golf where I competed on the Canadian Women’s Golf Tour while working at some of the the top private golf clubs in Canada. I thought my life was set in southern Ontario until I met a member of the golf club who was trying to build his own golf course. He was getting crucified in the media and I reached out to learn more about the project. Months later, I left my dream job to work for a golf course that might never be built.
Within a year, our team had turned public opinion in favour of the golf course. Unfortunately, the project was denied appropriate planning approvals and would never be built. That led me to work for our legal team as a researcher for two additional years.
Although I had the best job in the law firm, after two years, I returned to golf and secured my Canadian PGA Class A status while continuing to compete on the Canadian Women’s Tour. Finally, the opportunity emerged to combine golf and communications – open a small business!
It’s Not Who You Know…It’s Who Knows You!
That was 15 years ago now, and while I have competed at some of the highest levels of professional golf, there is nothing as competitive as owning a small business. My work today is helping small businesses compete – for sales, for awareness and for market share. When you do things in a certain way in your business, you can make the competition irrelevant and take your business to another level.