How it began
When I graduated from university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I had a communications degree from Campbell University (North Carolina) where I had also competed for four years on a golf scholarship. I was fortunate to have two areas of my life that I loved – my athletics in golf and my academics in communications. For nearly 10 years after graduation, I worked equally in both – gaining my professional status and working in the golf industry, and being drawn to communications projects that were challenging and difficult.
In 2006, I decided to pursue communications work full-time. I polished up my resume and started applying for exciting roles. Days and weeks passed and I wasn’t getting a single response. Finally, I followed-up with a few employers to ask where I was falling short and their reply shocked me. It wasn’t that I didn’t meet the qualifications, but that I was over-qualified for the position. At first, that seemed like a compliment, but after a while, it became a barrier. I was faced with two options: dummy-down my resume or start out on my own. I chose the latter.
The start of Forward Thinking
As I researched how to start my own business, I realized my competitive golf career was the best training possible for owing a business. When you compete in professional golf events, you make great shots and you have missed shots and you have to rally the best you can to put up a good score at the end of the day to rank high enough to make some money. Some days, you play really great but others play better and you aren’t rewarded. Other days, you miss the cut and have no opportunity to offset your tournament expenses. I found out that owning a business was very similar.
Just like in golf, being a business owner meant being able to handle the highs and lows of being 100% responsible for your income. It is a constant competitive environment every single day, and that suited me to a tee!
How my business evolved
Having worked with hundreds of businesses and organizations, it helped me understand the reasons for seeking out marketing services:
- Comfortable clientele. Business owners who wanted to maintain a good income, but who owned a business because of the freedom it allowed them with their time.
- Funding influence. Organizations that focus their budget on operations and could only pursue marketing when funding opportunists were available.
- Entrepreneurial thinkers. Businesses and organizations that wanted to be leaders, were driven to high standards and were always seeking ways to be the best they could be.
As I worked with each type of client, I learned that my skills were best used with those businesses and organization with whom I shared that competitive drive. The entrepreneurial thinkers – whether in business or non-business industries – have a strong motivation for doing the best work they can do, and that resonates best with my strengths in competitive and strategic marketing.
Business is a competitive arena
When it comes to marketing for business, what is really being devised is a competition plan. The competitors may be others in your industry, the old beliefs that customers may have about your product or service, or it might be competing with the fear of change. When a business or organization needs to improve its circumstance, it is most often marketing that will do it.
Competition is a motivating circumstance. It helps you evaluate where you are today and find areas where you can do better. Just like in golf, there are many ways to shoot a great score if you know how to navigate the course to your strengths. I think about that every time I play.