True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

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To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

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Guest Blog Post: Donna Mavromates of MavroCreative

We take inspiration from lots of sources; often from other moms and business owners. With that in mind, we offer words of wisdom and inspiration from our very first guest blogger- Donna Mavromates!

Life is fluid. A lesson learned from a mother of twins.

Life takes twists and turns that we often don’t expect. For most of my life, I have been a planner. I like to know precisely where I’m going and what lies ahead. The first time that my best-laid plans were put to the test was when I became pregnant for the first (and only!) time. I was working in a corporate environment and I added the baby’s name to the waiting list for the on-site daycare. I was going to take 12 weeks maternity leave and would be right back to work. All set. Until an ultrasound revealed that the “baby” was actually “babies”.

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My identical twin girls at 6 months!

Twins? Wait a sec…that wasn’t in my plan!

And right then and there, my focus shifted and I quickly learned that I had to be open to a change of plans in all aspects of my life. It’s been almost 18 years since my twin daughters were born and I can honestly say that flexibility and adaptability are now ingrained in my persona!

So what does all of this have to do with this blog post? Because it’s along that same vein that I approach my business, Wicked Simple Marketing. I spent the second half of 2014 refining and defining the business and understanding what our clients need and want from an agency like ours.  Wicked Simple Marketing has been a part of me since 2010, and when I decided to focus on the business full time in June 2014, I did so with the intention of digging deep and understanding exactly what its mission is and what it is designed to do.

A name and branding change wasn’t something that I anticipated doing. In fact, I love the name Wicked Simple Marketing, because it’s fun and whimsical and quirky and very Bostonian! But the deeper I dug, and the more I learned about myself and what aspects of the business get me excited, the name “Wicked Simple Marketing” no longer resonated with me.  I realized that I hadn’t taken the very same advice that I give to my clients:

I hadn’t defined my brand.

Our core mission has always been to deliver affordable marketing and design (web and print) to businesses and providing the best possible customer service. That will never change. What we have done, however, is refined our offerings, concentrating our efforts on our core competencies and the things that we love to do, and on what our clients are telling us that they need and want: website and graphic design that is clean and sophisticated and that tells their “story”.

And so, the vision of MavroCreative began to take shape.

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John Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good, speaking at the recent MA Conference for Women in Boston.

“Do what you like. Like what you do.”

John Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good, said those very words at a recent conference I attended.  “Do what you like. Like what you do.”  I left the conference and those words stuck with me. When I really thought about it, the word “creative” kept coming up. Over and over. It is the aspect of what we do every day that motivates and drives me.

While I do enjoy social media and other forms of marketing – including marketing strategy – the parts of Wicked Simple Marketing that resonated with me the most revolved around the creative.  Helping businesses find their voice and creating that brand with them, and seeing it evolve in print and on the web is what I really like to do and it’s what the majority of our clients are looking for.

Deciding on a brand change was scary. I had my plan for Wicked Simple Marketing all set and it was hard to let it go. But, the lesson I learned almost 18 years ago continues.

Life is fluid and sometimes you have to follow a different road than the one you set out on.

So what does this all mean? In a nutshell, Wicked Simple Marketing has evolved into MavroCreative, LLC.  We provide sophisticated web and graphic design services to businesses and help them create and maintain their brand across all platforms. We are the same team, providing the same high level of customer service, under a new brand:  MavroCreative.

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As we say goodbye to 2014 and look ahead to the years to come, we are mindful of the fact that life is fluid, and sometimes the best-laid plans take a sudden turn. We look forward to seeing what this coming year has in store and our wish for every one of you is to take the advice of John Jacobs and “Do what you like. Like what you do.”

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Donna Mavromates is the owner of MavroCreative, LLC, a Hingham-based website and graphic design agency. In her spare time she is a hobbyist photographer and most recently can be found visiting prospective colleges with her 17-year old twin daughters, who inspire her every day. Learn more at www.mavrocreative.com .