In the age of technology where user-friendly websites, SEO, social media and everything else in between means so much, not utilizing these tools effectively can cost you not only clients, but your business. Properly using digital tools can make a world of difference in generating new leads, finding new clients and keeping your business open.
In this month’s SCORE Client Success Story, Kevin Raichl owner of Visual Thinking Northwest, a media production company based in Bend, Orgeon, talks about the ups and downs of staying in business for almost 20 years and how his business has been revitalize with the help of SCORE and technology.
How it all began:
Visual Thinking Northwest was started in 1997. At the time, Ken was a station operation manager. One day Kevin’s boss called him into his office to tell him the station was sold.
“People are getting let go, you can wait to get laid off or be proactive,” said Kevin's boss. And proactive was what Kevin decided to be. Since no one at the time was creating high-end videos, Kevin had found the niche he wanted to create a busines in.
Meeting with SCORE:
“In 2008 when the recession hit, things dried up pretty quickly. Contracts were canceled. With what we do, you should live in a large market town. So we went to a conference in the capital of Oregon and it was ‘How to Make the Most out of your Business.’ Big Jim was a SCORE counselor and he did a 10 minute presentation on how important it was to have the same presentation/wording in your government identities. He spent a hour and half with us on our website, registrations for both the state and federal level and he went through each one. He helped consolidate our name and presentation into one message.”
How important is having a website for your business?
“Our clients are often in other cities, about 80 percent of our work is done through YouTube. My advice is to do things very consistently in regards to your identity," says Kevin.
Kevin and his team use unlisted and sometimes private videos to show clients their work. It is a great way to use technology for making quick edits without traveling to meet a client.
Once the video is complete, Kevin uploads it to his company’s public YouTube page. “The downside is anyone can see it, which is also the upside,” said Kevin. Being able to show your work online is a great way to build your client base.
How has having a website helped your business?
“We get a lot of work from outside the Bend area, having a good functional website with examples of your work testimonials, recommendations from previous clients is the best thing we’ve done.
An out-of-state agency who was looking for a Bend area video production company to work on a project, was able to find Visual Thinking because when they searched for a HD video production company in Oregon, Kevin’s business popped up in the search engine.
Just "Stay With It"
Kevin who has been in the business for 17 years says there we rough patches. His advices is to “Stay with it”. “It takes a long time, we’ve been in business for 17 years and it wasn’t easy. We’ve been fortunate. Find someone who knows a little bit about business to help you. We were able to find people to help us get things together, and sometimes the people find you. It’s astonishing, you don’t know how they find you, but they do.”
Technology bring us closer than we can even imagine sometimes. Need help with your small business? Connect with a SCORE Mentor. Whether they are down the street in your local chapter or miles away online, they are here to help.