Sometimes the best talent is right under your nose. That’s what Andrew Hughes of Designing Digitally learned. The freelance developer started an internship program at the Art Institute of Ohio, in Cincinnati, where he was an instructor. Through the program, Hughes worked with students he was later able to hire to support him on freelance projects.

After a few years, Hughes teamed up with Director of Development Nick Taylor, and the two worked at a shared desk in Hughes’ dining room. Designing Digitally, Inc. officially incorporated in 2006.

Designing Digitally works with corporate and government clients to create entertaining experiences for adult learners. The company’s products incorporate gamification and other engaging elements to enhance knowledge retention among participants. To learn more about Designing Digitally, visit designingdigitally.com.

How SCORE Helped: 

Despite 10 years of growth, Hughes still sees new challenges as a business owner. “I found myself struggling to find other individuals facing the same issues I was in regards to processes, production, strategic planning, sales, marketing, and even what I should be doing as the owner,” he admits.

The Designing Digitally team particularly struggled to streamline production. “Once the mentors helped us work through improving our processes, we focused on building a stronger pipeline between the sales person and the production team,” Hughes says. Strengthening that system  will allow the company to build its sales team. Twice-weekly meetings ensured that Hughes and his team were making progress implementing his mentors’ advice.

My Successes: 

“We have now met a goal of completing what seemed to be a huge amount of production tasks and workloads for this year,” Hughes reported after about six months of mentoring in 2015. “We’re now starting to implement our sales training system and hire a sales staff.”  

What's Great About My Mentor?: 

“After my first meeting with my mentors I quickly realized they do care about the well-being of our company, and my team!” Hughes recalls. “They have years of experience under their belt, but they cannot make you do anything -- it’s up to you to take the advice, filter it, and apply it to your own scenario.”

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