Thanks to a program sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial called Mission: Small Business℠, your support could translate into a $250,000 grant. But we need at least 250 votes at missionsmallbusiness.com.
We have submitted our grant proposal. If you are interested in reading what we submitted, see below.
Thanks so much for your support!
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Concept Design Studios
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Number Of Employees
Number of years in business
Tell us about your business; how successful is it and why is it unique?
A lot of small business owners or employees have to run around to a bunch of different businesses for their different marketing/advertising needs. This can be a time and money waster. We are a one-stop shop so that businesses can get everything they need in one place. It also assures that their products look great every time. We know their business inside and out so we can give them quality, consistent products every time.
Most small businesses owners/managers wear many different hats and our goal is to take some of those hats from them so they can focus on actually running their business. It has been very successful because our clients appreciate it! Instead of calling around to a bunch of different places for a certain product, they call one business for everything. We do most of our services in-house but if there is anything someone can do better than we can, we partner with them to produce what we need. These partners give us great deals that we pass on so our customers aren’t paying more than they would if they went to them directly. And we offer the same perks to other businesses as well.
This business structure is unique because most companies focus on one service to their clients. For example, a graphic design company will be able to do all of your design for you but then they will send you to a printer to get it produced. We have made it our mission to become experts in many different fields. We will design a high quality logo or business card, etc. but then we will also print business cards, make a sign, print a mug or a post-it note, embroider shirts and make a website. Every item looks consistent and beautiful. And not only are our clients getting the best quality of everything, they don’t have to pay a high premium for it. We like our services to be affordable even for the smallest businesses…like ours
We can tell that this is a service that is needed in our community and around the nation because our business has grown by more than 20% every year. It fills a need for our clients, making them come back and the reason they refer their friends and collegues to us as well.
How is your business involved with the community you serve?
We offer discounts to non-profits and donate our time and products whenever we can.
We also have a network of free resources that we can recommend to our clients who are in need of business mentoring, beyond our capabilities. We are a member of SCORE, which is a great tool for small businesses. We offer our services to SCORE in order to get their name out there to be able to help more small businesses.
As we mentioned earlier, we also partner with other businesses, who are experts in their fields. In doing this, we support other small businesses. This helps our economy and our local community. We don’t believe in “cut-throat” competition but believe in serving our customers and building our community while doing so.
We also work hard at keeping our business as eco-conscious as possible. We have a recycling program for our waste. We also offer “green” alternatives for our customers who want print products that are made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy inks.
What would a $250k grant mean to your business plan and how will you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?
A $250K grant would be extremely beneficial to our long-term growth and stability. Our business plan has always been to have great customer service as well as providing the best products for our clients. Our goal has always been to make our customers reach their potential. In so doing, we have extremely happy customers and we get to see their businesses expand and grow. Our number one priority is happy customers. This grant would help especially help our business plan and our customers in these ways…
– Opportunity to give our current employees better benefits and appreciation. They have built great relationships with our clients already and want to make sure they continue to feel fulfilled and satisfied with their job so they can continue those relationships.
– Opportunity to purchase a couple pieces of equipment to keep/improve our competitive pricing, keeping our overhead for each product lower.
– Opportunity to expand our space and possibly purchase our own building, with other tenants, so that we could keep our cash flow consistent and build a long-term investment property. This would help our pricing to stay consistent and not be so tied to the economy fluctuations.
– Opportunity to hire more employees as our business continues to grow, therefore helping stimulate the local economy, which in turn gives our business more stability.
What types of challenges can you identify with your plan and how will you overcome them?
I think a common struggle for all small businesses is cash flow. Providing so many services to our clients, some with high overhead, makes our need for consistent cash flow extremely important. If we received this grant it would help our cash flow as well as our ability to expand our services. Growing too fast or becoming “cash poor” is always a temptation when wanting to grow and expand our business. We would have to make sure that we weren’t wasteful and attempting to grow too fast. We would need to set our priorities and make sure the things we chose to invest in would bring long-term benefits for our business, our employees and our clients. As we would decide how to use our resources, not over-extending ourselves, we would calculate the return on investment to make sure each our decisions would directly benefit our growth and stability, rather than hinder it.
Describe the talent on your team and how they make your business successful:
As we mentioned before, customer service and client satisfaction are the key to our business. Our employees have really taken on that mission and do such a great job building relationships with our clients. They also carry on our desire for quality control. As an owner, I don’t have to micro-manage because I know our employees have the same desire for quality as I do. They have blossomed and have really added so much to our business and working environment. Each employee adds something unique to our “family” and makes our business better. They feel fulfilled in their work, which in turn makes our business stronger. Our clients feel comfortable when they walk in the door and know that we will be able to help them with whatever they need. Our employees make our business what it is.
Additional relevant information you would like to share:
We started extremely small, and we are still a very small company, but we do business like a large business – a “well-oiled” machine. We have made a point to develop organizational structures in our business so that if we have 3 or 50 employees the systems still work and it is easy to incorporate new employees. This helps keep us, and our clients, from experiencing “growing pains”.
We haven’t had to do much advertising because our focus on great customer service and quality products have grown our business. We started with just a handful of clients and we have grown to over 500. Our new clients come from almost 100% referrals. As we grow, we make sure that the same things that helped us get here, happy clients, will be the same thing that keeps us in business in the future.