With the economy slowly recovering, my column will begin a 12 part series on surviving the economy with small business owners sharing their tips, stories and solutions for surviving and thriving even in a weak economy.
Examiner Small Business Profile
Name of Business: Tomek Design
Year started: 1998
Name: Bonnie Tomek
Title: Marketing and Creative Director
Industry: Marketing, web design, copywriting, and illustration.
City location: San Francisco
Website: www.bonnietomek.com and www.zenbuns.com for the book and other goodies.
1. So tell me how you got your start in your industry.
I came from an AA Degree in Commercial Art, graphic design for print and presentation and a fine art background from New York Studio School. I worked with and for Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs creating their branding and launching marketing campaigns using printed promotional material in every way possible before the web. I was also involved in creating spaces for trade shows and all of the attendant promotional material.
2. What obstacles have you faced with the recent economic downturn?
Re- education, using the computer was an outside service for me, I paid type setters after I specified type for design project and did proof checks and press checks here and in China. Now these services are gone and the designers are expected to do it all on their computer. I attended SFSU for two years and completed their Multimedia Studied Program for web and print design and their Marketing for the Web. I am also a Google Adwords consultant, one of 6,000 in the US at last count, and am becoming certified as a social media consultant. Every eighteen months there are major changes in my industry so an ongoing approach to education is essential. I also keep current with webinars, reading whitepapers, sharing information and having discussions with equals in my field.
3. How have you overcome those obstacles?
Attending webinars that are industry related at least twice a week, and always discussing new developments with my associates in the industry.
4. Do you think the economy is in recovery?
What goes down must also come up, however not as fast as we would want it to. I do not believe we even recovered from the earlier recessions.Why? The economy will recover but I do not think it will be as easy to reach the bubble heights of the past. However, since people do not learn from history, history I am sure is ready to repeat itself in the future.
5. How has your marketing and sales strategies changed with the economy?
With the explosion of the social media, I see more free information and sharing. Not that all of it is good information, however I think people are trying to be more generous. I see a move to more giveaways and more networking. More than one networking group has advised people to greet a new person with the question. What may I do for you?
6. How’s business now?
It has been worse.
7. What are 5 or 6 tips to offer readers for surviving a weak economy?
First – Always work with a contract if you are freelance.
Second – The best time to look for clients is when you already have them. Networking is essential.
Third – Keep current with your industry. Read business related publications.
Fourth- Seek balance in your life. All work and no play . . .
Fifth – Keep moving, have more than one project going at all times, some will succeed some will not. If you spread your efforts you increase your chance of something working out.
8. How can people contact you?
My main website, www.bonnietomek.com and my new book available at www.Amazon.com, “zen BUNS FUZZY Wisdom for the Digital Age”.
9. Small Business Week is coming up the second week in May. What are you doing in preparation for all of the networking events classes etc.?
I have my two business cards ready to hand out, one for marketing and design and the other for the new book. My websites are current as is my LinkedIn information and am I doing more social media work.
10. Tell me your thoughts on the Occupy Movement as it applies to small business
“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Thomas Jefferson. I believe that there is value to the movement, however, they are not representing themselves in a professional and organized way and are being dismissed. They are also lacking respect for private and public property. Is the movement still relevant? Of course, the movement is still relevant and will be for quite some time.
Tony Wilkins is the author of Telemarketing Success for small and mid-sized Firms, The Single Person’s Cookbook (www.amazon.com) and the forthcoming book Surviving the economy-Tips from small business owners from across the globe (June 2012). He is the host of the internet radio sensation Small Business Forum www.blogtalkradio.com/tonywilkins which airs Fridays at 3:30. Mr. Wilkins is a noted filmmaker of such films as The Mo Diaries (www.amazon.com) Zelma’s Spirit and Lonesome Town which was recently accepted into the SF Short Intl. Film Festival and the NYC/LA Intl film Festival. Finally he is a small business advocate and the owner of TCS Inc. specializing in business development, cold calling consulting and training (www.businessdevelopmentsolutionsintl.com ) and was recently nominated for a Small Business Advocate Award by San Francisco Small Business Network.