Amanda Washburn of Rough Draft Solutions uses 3 phases of solutions to help her customers find the best marketing and communications tactics for their business.
Through strategizing, creating, and polishing, Amanda and her team help the businesses that don’t have the time or bandwidth to dedicate to creating a clear marketing message. Working with their customer, they can help them determine which marketing/communication tactics are best for their goals, create the content that will best communicate their message, and refine and polish that content in order to make it shine and effectively communicate their story to their customers.
The Problem Being Solved
Rough Draft Solutions (RDS) is there for the businesses that don’t have a marketing or communication department. They are often faced with the daunting task of understanding marketing tactics and strategies while still running their business.
“Our goal,” says Amanda, “is to help businesses refocus on providing real value to their clients through written content –whether that be through their website, blogging, a newsletter, social media, etc. We help our clients take a step back, ask them what is their goal and purpose, and create a content creation strategy that will position them to build stronger relationships and provide more value.”
These businesses are looking to improve communication between themselves and their customers and Rough Draft Solutions helps them do that.
Where the Idea Came From
While working for a variety of businesses that didn’t do a lot of marketing, Amanda began to notice that it was fairly common for small and medium-sized businesses to miss out on telling their stories because they didn’t have anyone to “do the work.” She was drawn to the idea of teaching business owners why it’s important to communicate in a way that resonates with customers, guiding them on how to do it and empowering them to be successful communicators. “I’m someone who gets frustrated with traditional marketing schemes and endless sales-pitches, and I felt a focus on authentic and engaging content could really make a difference for businesses and their customers.”
While she didn’t think she would start a business until later in her career, after working for others for a number of years, she decided there was no time like the present. Acting on that impulse, she quit her job and within a month had the business registered. She began attending networking events to get familiar with the market (as she was relatively new to Michigan) and used 2014 to lay the groundwork for the business.
Once the foundation was in place, 2015 took the business to the next level. “We were able to significantly expand our client base and even hire two part-time interns-turned-employees. We started providing regular blog posts that focus on providing value and tips in relation to content marketing.” Amanda has made sure to get involved in the community and has helped out with a variety of speaking engagements and workshops. “The journey just keeps getting more exciting!”
Opportunities and Worries
It’s becoming a well-known fact that businesses need quality content to attract quality customers.Amanda finds this, and all the different ways there are now to communicate a message, exciting. “But the challenge, ” she adds “is breaking through the sea of content and making sure your customers are seeing/reading your content. I fear that consumers are inundated with content all day long and that it will simply get harder and harder to stand out.”
The target customer for RDS is small-medium sized businesses that need help connecting with their current/potential customers and are looking for quality content. “We work with a wide variety of industries – engineering, healthcare, insurance, retail shops, etc,” says Amanda.
“These customers may need help with blogging, writing a newsletter, updating their website, internal communication, business proposals, brochures, social media, and more.”
Amanda has found that her biggest challenge has become balancing working ON the business and IN the business.
While customers always come first Amanda is also trying to focus on setting goals, refining the way she does business, simplifying processes and giving her team the best experience she can.
Amanda was a little surprised at how quickly things took off once they got their name out there. They followed a strong strategic plan and quickly landed a few key clients. “The fact is,” says Amanda, “there are a lot of solutions that consumers are looking for, businesses just have to figure out how they can add value, offer the solutions and communicate about them.”
Amanda wants to offer a comprehensive set of solutions to her customers. To do this, she is looking to grow their client base, their internship program, and eventually add project and client managers. She would also like to grow their resource base, strengthen their blog and video series, offer webinars, and offer more comprehensive marketing solutions. They are also looking to broaden their partnerships with other local businesses.
Amanda urges other entrepreneurs, “Don’t try to be everything to everyone-really understand your services by finding your unique value.”
She also adds that there will never be a perfect time to make the leap, “At some point, you just have to get started.” And once you start, don’t be too hard on yourself. “Most of us feel like we don’t know what we are doing, and that’s okay. If you know you can positively impact the lives of others and you have a real solution, you will be okay.”