What Are You Working On

December 22, 2012

As the year winds down I find mysel thinking a lot about what went well, how to improve results and what I want to work on in the upcoming year. In late 2011 I became frustrated with the digital marketing business. It is full of flakes  and charlatans who peddle their wares to anyone who will listen. 

That said, this is America, the land of opportunity, everyone gets a shot at Living the Dream, right. As my frustration grew over watching the charlatans, most of whom had never ran a business spew about how to do it right, coupled with getting fired by clients (and then hired back again) who decided to have their nephew who just graduated from colleague and is unemployed do their social outreach because he understands Facebook, I decided to spend a certain portion of my time in 2012 working on start ups and projects that we held ownership interest in. That has been a hoot. Interestingly enough our Digital Marketing business has grown substantially in 2012, and one of the four start up projects, Street Eatzz has made it to market.

We are pleased as punch with this new direction.

Having one hand on the steering wheel of the company you are pouring your marketing and branding expertise into has a significant benefit. Many clients that seek marketing and branding help simply will not allow great marketing to occur, they are too afraid. It is much safer to listen to the Charlatans, who agree with their fears. The start up though is raw, and needs your ever last ounce of energy to propel forward hoping to catch some good wind before blowing up. You get to make decisions from your gut and live by the result. It really is a great and fun experience if you can build something and get it to market before running out of capital. You see, the stakes are higher, because you get to make as many mistakes as you have available capital. 

Three of the four “ideas” didn’t make it. They blew up. Two got as far as having LLC ownership paperwork drawn up, business plans and such but just didn’t get any traction. Perhaps the plug was pulled to early, partnership issues or it just wasn’t the right time. As I think about how much of our resources to devote toward new projects in 2013 I want to also build on some of what we already have. We are working on a couple of pretty cool “products” for the multifamily industry, and if they work like we think they should, and they scale then you have something to sell. 

These projects also start to work off of each other as we grow. Adding additional marketing clients allowed us  to be add a graphics designer to our staff. That adds faster creativity and helps shorten many processes, and further strengthens our companies. Our friends at Zingermans, a Community of Businesses are experts at that. If you aren’t familier with them, they are the epitome of hometown entrepreneurs doing it their way, and handsomely profitable based  on all that they give back to the community.

So what projects are you going to target for 2013?

 We plan on growing our Urbane Apartments portfolio as development opportunities increase with the recovering economy. We hope to sell lots of 313 Foodie Sauce with Street Eatzz and our list of clients at Urbane Media that decided not to fire us is growing nicely.




What we have planned for 2013

AspergersKid,org, an online reference and resource for parents with an Aspy kid, something we have some experience with. MidwestOutfitter.co, an online storefront to compliment our daughters five year old retail start up, selling all things outdoors. We are also working on Districts and Neighborhoods aimed at the multifamily industry, specifically mid sized apartment operators designed to replace the typical static apartment community web site. This apartment marketing and leasing website will incorporate hyper local articles and be everything local, similar to what Airbnb recently launched with Neighborhoods . With a fully automated web based Lead to Lease, lead collection and tracking system woven into the fabric of the site as a seamless part of the user experience, effectively managing leasing leads is easy. 

 So, best if luck on your plans and dreams, and get out there, build something, start something, you will be glad you did. 

Eric Brown

Eric’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established Urbane Media, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested. Eric has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Week Magazine. You can connect with Urbane_Media on Twitter. Eric also writes regular articles for the following publications;  Multi Housing News Social Media Examiner Search Engine Guide

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