By Jeanine Black – Director of marketing and PR services 

It is officially National Small Business Week, which, according to the U.S. Small Business Association, focuses on “the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

As a team made up of four members, Dot Org Solutions certainly qualifies as a small business. During this week, we are not only celebrating our accomplishments – but we are also reflecting on who we serve and why we serve them.

This is something the Dot Org Solutions team has been discussing for quite some time. In fact, earlier this year, our team participated in an off-site, half-day, strategy and planning session, during which we discussed several topics about our business. As a fairly young company, we are starting to experience real growth in revenue, number of clients, services and employees. To help smooth the transition from startup to scale up, we needed to figure out “who we are and what we do.”

In other words, after nine years of growth and development, we were finally in a position to begin to discuss the types of clients we want to serve and the type of work we want to do versus taking any and every piece of new work that came our way; i.e. we could actually start to be a little picky.

But what does that look like?

True to our name and history, we recognize that our specialty is first and foremost nonprofit organizations. We have all spent time working for or with nonprofits – more than 70 years of experience between us. Two of four members of our team had previously spent their entire careers in the nonprofit sector. Simply put, we love working for nonprofits as they try and change the world around them. Their passion, their sacrifice and their dedication are awe-inspiring and if we can help them fulfill their missions, we are all in.

By that same line of reasoning, though, there are two other types of clients that we gravitate toward – startups and small businesses. We are a startup ourselves, so we know that world firsthand. We are also located at Bounce Innovation Hub in downtown Akron, so we are surrounded by some of Akron’s coolest and most promising young companies.

What we’ve discovered, and what many people don’t realize, is that nonprofits, startups and small businesses have a lot in common, making what we do applicable to all. The problems we help nonprofits solve are very similar to those of for-profit companies just starting out or on the verge of breaking into their market.

Those problems stem from limited resources. Whether it is people, money or time, nonprofits and startups/small businesses generally don’t have enough of one or all three. Because of this, those who work in the small business world may feel overwhelmed. In fact, some important aspects of running a startup/small business, such as marketing or business development, may fall through the cracks as employees, founders and CEOs try to juggle the hardships of every-day tasks.

That’s where we come in.

We help fill gaps where resources are lacking, whether we’re helping with big picture, strategic planning; developing a brochure and business cards; or acting as a media spokesperson for the organization. We also provide a listening ear and a unique perspective for our clients – after all, we have been in their shoes.

We understand what it’s like to work with small budgets – to have to prioritize marketing initiatives based on money and the availability of people who can implement them. We’re always careful to recommend common sense strategies and tactics that are realistic, and that will yield the best possible results for the amount spent.

Yes, the lack of resources is one commonality between nonprofits and startups/small business. However, as we start to work with more startups and small businesses, we’ve observed several other similarities:

  • The ability to make a lot out of a little
  • Passion for their work and their mission
  • Willingness to make sacrifices for what they believe in
  • The ability to problem solve
  • Perseverance
  • Desire to change their world

This is why we choose to work with these types of organizations. For us, it’s not about making money. It’s about lending our experience and expertise to help someone fulfill their mission, whatever that may be.

As a small business, we know what nonprofits and startups are going through – and we are here to help. Our door is always open to new clients, and we cannot wait to work with more nonprofits, startups and small businesses in the future.