This inspiring story is of a rising startup called SMARK started by Amber Payden. SMARK’s objective is to take the confusion out of starting a business, and bringing more clarity and education to companies and brands. Here is the story of SMARK in Amber’s own words.

Introduce us to the idea of SMARK?

SMARK is an integrated business and creative services marketplace, that covers 10 Key Areas of Business to help companies create, learn, and build sustainable brands. We do that by offering on-demand services at a fixed rate, that are affordable, interactive, and streamlined.

At SMARK, we believe small businesses drive innovation, creativity, and economic independence.  Our country was built on the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and that tenacity embodies the American dream to this day. 

Whether your company is just getting off the ground or trying to expand to new markets, SMARK has the resources, tools, and expertise to guide your vision to the next level.  

What’s your strategy story? What led you to start SMARK?

I owned a marketing agency for 2 years after I left corporate. Going into my third year, I became very frustrated with small businesses for a few reasons, lack of money to pay for their services and a low education around what it means to have a business. Because of these issues, I was unable to always pay my freelancers or other bills waiting for clients to pay – I couldn’t take it anymore.

Since that time, I figured that there had to be something I could do to service small businesses, help creatives and consultants, and still have a thriving business. So I spent the next 3 years working to perfect an ecosystem, where everyone wins – and people are empowered to do better all around.

I figured I could show them how to market, develop, and understand the business better vs continuing to tell them. And that’s essentially where SMARK came from. We currently have around 12 products that we plan to roll out, Our current product offerings are the 3 day and 3-hour Virtual Workshops, which are live, interactive workshops run by subject matter experts from around the United States and other parts of the world!

I believed this would be the best way to introduce SMARK to the World. – It starts companies somewhere, without having to go to so many different outlets to get information to create or build their business.

What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at SMARK?

Because our name is SMARK which means SMARKETING [sales and marketing integration] that is what we do. We have a full content marketing team and other business development team members that work continually to build out, sell, and market the brand and our products. We have around 7 tactics of Marketing and Sales that we are incorporating as we head into January to promote our first 2 products.

Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?

I initially wanted to have multiple partners and co-founders when I started the company. So I brought on multiple people to continue to build out the company, the culture, and drive initial revenue. It hurt me immensely – I learned a lot about people and equity and what it could cost when you add too many people at the early stages of a business.

From that mistake, I had to pivot fast and figure out what would be the best approach to launch SMARK now – it cost me money and time. I would highly advise anyone starting a company to try their best to do it with yourself or with one other person. Partnerships are difficult, and from my experience rarely last. Especially if it was initially your idea.

Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?

Time. Time is so important. Take your time, but don’t waste time. Spend Time on things outside of business, find time for love, for yourself, for your faith. Understand exactly how you want entrepreneurship to impact your life and what type of entrepreneur you want to be.

Put clear personal & professional goals in place. Write them down, and revisit them. Because this is not for the faint at heart. It takes grit if you don’t give time and take time for all things. Entrepreneurship can drain you, and you can easily get lost in your ambitions, and spending time with others and having a balanced life is so important. Because one thing you surely can’t get back is time.

Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.

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