Here is my latest column from The Times
This is such a great story. Local boy, drops out of high school gets a career track job, after a while is miserable quits, starts up a company, is near homeless and now is set to have his first million dollar sales year with his sights on fifty-million on the horizon!
Now that I have your attention let’s unpack this story. Chris Crawford of Kick Ass Media, located in Bloomfield, Ontario grew up in Wellington, went to PECI had dreams of living a rock ’n roll lifestyle didn’t finish high school and then kind of winged it.
Actually, Chris did well finding himself on an 8 1/2 year progressive career track working his way up the ladder at Staples. Near the end he was miserable in his career and thought he would start a company. His first company specialized in marketing & promotional materials for bands and musicians, 6 months later he knew his business model was broken with no revenue and a depleted bank account.
He took a job in a sign shop in Toronto and was inspired to give entrepreneurship another try. He started selling door to door and handing out flyers to get business. By 2009 he was broke again and came home to the county. Chris says being in the county makes him feel grounded and connected, it’s good for his soul and spirit. He decided if he was going to succeed he needed to study and study he did about on-line marketing and how to sell on-line. By this time Chris was pretty much homeless literally living our of a garden shed. But he never lost hope, he was focused on his vision of building a great company. Shortly thereafter he went from $20,000 per year in sales to $20,000 per month. He opened up a retail shop on main street at the top of hill in Picton and Kick Ass Media, was doing just that, kicking ass. From my interview, I concluded there are the 5 Keys to Chris’s Success, click here to download.
Chris then streamlined his business and focused on only one thing “step & repeat” backdrops. You’ve seen them they are those big sign with repetitive messages or logo’s on them at special events. Chris then got crystal clear on his target audience – marketing agencies in Toronto and invested in printing production equipment. His laser focus combined with strong on-line marketing help sky rocket his monthly sales to a recent all time high just shy of $200,000. He said instead of getting hyped up and excited that he was humbled by the achievement, what it took and was thankful for all the people on his team to help make it happen.
He expects to hit $1,000,000 in sales this year, has a target of $5,000,000 next year and $50,000,000 in the not so distant future. When I heard Chris say that, he said it with such conviction and clarity, not bravado or ego. He is grounded and spiritual in a subtle way and I have no doubt he will achieve his goals. Here are my crib notes of Chris’s 5 Keys to success.
Money is not the driving force behind Chris’s vision, its bigger than that. He wants to build a great company and a great work environment for people to enjoy, to be challenged and to grow. He currently contributes to charities and plans to do more as his company and profits grow.
Chis shared that the cost of entry essentially low rents are a real benefit of starting up here. He also said that if you look hard enough there are some very talented people looking for fulfilling and rewarding opportunities.
I really like his model. What he has done is base himself here, used new technologies, in this case on-line marketing, to build the business and essentially export his product outside the county. Toronto is becoming a smaller percentage of his market share, as he grows the rest of Canada, the U.S. the Caribbean and others markets. His client list is impressive too with brand names such as Disney, LG, The Juno’s, Free The Children and other’s. Chris expects to outgrow his newish 5000 sq. ft. facility in a few years and expects to continue to expand in the county where he is grounded, has access to quality people and global markets. See my summary of Chris’s 5 Keys to Sucess here.
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