Red Rocket Media Group, one of northern Colorado’s fastest growing marketing and web development companies will celebrate its tenth anniversary this June. A notable anniversary, the tenth never even arrives for most small businesses. According to the United States Small Business Administration, fewer than 31% of all small businesses ever survive to even the seven year mark. “This is a big anniversary for a small business,” says Julie Piepho, a business coach and President of Milestone Leadership Consulting. “It is definitely something to brag about because it means you’ve beaten out 98% of all of the other businesses who couldn’t survive.”
Red Rocket Media Group opened its doors in June of 1999. A one-person-shop at the time, the firm was run by owner Chadd Bryant, a graphic artist by trade. He says he started the company because he has a passion for helping small businesses. Back then, Bryant says, he worked hard to stay afloat, facing the many challenges of any new small business. From 80-hour work weeks to cash flow concerns, Bryant struggled to weather the storm as the sole employee and owner. He smiles when he recalls his rather small annual company “holiday party” attended only by him and his faithful cat, Snazzy. His biggest focus early on was logo development, ads and direct mail campaigns. But since then, times have changed and so has the marketing business, in general.
Today, Red Rocket’s specialty has evolved to a much higher-tech focus. The company now is known in northern Colorado for its creative web design and highly effective search engine optimization, a term most people still don’t understand. “Search engine optimization is the most important part of developing your new website. You can have a really cool looking design or very expensive banner ads, but nobody will ever see your site if it is not optimized,” says Bryant. “Optimization refers to the many technical tricks and techniques that get your website to the top of the rankings. Getting to the top means lots of people seeing your site.”
The company also has become a leader in marketing using social media. While many marketing companies are still relying solely on clever design or more traditional marketing methods, Red Rocket now focuses a great deal of time and energy into cutting-edge techniques to reach their clients’ customers like Twitter, blogging and PURL’s.
Not only has the marketing business changed in the past ten years, so has Red Rocket’s size. Now seven employees strong and having survived the Windsor Tornado in 2008, the business is now co-owned by Bryant’s wife, Jennifer. Jennifer Bryant, who is also trained in art and design, runs the company’s sales division and manages the day-to-day running of the business.
Red Rocket’s client list has continued to grow as the years have passed, with names like Platte Valley Medical Center, CB&Potts and TST Engineers joining the ranks. “Red Rocket Media Group is one of our strongest vendor relationships… Whenever we have had anything that required any form of consultation, Red Rocket has been strong in interpreting our wants and needs. Michelle Hoffert of Flood and Peterson explains. “Their ability to create a design or solution for Flood and Peterson that matches our character and personality is always right on target.”
And the company is growing even when others are downsizing. “We’ve begun plans to purchase a larger office and are looking forward to expanding within the next twelve months,” says Bryant.
Over the past decade, Bryant has learned a lot about owning his own small business and is looking forward to helping other businesses to succeed. His advice? “Find a marketing agency with a track record. Choose somebody who’s been around for years because you have much more assurance that they’ll be around tomorrow too. You don’t want to put money on the table for marketing only to find that the company went under over the weekend,” he says.
But despite the current worldwide economic downturn, Bryant remains optimistic. “We’ve actually seen growth in our business right now, and I attribute that largely to Red Rocket’s ever improving name within the business community,” he says. “We’re really proud of how far we’ve come and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Red Rocket in the next ten years and beyond.”