Why I’m Starting Abound Digital

Going smaller feels so much bigger

This post is different than the marketing strategy and tactical ideas you’ll generally find here - look at older posts to see something more typical.

But right now I’m making some major changes and I want to talk a bit about why.

This month I’m launching Abound Digital. Abound will help clients develop and execute their digital marketing plans - focusing largely on content strategy. This is the most excited I’ve ever been in my career - and it’s probably the scariest moment as well. Yet, I haven’t a doubt that it’s the right move.

Here is what has me so inspired and ready to take the risk.

A Focus on Community

My strongest motivation comes from the communities I’ll serve. In terms of my local community, I have a deep attachment to Mystic/Stonington, where Abound Digital will be based. Though I haven’t lived here full time since high school, I’ve always returned frequently and hoped for this time when I’d return permanently.

This town has been home to my family since the 1640’s. For generations my family has lent support to, and been supported by, this community - I hope my wife and I, our kids, their kids and beyond have the same opportunity.

And that sense of community doesn’t stop with my local community. I feel connected to Connecticut, to New England, to the country. I feel connected to the small business community, other entrepreneurs, other families - other people that have similar goals, dreams and challenges. I know I’ll do my best work when it serves those people.

I believe a community’s ability to thrive relies on the success of it’s small-mid sized businesses and nonprofits. For decades, it’s been getting more and more difficult for them to challenge larger competitors.

But the opportunity is here to reverse that trend if we can take advantage of the changing landscape.

The Diminishing Advantage of Large Businesses

People buy when they perceive greater value from one product or service than the others. They are generally happy to pay more if they are convinced they’ll get more value. You don’t buy the least expensive house in town, drive a Nissan Versa (probably) or eat every meal from the dollar menu (hopefully).

But people must be convinced the value is there to pay more. If they don’t perceive a difference in value - commoditization - they choose solely on price.

That gave bigger companies a tremendous advantage when the methods for communicating were more limited and expensive. Big companies could afford to advertise heavily and overwhelm people with the message that their brand offered the best value. It often wasn’t true, but small companies simply didn’t have the means to communicate their superior value - leading to price-focused decisions. When price is the driver, the bigger company will always win.

That advantage has melted as changes in technology have democratized the ability to communicate with customers. Small businesses and organizations that adapt with the circumstances have a huge opportunity if they know how to seize it - and I can help them.

Opportunity for the Little Guy

It has never been more possible or affordable to tell your story and build relationships at scale. Small companies and organizations can reach a highly targeted audience and communicate why they are uniquely positioned to solve that group’s specific problem.

Most businesses and organizations already have nearly everything they need to reach their target audience more successfully. The key ingredients are just some combination of passion, expertise, personality and teamwork - which is usually already there.

The missing piece tends to be a strategy to harness those existing assets to build trusting relationships with customers. That’s my wheelhouse.

I’m really excited to help great businesses reach their ideal customers in a more meaningful and scalable way - to help them show their value and establish their expertise at all stages of the buying process.

The opportunity to help these small businesses and organizations is an opportunity to help the communities they serve - that’s why I’m excited.

New Relationships - New Opportunities

The other part I’m most looking forward to is the relationships I’ll build along the way.

Even at these earliest stages, I’m already getting a taste of how valuable and fulfilling these new relationships will be. I’m meeting entrepreneurs and operators in all different industries and the enthusiasm is infectious.

Just telling people that I’m taking this risk seems to encourage them to talk about their own entrepreneurial dreams, plans, and struggles. I’m learning from them and they from me. I’m feeding off the enthusiasm in a way I hadn’t fully expected.

While I’m 100% focused on launching Abound right now, I can’t help but think about future possibilities as well. What other opportunities will arrive through the relationships I develop while building Abound? What chances to invest time, expertise and money in other businesses or community organizations will surface?

The future could go in so many different directions - I’m just excited for the process of getting there! ...Plus, a little part of me hopes doing what I love will make me filthy rich in the end. Haha. But I want to do it either way.