Anyone who has ever started a new business knows all too well that the bootstrapping phase of the launch translates into a lot of work and very little capital. Those gutsy enough to start something of their own soon learn that every hat—HR, accountant, strategist, marketer—is theirs to wear. But most people aren’t blessed with such a multi-faceted skill set. So, that’s where Full Sail Internet Marketing Master’s grad Shelley Wolff comes in.
“Our company helps start-ups and early stage companies build a strong foundation – in Marketing and Finance,” says Shelley, who launched the Michigan-based company PlumDiggity with her husband, Allen, three years ago. “A typical engagement will last about six months in the roles of interim Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer.”
During that time, PlumDiggity helps the company – usually a tech start-up – create a marketing plan, financial model, and establish best practices. “We make sure they have the tools necessary to continue to grow upon our exit from day-to-day operations. This includes a brand book to use as a guide for internal and external messaging and presentations. It identifies the brand’s elements (promise, position, personality, story, and associations) and asset guidelines,” says Shelley, who has worked in sales and marketing for over 20 years.
The Wolffs also provide a market analysis and financial model, both of which begin to ready the start-up to make strong pitches to potential investors.
“We’re helping start-ups prepare for investment opportunities and scalable growth. We know that if they don’t make their company marketable, it will be very hard to take the idea to the next level,” Shelley says. “We do the research to add clarity in their messaging.”
Ironically, Shelley finds that many start-ups overlook marketing in the growth phase, something she thinks can be fatal. “Without a solid identity, it’s very hard to sell someone in five minutes on what you do and how you’ll create a return on their investment.”
“If you can identify a need in the marketplace that the company addresses, develop key messaging around the market needs, and tell a compelling story, a company has a much stronger chance at success,” she says. “There are a lot of great ideas out there, but it takes discipline and a strong foundation to get those ideas to grow into successes. It’s exciting to watch a great idea become something spectacular and know you played a hand in its development.”