To see the FULL list of SBA Finalists, click here.
1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
Bow Tie Strategies started by chance. What was supposed to be a simple gathering of friends catching up over dinner and drinks, turned into an event for approximately 1,500 people; a parade through downtown Leesburg; local, county and state proclamations being read on the Loudoun County courthouse steps; and a fundraiser afterward at Shenanigans that raised almost $5,000 for wounded veterans. This event and gathering was supposed to be a one time thing. Until a lady asked me if I ever did consulting work andproceeded to hand me her business card. At the time, she was the president of an advertising agency that represented Middleburg Bank. The advertising agency was seeking a local person to help organize and promote Middleburg Bank’s 90th Anniversary celebration. Needless to say, Middleburg Bank became the first official client of Bow Tie Strategies, and my company has grown exponentially since.
Since launching Bow Tie Strategies in 2012, we have stayed true to being a public relations firm. However, we have added a government relations and lobbying option to prospective clients. We kept receiving phone calls for government relations and lobbying work and quickly realized there must be a need that is not being met for people to keep contacting us. Listening to the demand of the region, Bow Tie Strategies brought on a Government Relations Specialist that handles government relations and lobbying work for the firm to help meet the needs of prospective and current clients.
Since 2012, the company has doubled it’s revenue year over year. If projections remain on target for 2016, then the company will do 80% better than 2015. We continue to give back to community by donating 15-20% of net profits to nonprofits in Loudoun County; in 2015 we provided over 300 hours of in-kind services to local nonprofits that need the services of Bow Tie Strategies, but couldn’t afford the investment. Those saved dollars could be redirected back toward their mission.
In 2016, we launched The Bow Tie Fund, which is a scholarship program/fund that benefits any high school senior that comes from a single parent home and wishes to further their college education.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
It would mean that all of the hard work, long hours, failures, wins, relationships gained, and tears cried, all would be recognized. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but I would rather work 60 hours a week doing something I love, than working 40 hours a week stuck behind a desk doing something I hate.
3. If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing?
I would still be in Public Relations. I love hearing people’s stories and figuring out a way I can help them tell that story to the masses.
4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
Currently reading: “Rock Bottom to Rock Star” by Ryan Blair
Favorite Book: “Tuesday’s with Morrie” by Mitch Albom.
5. What is your favorite app (computer/phone)?
Facebook – I’m always tuned in for my own personal pleasure and for my clients.
6. If you have 24 hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
Veg on the couch. I never take time for myself.
7. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
Dixie – my 7 year old pug. She knows me too well, especially when it’s time to take a break, or in her case, when it’s time for a treat.
8. What did you want to be when you grew up? / What was a childhood dream that you had?
I wanted to be a doctor. I’ve always loved helping people. I’m not healing people in the traditional sense in my business, but I am helping people. And, I wanted a white cow – don’t ask me why, but I wanted a white cow. Luckily, when we moved to a different neighborhood in Leesburg, there was a farm that was adjacent to the house and there was a white cow that would visit me.
9. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
Two different people — My mother for always telling me to “be willing to fail,” and Stilson Greene for demonstrating what it means to be a small business owner with integrity in Leesburg.
10. What is your favorite thing about living/running a business in Loudoun County?
The people. We are very fortunate to live in a true melting pot of demographics in Loudoun. I can visit a new business everyday and learn something culturally different that will influence how I run and operate my business. And, there are not too many places in Virginia that a person can visit a Fortune 500 company and an agricultural business in the same day.
Thanks, Rusty Foster, of Bow Tie Stratgegies, and congratulations on your nomination!
Click here to see all of the “Meet the Finalists” posts.
We will be continually posting them as the event approaches.
The 22nd Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards is Friday, November 4th! Register Here