I am a Minnesota-born entrepreneur and writer/publisher who has been involved in marketing in one form or another since my first Kool-Aid stand at the age of 7. By the 5th grade, I was publishing a class newsletter. With the encouragement of my amazing parents, I then marketed hand painted t-shirts (the operative word being “marketed”) at the Minneapolis Uptown Art Fair at the age of 11. Unfortunately, I made no sales. In the 8th grade, I collaborated with 2 friends to create a school marketing company called “Core Productions.” Our logo . . . an apple with a bite out of it . . . hmmmm.
By high school, I had started my involvement in the world of audio production. I learned the ropes of audio technology by running the sound system at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. Prince of Peace was one of the first churches to worship with rock music and in alternative sites, including an outdoor movie theater and exposed me to the concept of creative problem solving. I started “Peterson Light & Sound” at the age of 18. The very first thing I did when I came up with this concept was to design a logo and print t-shirts and business cards to promote my venture. I then set up a lease that enabled me to purchase an 8-channel reel-to-reel recorder and some very expensive microphones and started recording live and “studio” recordings for local performers (thanks for the use of your basement Mom & Dad). Within a year, I teamed up with three of my mentors as a part of Sound Productions, Inc., a sound reinforcement company that provided live sound systems for mid-size to large concert venues. During this time I also had the opportunity to consult and provide audio mixing services for local broadcasters.
When baby number one (of 7) arrived, I went to work for our family-owned business, where I spent the next 26 years. Our business grew to annual revenues of over $2.2 million, with a staff of just four employees. Unfortunate banking paranoia resulting from the recession led to our company being shut down in 2010. I strongly believe that running a small business is perhaps the best possible business education that one can learn. I wore many hats in my business, as most entrepreneurs will relate with a deep sigh. Most small business owners are all too familiar with being their company’s bookkeeper, IT Manager, HR Manager, logistics expert, payroll department, Facilities Manager, purchasing agent and Marketing Director. But the responsibility that always tugged at my heart was creative marketing.
After my business shut-down, I knew it was time to take stock of my strengths and reinvent myself. In evaluating “what I wanted to be when I grow up,” it quickly became obvious to me . . . I truly believe in the power and importance of Social Media Marketing! While it was just one of my many varied responsibilities as CEO of my company, it was the most exciting to me . . . truly a new frontier and a new way of thinking about marketing. I have really come full-circle. From an ambitious 7 year-old trying to figure out how to sell more Kool-Aid to an experienced business leader who has seen and done it all. I hope you find these posts helpful in your business.
As of 8/8/2011 I have accepted the role of VP of Business Development for 3KeyLogic, an IP Telephony (VoIP) solutions provider, located in Bloomington, MN.
David James Peterson