Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katie Hakes, Owner of KK Advertising, located in Crosby, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

KK Advertising offers marketing and advertising solutions for businesses of every size across a variety of industries. We team with companies to strategize their best marketing path to reach their desired demographic. Services include designing ads and products across digital and print, implementing advertising plans, and tracking results.

Tell us about yourself

I began my career working for a venue that allowed me insight into all facets of marketing, from video production and photoshoots to self-mailers, billboards, brochures, and animated signage. Experience as part of a small ad agency then allowed me to expand my skills to a variety of markets. After my two children were born, I started KK Advertising, allowing me flexibility in both my schedule and the creative world. Our communication avenues are ever-changing, making graphic design full of new challenges and educational opportunities I love as a life-long learner. Through KK Advertising, I am able to help a business owner or community leader find a voice in an over-stimulated world, making their message simple and memorable. Many of the individuals I work with are doing amazing things in their community – advocating for domestic abuse victims, promoting positive mental health for children, or giving back to their communities by supporting special events and more. In a way, I'm blessed to feel like a small part of that change.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to support my client's needs with a full-spectrum approach to advertising. I've learned from the ground up graphic designer to marketing manager, with experience designing booklets, TikTok, and everything in between. I can also relate first-hand as a business owner, understanding the other factors that play into budget and decision-making. With KK Advertising, you get an all-in-one resource.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Often for business owners, it is identifying who their ideal client is – many say their product or service is for everyone. When in fact, you drill down your ideal client, you'll be able to focus on who is most likely to take you up on your service and where those people are.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't skimp on building your brand. Start with a logo you LOVE. Many people get caught up in expensive design services and settle for a logo they don't feel passionate about. Think of your logo as naming your baby. It's something that you want to see succeed, and changing your name or logo after a few years most often confuses customers, potentially losing a reputable following along with unnecessary time and cost put into a re-branding campaign.
  2. Find those in your company or outside resources that are the best at what they do and build your network. Not any one person excels at every facet of owning a business. Having the people you can turn to with questions, advice, or tasks will put all the wheels in motion and less weight on your shoulders. If you don't know where to start, look for a business coach or mentor that can guide you.
  3. Know your competition and the marketplace. Identify where your services or products stand out amongst the competition and who is looking for what you offer. Understand your sales funnel as a customer: awareness, interest, intent, consideration, and decision.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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