Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price spoke to Jabberhead, LLC Founder Janice Gucciardi about her startup experience.
NAN PRICE: Did you always want to own your own business?
JANICE GUCCIARDI: I did. I spent about 17 years in the marketing industry working at various high-profile businesses. In the back of my mind, I always had a yearning to start my own business. But, if you asked me 10 years ago, I didn’t know if I would physically be able to do it.
NAN: What changed?
JANICE: I was in a severe car accident, and it took a long time for me to recover. After that, I realized if I can get through that, I can start a business. Sometimes you just need to jump. For me, it was just time. I think that’s where I got the motivation to finally launch the startup. I opened in May 2016.
NAN: How did you develop the business concept?
JANICE: I decided to launch a social media business when I realized many businesses and firms weren’t marketing social media effectively. I knew I could make a difference using social media for acquisition, retention, and to help brands share their stories.
NAN: You come from a marketing background, was it challenging to write a business plan? Did you have any of that background?
JANICE: Yes, I had the experience developing business plans for several companies, as well as teaching various sales force teams how to use and market themselves with social media.
NAN: So, you felt fairly confident going in?
NAN: Tell us about the social impact mission at Jabberhead.
JANICE: Our mission is just as important as our work. Every time we get a new client we deliver four bags of groceries to a shelter in the community.
NAN: That’s fantastic. As a startup, what does being innovative mean to you?
JANICE: Being innovative as a company right now isn’t just about being a female-owned company or employing people with diverse cultures and backgrounds. To me it’s about taking it one step further to grow the business with these assets—it’s how you lead, it’s the unique qualities the people you hire bring to the table, and it’s about evolving (giving back to) your community. As simple as it sounds, giving hope is very innovative now.
NAN: What types of challenges did you encounter as you were launching the startup? Anything you weren’t expecting?
JANICE: Accounting—I can’t stand it. Seriously, hire people who can do the things you’re not strong at, so you can focus on your strengths.
NAN: Let’s talk about marketing. How are you building your clientele?
JANICE: Strictly hustle. Using digital methods, promotion, and networking. We are now at a great point of getting business recommendations as well. The hustle is never-ending when you’re a business owner, but you love every minute.
NAN: What types of companies and industries do you work with?
JANICE: Jabberhead works with businesses of all size—and different industries. We like this approach and think it makes our work more interesting. We work with many beauty businesses, such as our new client Grace Williams Hair Boutique in Avon. They want to increase traffic and came to us for our digital expertise. We are also the agency for Moms Time Out, a local television show that is becoming increasingly popular with social and publicity.
NAN: Are the businesses you work with local?
JANICE: Jabberhead has more Connecticut-based clients because this is our home base. I’d like to expand across the East Coast next.
NAN: Any other future goals?
JANICE: If you’re a business owner, you want to maintain your existing base, and continue to grow your client base. We would like to make Jabberhead a household name—by growing it nationally.
NAN: Earlier you mentioned the importance of focusing on your strengths. Any other advice for other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
JANICE: Keep it simple. Reevaluate yourself every three to five months. Hire people you know you can trust—and who trust you—and be good to them.
Also, if another entrepreneur is contemplating starting a company. I’d say go for it. There’s innovation in taking your idea and building it out into a business. You can do anything you put your mind to.
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