Balance­l­ogic works to part­ner with small busi­nesses

Wal­dorf firm has been help­ing com­pa­nies grow since 2004

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DARWIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

Balance­l­ogic is not your av­er­age com­pany, or so says its founder and CEO Bill Camp­bell.

“One of our slo­gans, or mot­tos, is ‘We are not your av­er­age com­pany. We are not a ven­dor, we are your part­ner,’” the en­er­getic for­mer Marine said of the small busi­ness ser­vices com­pany lo­cated in Wal­dorf. “When we work with a small busi­ness, it’s usu­ally for the long term. We want to create a part­ner­ship with them, we want to be a part of their busi­ness.”

The types of sup­port ser­vices range from logo de­sign and brand­ing to in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy ad­min­is­tra­tion and web­site de­sign to book­keep­ing and mar­ket­ing, and what­ever else a small busi­ness needs help with, right down to phone sys­tems.

“All small busi­nesses need these ser­vices to main­tain and grow,” Camp­bell said. “So that’s what we do, we pro­vide all those ser­vices — full ser­vice man­aged IT, full ser­vice mar­ket­ing, full ser­vice graphic and web de­sign, book­keep­ing ser­vices, phone sys­tems, the whole gamut.”

Af­ter nine years in the Marine Corps, Camp­bell spent time in govern­ment con­tract­ing, start­ing and sell­ing a busi­ness and even­tu­ally tak­ing a job as a chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based con­tract­ing com­pany with a com­fort­able salary.

“Af­ter that, I de­cided, ‘Hey, I’ve got this [busi­ness] model in my head and I’m go­ing to take the jump,’” he said. “I came from a six-fig­ure in­come and took the plunge. That was in 2004.”

His small busi­ness has pro­vided nuts-and-bolts busi­ness ser­vices for more than 450 clients in the last 12 years with a hand­ful of cre­ative em­ploy­ees, cus­tom de­sign­ing lo­gos, web­sites and de­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing mar­ket­ing plans and brand­ing strate­gies.

“Ninety per­cent of our busi­ness is re­turn busi­ness,” he said. “We spe­cial­ize in small busi­nesses, that’s all we do.”

The def­i­ni­tion of a small busi­ness means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, Camp­bell said, but his com­pany’s def­i­ni­tion is a busi­ness with “zero to $40 mil­lion in rev­enue,” up to 200 em­ploy­ees or, for IT ad­min­is­tra­tion pur­poses, less than 300 com­put­ers.

Balance­l­ogic’s clients are all over Mary­land and North­ern Vir­ginia with a heavy con­cen­tra­tion in South­ern Mary­land.

“I say this con­fi­dently, not to be cocky, but con­fi­dently, that I don’t think there’s a mar­ket­ing com­pany or web de­sign com­pany in a 100-mile ra­dius that can touch us,” Camp­bell said.

His firm re­cently com­pleted a web­site and on­line soft­ware for Alar­isPro, an un­manned air­craft sys­tems fleet man­age­ment com­pany in St. Mary’s County, and re­cently re­ceived the goa­head to be­gin phase two of that project, Camp­bell said.

“We went to New Or­leans and helped [Alar­isPro founder Tony Puc­cia­rella] de­but this to the world at a big con­fer­ence called AUVSI, which is the As­so­ci­a­tion for Un­manned Ve­hi­cle Sys­tems In­ter­na­tional,” he said. “We had lines and lines to the booth. Peo­ple were blown away by what it can do. It’s amaz­ing.”

While de­sign­ing web­sites and lo­gos from scratch are a big part of his busi­ness, Camp­bell said it’s usu­ally in the area of mar­ket­ing where most small busi­nesses need help — specif­i­cally with de­vel­op­ing mar­ket­ing plans and keep­ing them up­dated.

“Ad­ver­tis­ing is not mar- ket­ing, it’s one very small part,” he said. “Just like a logo is just one part of your en­tire brand iden­tity. If you sur­vey all the small busi­nesses, maybe 10 per­cent, and that’s stretch­ing it, have even heard of a mar­ket­ing plan, or have put forth an ef­fort for a mar­ket­ing plan.

“When I talk to clients, mar­ket­ing plans are ac­tu­ally more im­por­tant than a busi­ness plan,” he added. “A busi­ness plan, you usu­ally put it to­gether be­cause you need fi­nanc­ing or a loan or what­ever it may be, then you put it away once it’s done. Your mar­ket­ing plan, you have to fol­low con­stantly. It’s chang­ing all the time depend­ing on what the mar­ket is. It’s very, very im­por­tant.”

Lisa Crea­son, a pro­gram as­sis­tant at the Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter at the Col- lege of South­ern Mary­land, vis­ited Balance­l­ogic dur­ing its open house last week and echoed a point Camp­bell made about the ne­ces­sity of small busi­ness own­ers in­vest­ing in their busi­nesses even if they think they can’t af­ford it.

“Here’s an­other cliché: Peo­ple will say they can­not af­ford the ser­vice. How­ever, the truth is, you prob­a­bly can­not af­ford not to do the part­ner­ship,” Crea­son said.

Camp­bell says his cus­tom-tai­lored ser­vices usu­ally cost as much as 30 per­cent less than his ma­jor com­peti­tors, and that his clients get a part­ner rather than just a ser­vice provider.

“Do what you’re good at, use your ex­pe­ri­ence to run your com­pany, what­ever it may be, and let us help you — part­ner with us,” Camp­bell said. “We can han­dle ev­ery­thing else. We want to un­der­stand their busi­ness and help them grow. It’s re­ally about build­ing re­la­tion­ships.”

Be­gin­ning in Jan­uar y, Camp­bell said he’s re-start­ing his free “Breakfast with Balance­l­ogic” classes which are held 8 to 9:30 a.m. and in­clude a talk on im­por­tant small busi­ness top­ics.

“It was very suc­cess­ful last year,” he said. “Our event is free, and I pro­vide a catered breakfast.”

Dates and top­ics will be posted to the com­pany’s Face­book page as they are sched­uled at www.face­book.com/Balance­L­ogic.

STAFF PHOTO BY DARWIN WEIGEL

Bill Camp­bell, CEO of Balance­l­ogic in Wal­dorf, poses by “Logi,” a char­ac­ter rep­re­sent­ing the firm he founded in 2004.

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