Navigating Business Growth with KDE’s Tony Brown

Today’s episode of the Kanawha Valley Hustlers is with Tony Brown from KDE Technology. Tony’s hustle involves offering business support services, from digital design of websites, graphics, and logos to marketing, anything that helps businesses in Charleston and West Virginia thrive.

Tony is excited about their new space at 111 Hale Street. It’s 1600 square feet with five rooms, equipped with various tools like a t-shirt press to support local businesses. They offer co-working space and actual office space for rent. They host a monthly 2600 Hacker Quarterly event, the only official one in the state, along with art events and other community activities aimed at improving the local economy and business landscape.

Tony’s story is inspiring. KDE Technology started seven years ago with just two people and has grown to a team of ten. Building a business takes time and effort, and Tony emphasizes that their success didn’t come overnight. It’s been a grind, but they’re proud of their achievements. Tony highlights the contributions of their dedicated team members, including Bri Greenlee, the office manager, and Elizabeth Bailey, the social media coordinator. Tony and his three partners meet weekly to brainstorm, work on projects, and enjoy some whiskey together.

Tony shares insights on what it takes to develop and grow a business. Many businesses in West Virginia excel at their trade but struggle with the business side of things. They may not know much about marketing, branding, or payroll, which are critical for success in 2024. Tony and his team focus on these areas, helping businesses manage day-to-day operations and navigate the complexities of the modern business environment.

Being visible in today’s saturated market is challenging. Tony acknowledges that people are bombarded with ads, making it hard to stand out. Effective marketing requires a clear target. We talk about the Rule of Seven, a marketing idea that suggests people need to hear or see a brand seven times before recognizing it. However, this rule dates back to the 1920s. Today, it takes far more interactions to break through the noise. Tony estimates it takes about 25 contacts for a brand to make an impact. KDE’s branding is omnipresent – from their office on Hale Street to Tony’s branded shoes.

Tony also talks about their co-op space and business incubator initiatives. The co-op space offers office facilities and training, with a focus on business and marketing strategies relevant to West Virginia. The business incubator is a more ambitious project aimed at providing a comprehensive program to support new businesses. This includes setting up digital footprints, managing payroll, establishing networks, and more. They plan to conduct regular training sessions and provide all the necessary tools to help businesses start and grow successfully.

As we wrap up, Tony shares how people can reach out to KDE. The best way is through their website, https://kde.technology/, where they can fill out a contact form. Tony typically responds within an hour.

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