Number of employees and growing
Weeks of paid parental leave
Vacation policy, including a mandatory 5-consecutive day vacation
After more than a decade of working in the public sector, Kate Snyder decided to transition into self-employment as a freelance public relations consultant. Within a few months, she realized there was more demand than she could keep up with on her own. She had to decide, start saying “NO” to potential customers or transform her consulting business into a public relations agency that included additional staff to keep up with the work.
How the SBDC helped
Kate began working with the Michigan SBDC shortly before the launch of her consulting business. She wanted to ensure that no matter how small her efforts were that the business was set up properly. With the guidance of the Michigan SBDC, she learned about the difference in legal structures and was walked through the process of setting up her Limited Liability Company (LLC). Kate also received support with recordkeeping and documentation, understanding how to separate personal and business financials, and building a business plan.
Within a year of working with the Michigan SBDC, Kate moved her home-based office to a small office that was part of an incubator program and hired her first employees – one part-time employee and two student workers. In April 2013, she transitioned from the consulting brand to an agency. The following year Kate relocated to a larger office space. Since then she has consistently grown her team to add five additional employees.
Kate Snyder never intended to start a business. She refers to herself as an “accidental entrepreneur”. She took her role as a public servant seriously and was proud of the work she was doing. But after more than a decade in the public sector decided a change was needed. After leaving her position at Capital Area Michigan Works! in Lansing, she worked a short stint at a creative agency. Upon being laid off from there, she was determined to return to a government or higher education position.
Of course, with any job hunt it takes time. But the bills don’t stop. To cover her living expenses during this search Kate began freelancing. The projects came in easily. Every time she’d reach out to someone in her network to tell them the ideal position she was looking for they in turn would say, “that’s great but can you help me with this project.” Soon she realized she enjoyed the work but couldn’t keep up with demand.
Kate was faced with a choice. Continue to provide consulting support on her own and start saying “NO” to new projects or build a company and bring on employees to help her keep up with demand. She opted for the latter to become the Principal Strategist and Owner of Piper & Gold (P&G) Public Relations, LLC.
Even before she launched P&G, Kate began working with the Michigan SBDC to set up her consulting business properly. She knew that no matter how small or big the company grew its success was directly related to being set up properly and built on best practices.
“I reached out to the Michigan SBDC because I didn’t study business in college and wanted to learn all I could about business,” Kate said. “I knew how to run a program and organization but managing and growing a business was unfamiliar territory.”
Initially, the Michigan SBDC provided Kate with an understanding of the various legal structures and guided her through the process of completing her LLC paperwork. As the business grew and transitioned into an agency, she received support on setting up the foundation for the business that included writing a business plan, managing the financials, and implementing operational processes. She also received a list of support resources for services; such as, lawyers, accountants, tax preparers, and more.
“Working with the Michigan SBDC helped me to build a thoughtful and strategic business that I’m proud of,” shared Kate. “Their support allowed me to innovate and implement best practices quickly.”
Not only did Kate utilize the services of the Michigan SBDC but she tapped into every possible resource out there. She worked with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) to secure office space in the NEO Center incubator, utilized the benefits of being an Entrepreneurial member of the Lansing Regional Chamber, and secured talented student workers through the Small Company Internship Award Program (SCIA) of the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN).
Her hard work and determination have paid off. Kate has created a sophisticated and robust business operation that is thriving thorough utilization of best practices that meet or exceed profit margins. This success has allowed her to hire top talent while providing better than competitive salaries and dynamic benefits. She also moved the agency from the incubator space in the NEO Center to an office in Old Town Lansing, and the business has grown from a one-person operation to a staff of eight. Another sign of the company’s success is witnessing the impact made possible by their clients and community through working with them, or seeing the long list of awards the company has won.
Piper & Gold Public Relations is a community-focused company supporting the transformation of the economic and community landscape of Michigan into a thriving, vibrant place. Through innovative public relations solutions, P&G is committed to helping nonprofits, government agencies, associations, and small businesses make a difference.