Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi-location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions also recently earned him the honor of being selected as a 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year (Rising Star), and the 2015 Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).
In this interview, Alex shares Cardinal's competitive advantage and where their expertise lies as a digital marketing agency. Alex also shares his team's role to keep himself grounded on his day to day goals. Enjoy!
His advice for entrepreneurs starting a business in Georgia:
There's a huge support network here as we're entrepreneur-friendly. Go find lots of mentors. And, Build a killer sales pipeline.
What motivated you to start Cardinal Web Solutions? How did the idea come about?
I worked with a small startup right out of college and realized that small businesses really didn’t have great options when it came to marketing companies. That made me want to go and start a marketing agency that would cater to the small business and help David beat Goliath.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
I attribute my success to the team around me – they keep me in check and stop me from making bad decisions. They ignite growth in our clients and help Cardinal grow every single day. Personally, I’m incredibly driven and extremely passionate about helping small business owners grow, which I think has helped us push through the tough times.
What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
We are actually quite niche in that we only serve multi-location businesses with search engine marketing. Over the years, we found that there were certain types of clients and service offerings we're best at so we've honed in on those and are now becoming thought leaders in Multi-Local™ marketing.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Yes, over the years we have had a couple but not many. We always do everything we can to satisfy a client, even at the expense of profit for a few months to make things right. At the end of the day, this is marketing and sometimes our projects simply don’t pan out. If that is the case, we help transition our clients to another resource that may be able to help them.
As a business owner, what is your greatest fear and how do you keep it under control or harness it?
I don’t live in fear too much. I try to see the optimistic way to get things done but I do worry a lot. I worry about revenue, client satisfaction, and most often – employee contentment.
Have you faced any failures with Cardinal Web Solutions? How did you overcome?
At the beginning of the year, we lost 30% of our revenue in 60 days which has made us become very lean and mean. We're a bit smaller now and much more of a family. It hasn’t been an easy year but we're still providing killer results for our clients and our staff is all in it together, and that makes me so happy.
Did you have a hard time starting your business? How did you handle time and resource constraints?
Heck, yes it’s hard! If it wasn’t everyone would be doing it! You find time each day to focus on what matters most in those early days – sales. One sale leads to another and eventually you hire people to help.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going, To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals?
My desire to grow the agency to 100 Cardinals. I've never given up on that goal. I'm set on providing growth for our staff and our clients and that passion will never stop.
Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Cardinal Web Solutions? If so, how did you stumble upon it?
SEO. We have grown our clients and our agency through SEO. Google has been a wonderful resource for the world and we are proud to be a part of helping consumers find great companies to work with.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business in Georgia? What do they need to know from the beginning?
- There is a huge support network here as we're entrepreneur-friendly.
- Go find lots of mentors so you will make less mistakes
- Build a killer sales pipeline