Click Canyon, a digital marketing company, was founded in 2009 by the husband-and-wife team of Deanna and Brent Doane. Both employed in marketing and public affairs at the time, they decided to join forces. Wanting to create a name that people would remember, they were inspired on a trip to the Grand Canyon. The inspiration came from being reminded of why they would work hard – to be able to visit one of their favorite places again and again. Thinking it over, they came up with Click - for the mouse click and Canyon - symbolizing the vast canyon of the world wide web and as mentioned, one of their favorite places on earth!
At the time, a large number of individuals “practicing” digital marketing and web design operated out of their basement. These cellar practitioners often lacked business experience and would frequently just disappear or move on to something else. The small businesses who worked with these firms were left in a challenging position, trying to navigate their digital footprint. The Doanes realized there was a need for digital marketing services that combined both business experience and personalized customer service to help small businesses grow. In addition, many companies working in the web design space had a strong technical background, but little practical business experience. With strong foundations in many areas of business, the Doanes sought to approach digital marketing not only from a perspective of what can technology do but also from the perspective of how technology can be used to solve a business challenge in sales and marketing.
The Path to Success
Click Canyon started to experience a path to success as it gained returning customers. Other signals included engaging with its developers on a flat monthly fee rather than paying them on an hourly rate as well as the web design and development business growing to the point where developers needed to be available on a full-time basis.
Approximately two years after starting Click Canyon, the decision was made to have Deanna leave her part-time job so that she could work full-time within the business. Following this, their office was relocated to a leased office space. This move made a real difference in the growth of Click Canyon as it gave the company a more established and professional appearance. Additionally, it gave the Doanes a working environment that allowed them to focus on their business and customers and minimize daily distractions associated with a home office. Another major milestone was when the company hired a part-time team member to assist with client interaction and increased workload.
The pandemic brought a mix of challenges. Clients that were engaged for digital marketing services on a monthly basis were beginning to feel the effects of the pandemic slowing their growth. Click Canyon responded by voluntarily lowering its fees and cutting back on provided services. Clients were still active and present online but not as much as in the past. On the plus side, the pandemic brought about an increase in website development work. Businesses that had been neglecting their websites were now beginning to pay attention since day-to-day business had slowed considerably.
How SCORE Helped
Two SCORE mentors, John Davis and Larry Malcolm have worked with Click Canyon since 2017 to help them grow their business and address key issues. Originally, they met with them about every two months but now operate more like an advisory group, meeting once a quarter unless there is something pressing to discuss. Per the Doanes, “Our mentors have been a sounding board to help Click Canyon make major decisions and hold us accountable. They have emphasized the importance of focusing on revenue… and help us to avoid getting caught up in handling our existing business and not looking for ways to fill the pipeline. They also guided us through the challenges of hiring our first employee. Throughout this process, they emphasized that it can be difficult to hand off work but that it must be done. That it’s not easy to just do it yourself. They were also instrumental in recommending that we seek office space so that we could grow. As noted earlier, this had a real positive impact on the business.”
Today, the business has rebounded from 2020, with increased revenues that are exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Click Canyon is well situated for growth as they have a part-time employee, sustained relationships with key contractors, and the means to acquire and onboard additional employees which will be essential to reach business goals. The Doanes pride themselves on the relationships they have built with their employee, contractors, and clients and the large number of referrals that come in for website design and development work. Looking ahead to the future, Click Canyon seeks to not only grow its footprint in the Philly Main Line area but to expand operations in other cities. Outside of the Main Line region, Click Canyon is presently working with clients in Kansas City, San Francisco, and Lexington, KY.
Paying it Forward
The Doanes are very community oriented and volunteer in many activities locally. They are happy to share their key lessons learned with others:
- “Find a mentor(s) or advisor that you can trust and serve as a resource to bounce ideas off and to help you maintain focus…Don’t go it alone”
- “Our advisors have urged us to continually – Keep the main thing, the main thing, and Revenue, Revenue, Revenue.”
- “Mistakes are never as bad as you think they are”
- “Be solid on pricing. Know your value and be confident in your value”
- “Be ready to network”
- “Take time to work on your business verus in your business”