Brad Griffith of Buckeye Interactive
Meet Brad Griffith, founder of Buckeye Interactive, a digital marketing agency.
What is Buckeye Interactive?
Buckeye Interactive is a digital marketing agency specializing in web strategy, engineering and design. We work with small businesses and web-based startups to design, develop, launch and market measurable, beautiful web experiences. In other words, we build websites and mobile apps.
How did you come up with the idea?
I started developing websites when I was 12, building a book report website for George Orwell's Animal Farm
. I was hooked immediately, and my love of software engineering has become my career.
I grew up in a family of small business owners. I worked at my dad's veterinary practice as a kid, and my aunt and uncle own a toy store. I experienced first hand how out of reach professional web design and development were for small businesses. Large agencies won't take on small projects and freelancers tend to be unreliable and inconsistent. My passion for small business combined with the lack of highly professional options for those businesses compelled me to start Buckeye Interactive to provide the highest quality custom design, development and web strategy packaged for small businesses.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
Most entrepreneurs start our businesses because we love what we do. I love working with small businesses and developing web-based software, so that's our focus. I completely underestimated the amount of time and effort needed to manage the HR and administrative sides of the business. Hiring highly talented people, providing an exceptionally fun and supportive work environment, motivating the team, and managing client expectations quickly absorbed more of my time and attention than developing websites. I truly love the business challenges as much as the technical challenges, though, so this has been an incredible learning experience.
Where did you find your first employee?
My very first hire was a high school student who is a brilliant web developer, Paul Tela. He was looking for an internship and a friend of mine asked if we would hire him. Little did I know what an asset he would be for our team! Shortly after my first hire, I brought on a Marketing Coordinator, Sarah Davis, who found our job listing on Craigslist of all places.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
Every day brings unique challenges, but most days are a combination of discussing new projects with prospective clients referred to us by existing clients and partners. We architect solutions and troubleshoot technical challenges with our development team along with an array of miscellaneous administrative work from invoicing to payroll. The best part is working with my amazing team, listening to our office Spotify playlist, having team movie and lunch day, and enjoying other great team building activities.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
In New Albany we have access to talent from Ohio State
, Capital University
, and many other Ohio colleges and universities. We also have the support of our local economic development team, TechColumbus
, the Ohio Small Business Development Center
and organically grown community groups, including TechLife and Wakeup Startup.
The entrepreneurial community is very strong here, but we still lack the venture capital found in the San Francisco Bay area. Because of the demographics we serve, the lack of capital is actually an advantage for us. Our focus on smaller projects means we have plenty of startup and small business opportunities, and our access to talent and cost of living enable us to be highly competitive with the nation's best agency talent.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
TechColumbus has been an amazing partner for us. Until recently, they offered a wide array of educational and networking events for companies like ours as well as PR opportunities and referrals from their startup pipeline. We have worked with many TechColumbus member companies, and we plan to continue working with startups seeking funding, education and guidance from the team at TechColumbus.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Some of the most amazing entrepreneurial experiences I have had were at Startup Weekend
. I started three companies at Startup Weekend, sold two of them (for pizza money, mostly), and started sponsoring the event. In short, Startup Weekend is 52 hours of intense development of a business with a team of peers assembled with no prior work together. It's been an all-around inspirational experience!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by entrepreneurs who take risks every day to pursue their passion. My dad did this with veterinary medicine, and so many of my friends, family members and colleagues have already or will soon pursue starting a small business. Whether it's a high-growth web startup or a bootstrapped mom-and-pop restaurant, the courage and strength required to make it work are inspiring.
Can you share some of your favorite off-time activities or hobbies?
Buckeye Interactive Hockey Night is always a hit. But aside from company activities, I spend every second I can with my three-year-old daughter and my wife. Having people in my life who support me unconditionally is a life-saver. Going home to my daughter who just wants to play dress up or ride her Cinderella bike to the park brings perspective to my life and priorities.
What's next for you?
Just like writing efficient code, running an efficient business is a fun and never-ending process. Buckeye Interactive has a fantastic team, and I look forward to continuing the growth of our client base. We are also working on a few of our own products that will launch in the not-so-distant future, so be on the lookout!
Interview by Joe Baur