John Centofanti of Creative Stream Marketing
John Centofanti is the founder of Creative Stream Marketing
, a marketing-communications and creative agency that works with B2B, technology, and specialty retail clients. The Youngstown company offers marketing, consulting, strategy, brand messaging, content writing and development, graphic design and creative development, social media marketing, website design, content management systems, and event and trade show marketing.
Did you consider yourself an entrepreneur before you started Creative Stream?
I never considered myself an entrepreneur before Creative Stream Marketing, but I’ve always considered myself driven. I had a boss who appreciated my creativity and encouraged me in it. Starting my own business gave me the opportunity to take my creativity even further.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to make the leap into business ownership?
I had to believe I would be successful before starting, even though the circumstances were not easy. I’ve found that people who want to own their own business often want things to be just right before they take that step and that is rarely the case.
Our very first clients were former coworkers who had started their own businesses. It helped us get past the hurdle of gaining trust because we had worked together for years. I’m grateful for them.
What state or local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I met with my local chapter of SCORE, the small business counselors with the U.S. Small Business Administration. They provided valuable advice to me early on that helped me understand how to establish my business and grow it.
What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?
Having more ideas than time to execute them.
What do you find most rewarding?
Our clients are all over the country. It’s been rewarding to build relationships with a variety of people and to learn from my clients as well.
What has contributed most to your growth?
Referrals. I’m thankful that the majority of our business is from referrals. I don’t take that lightly, and work hard to deliver great service.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
I admire my former boss, Larry Hendricks. I worked for him at two different businesses he owned (Rainbow Rentals and Custom Direct, LLC). I admire him because he helped me discover my own talents and taught me how to leverage those to move forward.
Writer: Val Prevish