The Story Exchange, Ellen Didier, Red Sage CommunicationsYour Name: Ellen Didier

Business Name: Red Sage Communications, Inc., a provider of strategic marketing, web design, and graphic design

Type of Business: Marketing & PR

Business Location: Decatur, Alabama, United States

Twitter   @RedSageAL

Reason for starting
I am absolutely passionate about small businesses, and the impact they make on our economy. Small businesses have fewer resources than large corporations and require a great deal of skill and luck to grow and succeed. I wanted to provide services that would help small businesses grow and succeed through effective marketing, lead generating websites, clear branding, and engaging social media practices. The services my company provides help small businesses plan how to most effectively use their marketing dollars to reach their various target markets and generate leads. At the end of the day, we help small business owners increase their odds of success by helping them stand out in a crowded marketplace through great marketing.

How do you define success?
Success to me isn’t about monetary gain. Success to me is following a dream, making a difference in the lives of those you live with and work with, and maintaining balance between all of the roles in your life. If I can run a profitable business that helps my family live, creates stable and good paying jobs for employees so their families can live, and allow plenty of work/life balance so I can spend the time I want to with my family enjoying life and giving back to my community, then I have been successful.

Biggest Success
I consider my biggest success in business to be establishing a stable business that has grown and succeeded throughout a time of massive industry change in a very challenging economic environment. The marketing industry is going through a period of disruptive change due to the advent of social media and impact of mobile devices, among other things. Many marketing firms have gone out of business because of the difficulty in keeping up with the changes in our industry. I am very proud of establishing a company that has not only kept pace with this change, but has grown.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge is keeping up with the fast pace of change in my industry. My job would be easy if all we did was build websites and design pretty logos and print materials. It is very challenging to drive traffic to websites, when the rules by Google and others keep changing. It is hard to keep up with the nearly weekly changes in social media platforms and the introduction of new platforms. It is hard to keep websites secure when dealing with an increasing volume of website attacks by black hat SEO companies and other hackers. It is hard to make sure every tool we provide can be accessed by a wide range of digital devices that change regularly. To keep up with all of these changes, I have established a highly collaborative environment at Red Sage where employees are encouraged to monitor industry changes and share their ideas with our team regularly. We have learned to react quickly.

Who is your most important role model?
I can’t point to a single role model. My husband’s calm objectivity when determining approaches to situations and my mother’s lesson that I am a part of a bigger world that I need to give back to are my top two role models. I also depend on and look up to many of my friends who own businesses and share thoughts and lessons with me.