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Kennette helps small businesses get in focus

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Kennette Burgess, chief executive officer of Focus Marketing & Development Solutions (Photograph supplied)
Kennette Burgess, chief executive officer of Focus Marketing & Development Solutions (Photograph supplied)
Kennette Burgess, chief executive officer of Focus Marketing & Development Solutions (Photograph supplied)

For years, strategic marketer Kennette Burgess preached preparedness to her clients.

Develop your social media presence, said Ms Burgess, owner of Focus Marketing and Development Solutions. Learn how to live stream.

When the pandemic hit a year ago, the clients who listened, were prepared.

“I’m a ‘down the road and around the corner’ forward thinker,” she said. “One of my big clients is a local church in North Carolina. For years, I encouraged them to get live streaming and social media sorted out. When the pandemic came they were ready and were able to keep preaching and teaching.”

It was a similar story with Northshore Medical & Aesthetics Centre. When she helped the Devonshire clinic to launch eight years ago, she emphasised the importance of social media and website marketing.

“When the pandemic happened, Northshore Medical was easily able to transition from in-person doctors to seeing physicians virtually,” she said. “They are still doing that for some patients.”

Ms Burgess is a Bermudian, living in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I have about sixty clients globally,” she said. “About half of them are in Bermuda.”

She moved to North Carolina after graduating from college, intending to get a few years of overseas work experience before returning home. But her work as an international product marketing manager at Shop.com, went so well, she ended up living in North Carolina permanently. She set up Focus five years ago and ran it part-time.

"I started Focus because I thought that Bermuda was a little behind when it came to things like technology and web payments,“ she said.

She works with her Bermuda clients virtually.

“In this pandemic companies are optimising their virtual workplace,” she said. “There is Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, Whatsapp. As a marketer I don’t have to be in your face. If you have a business in the United Kingdom or Africa, there is nothing stopping me from helping you. It is virtual. Some things call for in-person, but not everything.”

Last November, she resigned from the company to dedicate herself completely to her own business.

Many of her clients, most of them female, need help getting their business ideas off the ground.

“A lot of people are now realising that their employer may not care about them as much as they thought they did, whether they had great performances, sales and reviews or not,” Ms Burgess said. “When it comes down to a pandemic or a recession, or anything like that, the company comes first. Since the pandemic, a lot of people have lost jobs or been made redundant. They may have got their salaries decreased, and as a result, deflected to starting a business.”

Her clients need help with everything from pricing their products and services to creating a logo, and a social media presence.

Some of the people who come to her already have businesses, but need help growing them.

“They come to me so they can increase their revenue,” she said.

Some of her clients want to start a business, but don’t know which arena to go into. She does business coaching to help them figure out their strengths, weaknesses and interests.

She also designs websites and logos, does project management and product launches and runs a clothing brand, Distinct Apparel. Her goal is to build an empire, hire a staff, and retire early.

“My biggest challenge is assessing the next steps, as far as where I need to go and be,” she said. “I am having to revamp and strategise myself.”

But she is proud that she is doing what she set out to do, start a business that is now full-time.

“I am accomplishing my own goals, and I am helping other entrepreneurs reach their dreams. That is my purpose.”

Her target clients are small businesses, minorities and female business entrepreneurs.

“There is a big need,” she said. “I have seen my people struggle, especially people who look like me. Black people in Bermuda have struggled a lot. I have realised that people need the help.”

Last year, she was first runner-up for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s female entrepreneur of the year award.

For more information see getwithfocus.com/who-we-are.php, call 1-336-355-1059 or e-mail kennette@getwithfocus.com.

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Published June 28, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 29, 2021 at 8:04 am)

Kennette helps small businesses get in focus

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