Success Story: 19 IDEAS
Katie Krawczyk didn’t always aspire to open and operate her own business. Fifteen years into her career, with the support of the Buffalo community and her business partner and husband, she founded the integrated communications agency, 19 IDEAS. The company offers creative solutions in the fields of marketing, public relations, design, and web and software development. Katie’s quest for financing to grow her business led her to ultimately partner with Excelsior Growth Fund and, subsequently, New York Business Development Corporation to help spearhead her company to success.
Prior to starting 19 IDEAS in 2011, Katie held a variety of roles in the marketing and communications departments of other businesses. Once she decided to go out on her own, she didn’t anticipate turning her new venture into an agency until an increase in demand called for additional help. Eighteen months later, she hired her first employee and now her business is steadily growing at 17 full-time employees.
Excelsior Growth Fund quickly recognized 19 IDEAS’ potential. “19 IDEAS was poised for growth – that much was clear from the first meeting,” said Sherri Falck, Assistant Vice President at EGF. “Together we worked to identify resources that would assist Katie in formulating and implementing a growth strategy to help her and her team realize their goals. I matched Katie with EGF Consulting Corps member, Thomas Huebsch, CFO/COO Specialist at cfoSOLUTIONSPlus, who provided 19 IDEAS with invaluable guidance in their growth plan.”
“EGF has been a tremendous partner for 19 IDEAS. Sherri saw the potential in us,” Katie explained. “Like all businesses, we experienced challenges that required outside assistance to help us get through a difficult period. EGF looked at the possibility for revenue growth and helped us crystallize our vision for the company and to position us for more financial growth than our current state.”
Throughout her professional career, Katie has made an effort to surround herself with mentors and partners who can provide honest feedback and guidance: “Partnering with people that I trusted was a critical factor to my success,” she explained. “Sherri truly believed in 19 IDEAS and our vision for the company.”
“Thomas and Katie continue to work together after the EGF consulting engagement. To Katie’s point, partnering with mentors and partners who bring a certain expertise to your business can make or break your momentum,” commented Sherri.
Katie also recognizes a factor that many small owners don’t realize until they’ve started their own business – how vital emotional support is when making day-to-day and long-term/strategic decisions for your company. 19 IDEAS was able to find that extra dimension in their partnership with EGF: “Running a business is as much a psychological game as it is a money and cents game. You have to know that there are people that care about you and your success.”
As the Buffalo community supported her in the early stages of creating 19 IDEAS, Katie has made it a priority to reciprocate in her role as a business owner. The company’s mantra is “work with purpose,” and 19 IDEAS pursues this by working with like-minded clients who have a passion about their work and whose mission helps advance the community. Katie also takes pride in being able to contribute to the economy of Buffalo by creating jobs.
Looking ahead, 19 IDEAS is poised to grow to 20 full-time employees in 2019 and continue growing a diversified client base. The company also seeks to expand its client base geographically beyond Western New York to reach a broader audience. We look forward to seeing their continued growth and success in the future.