There are two things that startups founders don't realize they need when opening a business: a way to market themselves and a mentor to help along the way. Luckily for those in the Baltimore region, there is one man available who can help with both.
Henry Mortimer has been in the communications field for nearly 30 years. He founded his company Mortimer Communications in 2008 and has been helping startups and small businesses tell their stories ever since.
"Over the years I realized what I'm really good at is storytelling," said Henry. "I know it's a buzzword, but looking back I've always been a storyteller. As a [former] newspaper reporter and magazine editor, I spent a good portion of my career interviewing people It's what I love to do best."
Mortimer Communications assists startups with pre-marketing information. The first step is making sure the messaging is aligned with the company's mission. Next, the company's story must be told in an effective but interesting way. Telling a story is only half of the battle – the real challenge is translating technical information for an unfamiliar audience.
With Baltimore's startup community on the rise, there are plenty of tech companies emerging in the area. But where is the best place for these new businesses to start?
From working with Betamore and the Emerging Technology Centers, to serving as a mentor for the AccelerateBaltimore program, Henry is familiar with the benefits our local incubators provide to up-and-coming companies.
"I really enjoy supporting the startup community. The people, the business ideas, innovation and energy is exciting and inspiring. Together we make a great product," he said. "[But] the services are underutilized. You don't know you need the help until you learn about it."
Henry shares a few tips for our local startup scene in the questions below.
What advice would you give to someone starting up in the Baltimore region?
Get out there and meet people! It took me awhile to realize it, but even though you can work to create a successful business from your office, you won't really grow until you embrace the community. And Baltimore has a vibrant, nourishing, and genuinely supportive community of startups and veterans eager to embrace you back.
What role can an incubator play for up-and-coming businesses?
Incubators are a fantastic, essential ingredient for new companies, especially those that are part of a communal workspace. Really, where else can founders gain ready access to the resources they need seed capital, mentors, potential partners, a collaborative community, etc. often at very affordable prices?
How important is marketing and advertising when trying to create a successful company?
They're critical. Storytelling is one of the oldest methods of explaining the world and sharing ideas. Stories engage, inspire, and encourage people to think and act. People remember your stories, rather than facts about your product or service. Crafting an authentic and compelling story that matches and supports your strategic business goals can lead to better audience engagement, greater visibility, increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, and even a reduction in costs for your company.
Is there anything that all upcoming entrepreneurs and small businesses should know?
Be a sponge, absorb everything. And don't be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help. More than likely the people you turn to have made the same mistakes. Nothing beats sage advice, borne out of and steeped in real-life experience.
Are you a local startup looking for advice? Contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.