Today, we speak with Dana Randall, Founder of Built by the Factory, an interactive design and development agency that creates websites, mobile apps and social media and online ad campaigns.
As a native New Yorker I have always considered myself “Made in NY™”. There is a certain energy, entrepreneurial spirit and hustle that New Yorkers have. After living out of state for 10 years I moved back to NYC to pursue my dream of starting my own company. There was no other city I would have considered, as the home base to my dream, the diversity and broad range of opportunities you can find in NYC is unmatched. But starting a business in NY is not easy; the cost of living, salary ranges, office space expenses & competition can easily put you out of business within your first 2 years. I like to look at those challenges as a positive to weed out the weak businesses from the strong contenders early on. Being Made in NY is something I take a lot of pride in, to me and to my business it means we have the talent and perseverance to succeed in one of the most competitive markets.
What can be done to maximize the Made in NY™ campaign?
I have seen some of the awareness campaign efforts to expose people to the Made in NY initiative; I think so far they have done a good job of introducing the idea behind the program, which is to highlight NY as a technology epicenter. I would love to see the campaign touch people emotionally and empower New Yorkers to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit. Diving into the personal stories of these businesses and entrepreneurs would help people connect with the program; I also feel that it could be used to inspire people that have considered starting their own tech startup to pursue it.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in NYC?
I believe early stage entrepreneurs could use more guidance. I know that I made many mistakes along the way that cost my business money. Many of these could have been avoided if I had a mentor to help guide me through the ins and outs of starting a business in NY. As a woman that has worked in digital and technology for about 14 years I consider myself an expert in my field. However, I am not an expert in state law, accounting, human resources, commercial real estate & insurance. Supporting technology experts in these areas would help businesses succeed and allow them to focus on technology versus these other critical aspects of what it takes to run a solid business. I also feel that it is important for early stage entrepreneurs to understand the difference between being a freelancer working under a “company” name and actually starting and building a true company. Many underestimate what it takes.
Well, I think it depends which ecosystem you are talking about. For Built by the Factory we answer to a few ecosystems. There is our specific business industry ecosystem of digital and interactive agencies; the large global agencies versus the smaller boutique independent shops. We are obviously the boutique shop. We also answer to the startup ecosystem, the newbies versus the technology veterans. I always present and position my company as the veterans; most of my staff has 10+ years of experience in the industry. We have been there and done that and constantly draw from our past experiences to guide our clients appropriately. We recently moved our business back into a technology and creative focused co-working community. This has been a wonderful decision for us both financially and personally. By working along side many technology and startup newbies my entire team has found themselves offering advice and insights to businesses in their infancy stage. We get a lot of personal satisfaction from feeling like we have helped a startup find direction, consider opportunities that they may have overlooked or even avoid disaster.
Read what other thought leaders have to say about “Made in NY™”.