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B2B ID: Susan Lapointe, owner, TurningLeaf Design, Easthampton

NAME: Susan Lapointe

JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Owner and creative director, TurningLeaf Design, Easthampton

WEBSITE: www.turningleafonline.com

AGE: 49

WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: July, 2000

WHAT YOU DO: I create purposeful design, cutting-edge graphics and impactful ideas that are executed to high standards, without breaking the bank. TurningLeaf Design is a full-time staff of one with a marketing support system that utilizes professionals on an as-needed basis to accommodate the objectives of our clients.

EXPERIENCE: A graphic designer and creative talent for more than 25 years. Building a degree in graphic design, I rose through the ranks at Spalding Sports over 13 years to the position of creative director, which I held for five years and where I developed marketing strategies for domestic and international sales. I am well-versed in print and package design, printing, photography and trade show exhibit design and special events. I have earned industry-wide recognition for video work and exhibit design.

THE MARKET: Leaders of nonprofits and organizations focused on health care, sustainable energy, hospitality and food service, sporting goods, manufacturing and retail.

HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Much of my networking is done the old fashioned way — by staying in touch in person and word of mouth, but I certainly also take advantage of social media with a website, Facebook and LinkedIn. I am also very involved in my community by participating as a board member in several nonprofit boards and committees as well as my local chamber board and activity. This involvement has resulted in quite a few new client contacts and long-term creative work.

WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? I wouldn’t say I have had hurdles.

KEY TO SUCCESS: Asking questions, staying open-minded and being patient. I am an advocate of meeting in person with a new client. It gives me the opportunity to learn so much more than you can from an email or even phone conversation. Taking the time to meet can make the difference between hitting the mark on their creative needs usually the first time around.

CHALLENGES: Juggling multiple projects and staying disciplined to have time to myself.

MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Giving away the ideas before getting the job.

WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Keeping a positive attitude is such a welcoming factor while working on a project with clients. Being a team player and a strong communicator allows for a successful project process.

WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: Many of my peers when I worked in a corporate setting; they gave me the skills and encouragement to start my own business.

TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Marketing TurningLeaf Design more, starting with launching a new site as well as continuing to support my current clients and reaching out to new clients.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Stay diverse, and don’t think a job is ever too small to be part of. Many of my most successful clients started out small and are now very successful and I am still part of their teams handling their creative marketing needs.

PARTING THOUGHT: Never take anything for granted and know it is never too late to learn

This B2B ID was compiled by Jamie Faulkner, a student at Westfield State University who is doing an internship with Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at beetlepress@charter.net.

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