All of us are occasionally blessed to run across people at just the right time in our lives to create a positive and sometimes life-changing impact. It might be a teacher, professor, coach, clergy member, or workplace mentor. Perhaps surprisingly it is often a counselor with one of SBA’s resource partners. That's what happened to Robin Boyce of the Hastings Group while she attended a business development class at Grace Hill Women’s Business Center.
Boyce was working for a radio station, bringing in more than $690,000 in yearly revenue to the station but she wasn’t getting much in return. After 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism, sales, marketing, and public relations within the ever-changing and uncertain media world, she began to wonder, “Why don’t I work for myself and keep the profits?” She founded The Hastings Group in 2008, naming it for her grandmother, who was her biggest career supporter.
As she got into the nuts and bolts of business ownership Boyce realized that being an expert in public relations did not always translate in knowledge about owning a business. A business-owner friend recommended she take a business development class at Grace Hill Women’s Business Center. She saw an ad for the class in the St. Louis American and felt it was a sign she should enroll in the class. In her 2009 class she learned how to write a business plan, basic bookkeeping and tax skills, technology usage, market research, positioning, banking and loan information, and how to portray the uniqueness of her business in comparison to similar businesses. Arthur Porter of Grace Hill Women’s Business Center made a huge impact on how Boyce saw herself and her business. He created in her a thirst for more business knowledge, motivating her to get her MBA at Lindenwood University in June 2011.
Today, Boyce is slowly and steadily growing her business. She considers herself a hybrid entrepreneur, still working a full-time job and the equivalent of another one at The Hastings Group. In her own business world, she loves helping people see the value of their businesses and finding skills in themselves they didn’t know were there. She specializes in helping people position their businesses and offers advice on why business strategies aren’t working or where and when to open a brick and mortar store. She advises customers to have a one or two line company statement in the forefront of their minds because they never know when they might run into the next potential client. She’ll also coach clients on how to promote their businesses to others personally — how to dress, what to say, and how to say it. She advises owners to get to know their business neighbors since they are often sources of referrals. She works extensively with social media as she feels it is an important marketing tool, especially for small businesses. She assists with e-blasts, press releases, radio or TV spots, newspaper ads, and tweets. With these offerings, Boyce has snagged some major clients, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, 2K Technologies, and RESSI Research and Development Solutions.
Boyce believes in giving back to the community as a board member of GITANA Productions, an organization within the African-American community which works to break down cross-cultural barriers by bringing global art and dance groups to St. Louis, and as a mentor to other small business owners.
Boyce describes The Hastings Group as a multi-level marketing, advertising, and public relations firm which develops manager and sales force abilities to better sell products and services to consumers. She says what makes her company special is that they listen to clients and to the market. Although the economy has been a challenge, Boyce says she'll continue to steadily grow her business and continue helping her clients.
A fan of SBA microloan provider Justine Petersen and the St. Louis Development Council, Boyce has worked with both organizations. She feels St. Louis is a great place to incubate a small business--pointing out all the city, county, state, and federal resources that are available. Robin Boyce hopes she will be the right person at the right time to inspire others. Boyce has had some of those special people come into her life at the right time, and she’d love the opportunity to pass the torch. She enjoys the excitement of others when they have an “aha" moment.
”The Hastings Group can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grace Hill Women’s Business Center (they assist men, too) is located at 2125 Bissell, St. Louis, MO, 63107. They can be reached by calling 314-584-6840, or visit their website at http://www.gracehill.org/content/GraceHillWomensBusinessCenter.php. For more information on SBA programs and resource partners, please visit the St. Louis District Office at 1222 Spruce Street, Suite 10.103, St. Louis, MO, 63103. You may also call 314-539-6600 or visit the website at www.sba.gov/mo/stlouis.