Less than six months in business and Marcella Hinton can point to a number of high-profile organizations as her clients–The Los Angeles Urban League, Hollywood Black Film Festival, The I Care Foundation (operated by Kashif), Estelle for Humanity, Word of Life Christian Book Stores and City of Refuge.
How was a neophyte entrepreneur able to attract such a client line-up? Hinton, who operates a graphics and printing service business called N2Purpose, said the reason is quite simply –“God’s Favor. I can’t offer any other reason.”
But Hinton is not simply a leave-everything-in-God’s-hands-and-do-nothing type of person, she does the work as well.
“I go to event calendars on Web sites like BlackNLA, and I get all the newspapers, and then I go to the WorkSorce Center and get on the phone, and I call and introduce myself. I call people who are going to have events, and I know they will need (services like mine). I ask if I can send an e-mail, and that’s how it starts,” explained the small business owner, who launched her firm after her unemployment ran out.
That guerilla marketing style of business development paid off by allowing Hinton to get a foot in the door, and her dedication to providing customers with service beyond what they expect, helped her secure the clients.
Her first client was Simeon B. Ginyard, who wrote the book “Roll, Bounce and Show.”
“It was the first book I ever did. My sister is a ghostwriter, and she wrote it. From that I had a graphic designer put it together, and my sister and I laid it out.
“We unveiled it on January 26, and over 200 people showed up. He made more than $9,000 on that book in the first month of sales,” recalled Hinton, who gained her experience in the graphics world by working as an account executive for a printing firm.
But Hinton was actually in business long before she opened her doors. For years, she has produced her family newsletters for reunions and has done her church newsletter.
“Anything I can express myself visually with I love. I’ve been doing graphics and printing for a long time.”
Ideally Hinton said she wants to grow her graphics firm so that she can hire young African Americans and give them a chance. “I want to bring them in and teach them. All young people need is a chance. I want to show them that, yes you can do it.”
That goal relates directly to her philosophy in life that is evident in her personal tagline –“The tragedy in life is not death but a life without a purpose.”