Our Business Story
My grandparents owned and operated a linen supply business in south central Los Angeles, where they worked together to make the business successful. They valued their employees, and many of them worked there for decades. They picked up, cleaned, and delivered linens to businesses across LA County. My mom, aunt, and uncle worked there growing up and loved it. By the time I was born they had sold the business and retired, but I always loved hearing the stories about the plant and the people there.
Ryan’s parents were both entrepreneurs. His dad was a computer programmer by day, and started two part-time businesses – a computer building company and sports memorabilia business. His mom has started two HR consulting firms, and continues to run her second HR consulting firm to this day.
Even though our families’ stories are an important part of who we are, neither of us ever imagined owning a business.
But that changed when Ryan and I got together. We realized our strengths really complement each other, and that we work really well together. Ryan is incredibly data-driven, a strong manager, and very innovative. I am a skilled project manager, relationship builder, and strategist. And together, we saw an opportunity to help the causes and businesses we care about get results in a world changing faster and faster all the time.
The “Aha!” Moment
One day, a few years back, Ryan was working at a trade association and came home frustrated after a day of talking to digital consultants about targeting and pricing. After crunching some numbers and doing some research, he realized the vendor they worked with on a project was outrageously over-charging them for digital advertising – while doing little to target the message at the right audience. We talked for a while about it, and about how hard it was to find vendors you could trust. We didn’t decide then to start the business, but we started thinking about it.
Another thing we talked about was getting to scale. When discussing scale, the question we asked was “how much communication will it take with one person to get them to buy a product, or donate to a cause, or vote for a candidate?” In a world where no one has infinite budgets for advertising, how can you make sure that what you are doing to reach people will actually work? We knew what questions needed to be asked, we knew many of the answers, and we realized we could use our experience and existing research to help others succeed.
That’s how Change Media Group was born.
Now Ryan and I are in business together, like my grandparents were. We’ve grown fast, starting with just Ryan working from home, then moving from office to office while adding staff and interns to the team. Now we have a team of 11 and an incredible 1,900 square foot office in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood just outside of Downtown. Since we started, we’ve worked with 170+ clients from Michigan and across the country. We are proud of the work we’ve done to help them and the value we provide.
At our last quarterly staff meeting we took a break from talking about our current projects to focus a bit on our internal culture and values. Both of us were pleased and surprised by the feedback from our team about how they view the culture here at Change Media Group.
Here are just a few of the top things about our culture at CMG, according to our team:
- We value hard work, concise communication, data, quality design, and strong storytelling.
- We know the importance of investing in our team and being a learning organization.
- We strive to always listen and be helpful to each other and to clients.
- We value collaboration and are always trying new things to make working together work better.
- At the same time, we have a “go figure it out” culture – that we all are willing to teach ourselves a new skill, learn a new technology, or find an answer for a client.
- We’re ethical: we won’t sell people things they don’t need.
We’re pretty proud of what the team had to say, and we feel very lucky to have such a great team (including our great network of partners and contractors).
It’s exciting that we’ve been able to grow so quickly, and about what’s to come. For us, we want Michigan to be a place of plentiful opportunity again, and we want to do all that we can to make that a reality. We want to live in a Michigan, and an America, where more people our age can find a good job, put food on the table, raise a family in a welcoming community, start a thriving business, and enjoy all of the beauty that our state has to offer. That’s what we’re really excited about and what gets us out of bed in the morning.
What stage are you at in your business story? Shoot us an email – we’d love to hear about it! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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