The current SBOP session ends this week and among our new small business graduates is veteran-owned, woman-owned small business Coast2Coast Printing & Marketing LLC. The co-founders, National Guard Veteran Griffin Black and wife, Renee Smith-Black launched the Las Vegas operation in 2014. The couple says their goal is to help businesses of all sizes tell their stories with world-class branding, from the smallest of marketing tools and promotional items, to large-format printing.
During the past few years, Coast2Coast has enjoyed a measure of success serving private businesses and public entities, including Nellis Air Force Base and the State of Nevada. Smith-Black enrolled in the Clark County Small Business Opportunity Program (SBOP) to expand and do more business with Clark County.
"We were really wanting to add to what we can do on the government side. Many businesses don't look at the benefit that working with government entities could bring them, for example, the contracts are often larger than the average in the private sector," said Smith-Black.
Smith-Black credits much of the company's success to the ability to build relationships that help potential customers know, like and trust her team. During the past few years, she has built relationships by getting involved with organizations such as the local Chambers of Commerce. And her involvement with SBOP is a continuation of that practice.
"It has helped to meet with purchasing agents through SBOP and learn how the bidding process goes, and I learned that we sometimes have to sell our services to larger prime contractors who are going after the larger contracts. Our connection with the County gives us more credibility with those larger organizations than if we were working alone," said Smith-Black.
She emphasized that it has also been invaluable to establish relationships with fellow business owners in the program and to enhance marketing to government entities. For example, she has added her capability statement to the company's website.
She said the company's decision to get certified in Nevada as a Tier One Emerging Small Business (ESB) has also helped the company land new business.
"I think the certification does have something to do with our ability to work with government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Health Department. They reached out to us because of our certification," she said.
The couple says one of the best parts of business success is being able to give back to the community, especially to help military veterans.
"I did eight years in the National Guard, did a tour in Iraq, and am proud to be a veteran," said Black, who was awarded several medals during his military career.
Black and Smith-Black serve on the board of the Armed Forces Chamber of Commerce. Smith-Black has also served as a vice president of the Cause Marketing Chamber, vice president of a local Toastmasters group, and she works with Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada.