My ArundelBiz Podcast Featuring The Cyphers Agency

My ArundelBiz Podcast Featuring The Cyphers Agency


hello welcome back to the third episode
of My ArundelBiz podcast I’m Grayson Orphe and I’m Allison Akers we’re your
hosts from Anne Arundel economic development today we’re sitting down
with Dave cyphers he is the president of Cyphers agency here in Crofton they’re
celebrating their 30th year in business but actually their first year in their
Crofton location. Dave introduce yourself. hi I’m Dave Cyphers owner of
the Cyphers agency we are a full-service marketing advertising public relations
firm. so Dave what made you get into business and how did you get your start?
mmm well I I started I was working for Annapolis sailing school and Annapolis
boat shows when I was in high school. in college I was going to school at
University of Maryland studying journalism and I went into advertising
and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it I’m a copywriter that’s more
my strengths and creatively and I might have maybe I should have gone to work
for a big agency and figured it all out but I just jumped off after college and
started and kind of learned everything the hard way and slowly grew my business
so maybe if I had gone to work somewhere else maybe I wouldn’t have had the nerve
to to jump off and start my business so it worked out. worked out alright oh I’d
say so! I studied journalism at Maryland you had to choose you know news
editorial or or what area you wanted to go into and advertising seemed
interesting but I didn’t know a whole lot about it at the time I just knew I
liked to write you know. I used to work for the Diamondback! okay okay so
you mentioned that you were in Annapolis you started in Annapolis
yeah and because I was teaching sailing there I fell in love with Annapolis and
wanted to start my business there I met my future wife at Annapolis sailing
school. Awww. yeah 16 so so Annapolis was the center of my universe and it was
great because it was between Baltimore and Washington and you could reach
Columbia the eastern shore it was a good place to have the business so we miss it
we do miss Annapolis somewhat but Crofton has been very good also yeah so
why the change to Crofton what’s the benefit? well we were we were
running out of space we needed to look for new space and we started looking
around and I really wanted to buy a building as an investment in my future
and we couldn’t find quite what we wanted in Annapolis so we started
widening the search and this turned out to be perfect that it’s a it’s a careful
delicate balance you’re trying to figure out making sure it’s a reasonable
commute for the employees so you don’t you know you don’t lose anybody and and
reasonable commute for me too but also where are the clients and we’re doing
some things locally but more and more down in DC so we need an easy on and off
for route 50 and this turned out to be perfect you know what makes the
community special? so I mean you chose a different community Crofton what makes
Crofton special? I mean Crofton is turned out to be great
it’s it’s we’re we’re right here on the edge of suburbia so it’s kind of a nice
sleepy little area but yet we are just you know moments away from all the
business in the area we do have a few good clients less than a mile from here
but if we need to hop down to Washington it’s also pretty easy to you know just a
couple of miles from route 50 plenty of restaurants and things around here so
it’s it’s been a great fit what’s your favorite restaurant favorite restaurant
well I don’t know I really like the brand new Ashling’s right across the
highway from here. yes you got to give it a try yeah I’ve been there. yeah
we were there it’s a ribbon-cutting but there’s a lot of great options here
so that’s that’s nice too you know now when we first got here I was taking a
little bit through throughout the whole office this place is awesome
this place is awesome and and as a creative person it’s like you most
offices are you know kind of bland you know white walls things like this
everything here is just that the colors are great everything has a meaning to it
yeah it’s not the normal how can we, well I don’t want say we, because I plan on
doing this in our office but how like what was the thought process behind
everyone here I mean some of its very we had to think through where we wanted
people to sit and you know we’ve got a lot more space so
we want the creative folks to be together but we want different teams to
interact with each other so so my creative director Darren Easton and he and
I figured out where people should be and then we we have some creative folks on
staff and we let them kind of go crazy at making a fun environment I mean we’re
in a creative business so we have to look the part
absolutely and first you think oh we just we’re really doing it for the
clients and we’re trying to look creative but the truth is it does make
it better to come to work every morning and it makes you more excited
about what you’re doing and when you’re having a brainstorming session and you
can play cornhole or whatever it’s yeah it does make a difference you know yeah
and there’s some practical things by by having more room here we were able to
have we’ve got like three different breakout rooms and areas where people
can go most people have laptops now and they can go and have an ad-hoc meeting
and work on something for the afternoon and it happens all the time and it’s
really really cool there’s a otherwise a very open atmosphere but if you do need
to make a private phone call or something there’s one of those breakout
rooms yeah yeah so it is really proved to be a flexible space and one that
helps get people energized you know as awesome and it’s like you can’t help but
to have that feeling you know like when you first get here it doesn’t feel like
an office time feels like you’re walking into your home yes I mean I have to
admit when we first looked at the building it’s this kind of older
Colonial Williamsburg right and at first I was telling the broker I don’t know if
I want to look at that you know it probably doesn’t not gonna fit
and but the previous owners had already opened it up and and that made it much
easier because this big open atmosphere is what we need a lot of what we’re
doing is collaborative and you’re overhearing other people having a
conversation with a client or working on some social media issue and you can
chime in or at least kind of washes over and you know what’s going on so it’s
it’s perfect perfect for us yeah yeah I get the right feel just walking in here
how many employees do you have? 18 total including my team. and how have
they responded to change? very well very well yeah everybody loves it and we had
a nice office back in Annapolis but but it was just not too many months and
we’re like we can hardly remember it it’s this is home now so yeah.
and good it’s a good home! yeah it is it is so what’s your advice to other
companies who may be facing any type of hurdles and starting their business and
getting things going well there’s lots of different aspects of it. the the
biggest thing I knew I knew when I started it was just me and I was like
jack of all trades and master of none you know I was a graphic designer I was
the bookkeeper I was everything and I realized early on that the way this is
going to succeed is if I have somebody better than me in all of the different
places and that’s what we’re really getting to now and that’s I don’t have
to do it I can help orchestrate it and manage it but you’ve got people that you
let them do their thing and I’d say that to anybody starting out you’re not an
expert at all aspects of business nobody is right and so you’ve got to
figure out what you’re good at what you’re passionate about and that’s the
area of the business that you need to pursue and then you have to surround
yourself with the right people to fill in those gaps and complement you Are there resources that really stand out thatyou’ve used over the years? Chambers? certainly was a member of the chamber
for years and years more would gravitating more towards DC so I’ve
joined some different groups but and economic development has proved to be
over the years very helpful I I still look at your the the report of the
movers and shakers of business is growing and expanding that’s fantastic
and other has been business consultants and coaches and kind of some mastermind
groups where you get CEOs together business owners who are maybe in
different fields but are going through some of the same challenges that you are
that’s been very helpful so just connecting with area business owners and
kind of working through things together has been good well so I’m in marketing
as well obviously so marketing manager for Anne Arundel economic development
marketing is all about the creativity and about learning the trends and it’s
obviously changed so much for after years and you’ve been around for 30 years
you are still relevant yes how do you stay relevant? well yeah I like to say when
we started there was no internet I mean we were still doing broadcast faxes and
rolodex cards and things that young people don’t even know what they write
but yeah you have to stay on top of it or we would be a dinosaur and dead and
gone and that means what it really means is having people who are passionate
about what we do because it’s not just an eight-hour day they’re gonna have to
research it and be looking at things on online at home and learning about it
because it is changing ever more rapidly you know it was probably around 2000 you
know almost 20 years ago now when we said oh you know what we’re gonna have
to start building websites and man it was search engine optimization then it’s
social media and then it’s mobile platform and all the all the advertising
and digital things associated with with mobile ads and you know we were getting
more into doing video ourselves and it just it just keeps changing evolving is
ever more rapidly so yeah you’ve got to stay on top of it and and true in every
field you know it’s not just ours is dramatic but most every field has
completely changed you know well we have a marketing and PR and advertising
expert here do you have any marketing tips for some of the small businesses
that might be watching? um well I mean digital marketing is where it’s at for a
lot of small businesses these days it’s rather cost-effective and social media
advertising Facebook ads are still continue to be really cost-effective and
a way to target people so if you don’t have this figured out on your own you
should contact either an agency or freelancer and and get into that side of
things there there’s so much that can be done to cost effectively promote your
business that’s where a lot of small businesses need to go I think that’s a
good good advice yeah absolutely well Dave thanks for talking to us today
really appreciate you know just coming here and being a part of this atmosphere
this is this is awesome and you’re doing the doing a great job here everything is
everything is great everything is absolutely wonderful happy to have you
here. yes Cyphers agency in Crofton they what well quick quick question hmm
biggest a couple clients you can talk about? or some of them? we’ve got a range
of them we do work with trade associations in DC grain foods
foundation there’s a snack food international there’s all sorts of
groups down there national waste and recycling there is flexible packaging
Association up in Annapolis but we also do work with Strayer University yeah
Chesapeake Bay trust we just helped launch the new Bay plates yeah which was
really exciting because years ago we helped them launch the last one so that
was fantastic that that came around again
Beneteau america mhm Annapolis yacht sail so still keeping her hand in some
of the marine businesses so we love the diversity we’ve got some food clients as
well so that’s part of what keeps us creative and maybe keeps us sane is to
jump from one industry to another so so we like the diversity of it so wide
array wide expertise and really connecting with community across all of
Anne Arundel County pretty cool well again thank you so much for taking time
out of your really busy day to just talk with us and so we can get a peek into
what you’re doing how you do it. pretty pretty cool yeah yeah you can find this
episode and others on Arundel biz. org or on any of our social media channel so
that’s Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube it’s a chance to highlight local
business owners throughout Anne Arundel County you’ll see the companies that are
highlighted that are hiring your neighbors and it’s just a chance to
connect and grow your community so we look forward to highlighting other
businesses throughout the county and you can check it out on Arundel biz. org
through our newsletters and our social media channels so thank you thanks Dave
thank you!

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