When we started this business we were just two young people with a brand new baby. I knew I was married to a very, very talented man but at that point I still had no idea how talented he actually was. We decided that in order to have the life we wanted that we would need to start our own business. So we started at the beginning – our agency’s name. We sat on the floor of the baby’s nursery in Golden, Colorado and we planned out who we were going to be as an agency. We went through so many different names, none of which felt right to us. Most of the names sounded like businesses, sure, but that wasn’t what we were looking for. We were looking for a name that evoked the feeling we wanted people to have when they heard it.
We finally settled on Citadel. It encompassed who we wanted to be, what we wanted to be for our potential clients. Merriam Webster defines citadel as “a castle or fort that in past times was used to protect the people of a city”. We wanted our clients to know that with us they would be safe. We wanted them to know that we would never take advantage of them. That was and continues to be our goal.
When we started out it was rough. If you’ve started your own business you know this struggle all too well. If you haven’t, let me tell you there were more times than I can count that we looked at each other and said, “No more, this is killing us.” But I think deep down we both knew that if we just pushed through and kept pushing that we would make it to the other side. That wasn’t ever a given. This is a quote from Forbes magazine: “According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.” That’s a fairly scary statistic. However I had the utmost faith in my Husband Justin. I had watched him work for three years now and I never stopped being impressed. I knew if anyone could make a small business work while simultaneously raising not just one but TWO babies, it was Justin. So we pushed through.
Thankfully along the way we met Chris, our now Communications Director, who shared our goal for what we wanted to accomplish with Citadel and he was there with us, in the mud, getting dirty and working hard. And for that we will be forever grateful. We could not have gotten where we did as quickly without his help and his work goes consistently above and beyond for clients, which is right in line with our values.
Throughout the early phases of the business we tried sharing office space at a few places but it never felt right. Eventually we stumbled on the South Broadway office. Justin brought me up to this cool looking historical building and we walked up the somewhat scary steps to the third floor and at the end of the hall we were shown a beautiful office. Exposed brick, shiny wood floors and an all around “good” feel. We fell in love hard on the spot and within the month we were standing in the empty space at night just looking around at Citadel’s first office. What a great feeling. It felt like in that moment we were experiencing the dream made manifest and it nearly felt unreal. This was at the end of the road and we had made it. Of course we hadn’t made it yet but it felt like we had. We were still just a three person team though, and we were absolutely drowning in work.
In the course of starting up the new office on South Broadway we began to meet people in the area. We noticed that there was a definite feel. People seemed…happy. People were just almost always in a good mood. It began to feel like ‘our’ neighborhood. When we would walk down the street we would never not see at least four people we knew. We began to realize how fortunate we were to find this place and to get to immerse ourselves in the area. In doing so we found our next two team members: Our new Development Director Barb and our new Art Director, Cat. These were two seriously talented people and the addition of them to our team made us golden. Now, instead of struggling to do everything ourselves we were able to give specific work to people who actually specialized in those fields and excelled in them. This meant that we could finally give more to our clients. We could give them the work they deserved. This was such an exciting point to reach and oddly enough this all happened in one month.
Now, with a team of five we can attack the market head on and show the world what Citadel has to offer. We are in the process of giving a new face to our online presence and introducing our new team not only on our website but we are enjoying bringing the whole team in to meet new and potential clients. We think it’s important for the whole team to be present as often as possible
because we will all be working together on each project and we feel it’s key for us all to hear firsthand what the client wants instead of hearing it second or third hand later on. I can’t stop feeling so fortunate to have such a great team of people working together with us in Citadel. Something I feel is really special is that we happened to find people so like-minded with us that we can be confident that each member of the team has the same priority, and that is: Making the client feel important and giving them work that proves that they are.
At Citadel we have the unique privilege of knowing that the work we do for our clients will definitely benefit them. I can’t say that I’ve been able to offer that in any other line of work I’ve been in in my life. It’s been such a pleasure being to able to see the excitement in the faces of our clients as they see what even a little Pay-Per-Click advertising can do, or what one of our websites can do for their image or what a little effort expended in social media can do. As we have encountered our friendly competition we like to take note of our differences and likenesses and we’re always trying to find out how we can be even better than our already impressive competition. One thing that sets us apart is our hands on approach with our clients. We don’t just plug your information into a system and sit back and let the machine do the work. We actually have human hands and eyes doing the work. The benefit is that we see potential problems before or as they arise and are able to combat them. We do research on your competition and find out how to make you stand out as opposed to making you just another business advertising it’s services. At Citadel our goal is to become the ideal creative agency. And I believe we’re well on our way to doing that. We believe in the human touch, we believe in making our clients achieve the next level of success, we believe in our ability to help you exceed your own goals and we believe in treating our clients like real people.
In the words of Colin Powell: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” This couldn’t be more true. What it boils down to is we aren’t a team of special people with special talents. We’re a group of people dedicated to our craft, passionate about our field and driven to create the best creative agency you can imagine. So our challenge to you is, imagine your highest goal for your business. Now sit back and watch Citadel make that happen for you.
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