Julie Hering Kent of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce: We're visiting with Weston Burkhardt, and he's the Owner & Operator of GOLDFINCH Web, Design & Marketing. Good morning Weston.
Weston: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Julie: Glad to have you join us today. And we're gonna start, Weston, by just telling us a little bit about yourself and your new business.
Weston: Thank you. My name's Weston Burkhardt, I'm the Owner & Operator of GOLDFINCH Web, Design & Marketing, which is just established in 2019. We're headquartered in Spirit Lake, Iowa and we're proudly serving the Northwest Iowa area. We provide web, design, and marketing services, which I'll be getting into more later.
Julie: So Weston, how did you come up with the name GOLDFINCH?
Weston: Well I wanted a brand name, because even though starting out it's just me, GOLDFINCH may expand into a three or four person team over time. So I wanted a brand name and I really wanted something that symbolizes pride in Iowa, that was somehow tied to the state of Iowa. So with GOLDFINCH being our state bird that's a name that kind of jumped out at me. And I think it's also a little bit about being bold and standing out.
Julie: So what are some of the services that GOLDFINCH is able to provide?
Weston: Our core services are websites, branding, and digital marketing. We offer basic plans all the way up to enterprise, so we can work with a variety of budgets – whether it's a few hundred dollars or thousands of dollars. We also offer photography, print design, and some consulting services as needed. But mainly we're focused on web, branding, and digital marketing.
Julie: What is the service area that you're going to be serving?
Weston: We're really focused on serving the Northwest Iowa area, although we can technically work with companies across the US. Remote work is pretty common in our industry, but I'm focused on serving the Northwest Iowa region specifically Cherokee and the kind of small and medium size businesses that we have in this community. I think it's a good fit for what I offer.
Julie: So Weston, give us a little bit about your background and what brought you here.
Weston: Well I'm from Cherokee. I grew up here and graduated in the class of 2010. My parents are both business owners in this community, so entrepreneurship is something that I've always been interested in. I attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa where I majored in Graphic Design & Advertising, and graduated in 2014. Since then I've got five plus years of professional experience. Roughly a year of that was in Spencer, right out of college. I was working with regional brands, and a lot of small and medium size businesses. And I actually moved to Sioux Falls, and spent about four years up there working for a larger web development firm, where I worked with regional, national, and global brands. I've worked on some pretty complex projects over the last five years. I've completed around forty web projects. Some of the big clients I got to work with include the University of Sioux Falls, Great Western Bank, Brookings Health System, Milwaukee Public Museum, along with some smaller businesses in the region too. When I was in Sioux Falls I was working on larger, more complex projects, and I kind of found over time that I'm not as passionate about that type of work. And that I didn't want to stay in Sioux Falls forever. I'm really more passionate about serving small medium size businesses that are closer to home for me. That's kind of why I decided to make this choice and make this move.
Julie: So question, what kind of approach do you use at GOLDFINCH Marketing when you're working with the new business?
Weston: My approach is to focus on understanding someone's business first. I really like to go and travel to someone's place of business, meet with them, learn about their customers, their challenges, their plans for growth, and I really want to develop a strategy that's custom tailored to each client. So I do a lot of free consultations. I put in a lot of time trying to really understand what each client's needs are, and then coming up with a custom solution and custom strategy that fits their needs.
Julie: So Weston, how does that compare to our competitors approach?
Weston: Some competitors rely on templates, and they're looking to sort of sell you a cookie cutter solution. Maybe enter some of your basic information, and they really aren't looking to wrap their head around your business or to build that long-term relationship. So I think that's a big point of difference.
Julie: One of the things that you're offering right now for businesses is a free consultation to somebody interested in getting started out. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Weston: Yes. I'm willing to meet with business owners. I'll travel to their place of business and spend about half the day with them going through my research and discovery process, trying to wrap my head around their business, their customers, their challenges, and sort of talk over what solutions I think would best fit their particular situation. So yeah, I'm happy to do free consultations with any small or medium sized businesses in the area that are interested.
Julie: Weston, if somebody's interested in learning more about GOLDFINCH, or meeting with you to learn how you can help their business, how might they contact you?
Weston: If you're interested in starting a project or getting a free website consultation, you can go ahead and call (712) 229-9270 or you can visit goldfinchweb.com. That's our website. You can reach us through email at email@example.com. We're also on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, if you're into that.
Julie: Anything else you'd like to share with us today Weston?
Weston: I want to thank you for having me. I want to thank the Cherokee Chamber and KCHE for letting me come and speak about my business. And thanks to everyone listening.
Julie: This is been today's Chamber Chat with GOLDFINCH.