In small towns we tend to focus on the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality, but two Downtown Laurel entrepreneurs are shaking things up by focusing instead on breaking the mold of the traditional small town business.
Bo Watts and Jason Vanderslice, the minds behind Creative Computer, have built a thriving Information Technology and Web Design company right here in Downtown Laurel – and they’ve done it by throwing out convention and focusing instead on affecting people’s lives.
Erin Napier, creator of the world-renowned Lucky Luxe Couture Correspondence and Laurel native, tells her story of working with the folks at Creative Computer in this short video:
Here at home, they keep the businesses of Laurel up and running with an intense dedication to superior customer service and proactive IT solutions.
Bo tells us that, “At Creative Computer, we believe in solving problems before they happen. We realized from the beginning that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ to this business. Each client is important to us, and providing them with customized services to actually better their business is our end goal. We exist to better our clients from whatever service we offer, whether it be IT solutions, web design, or custom APPS.”
What started so many years ago as a passion and hobby for two middle school friends, has turned into one of Downtown Laurel’s most involved small businesses and a hub for creativity and employee empowerment. Through these two simple principles this business has gone on to build products and solutions that reach people all around the world, while helping to ensure the success of all Downtown Laurel businesses through local involvement and community partnership.
How can you take the principles that have helped to grow Creative Computer and use them in your own business?
1. An intense focus on creativity and empowerment
“Your staff is your business”, Bo explained during our interview. “Focus on results rather than procedure, and empower your people rather than dictate to them.”
The talented team of designers, developers and IT professionals at Creative Computer was cultivated through the unique company culture created through these principles.
“Our goal is to increasingly develop and expand Creative Computer. In doing this, not only will it provide us with more clientele, but it offers opportunities for new jobs for the right people,” Bo said.
When looking for new employees, Creative Computer seeks out those who can be trusted to take on a task and achieve results. Rather than focusing on rules and procedures, they choose instead to focus on broad directives and strategies – empowering their people to create products and solutions that solve real problems, rather than marking items off of a to-do list.
Bo tells us that it is much more important to find people with a willingness to learn and to work hard, rather than those with a pre-existing, polished skill-set.
By allowing his people to learn from their failures, to take risks and to try new ideas – Bo has created a team of “creative experts” who thrive in an environment built on innovation and empowerment.
2. A commitment to local growth
With the right people in place and an innovative selection of products and services, it seems that success would be assured. However, Bo and Jason know that by helping to build up their local business community they are ensured a stable environment to grow and the help of others along the way.
Bo says, “We chose to call downtown Laurel home because we saw its potential for greatness. A large percentage of our clientele are located downtown, which allows us to service them more promptly. Creative Computer is proud to partner with what is happening in our local community and contribute to the economic growth of downtown Laurel.”
As a LMS partner, Creative Computer contributes directly to our revitalization and restoration initiatives by providing web design, development and hosting services for http://laurelmainstreet.com. Currently, an updated responsive design is underway, and we have been able to experience the unique brand of creative expertise that is such an important part of the CC philosophy.
Creative Computer employees and leadership can also be found participating in Downtown Laurel events and community programs, and are a valuable resource to the LMS Board of Directors and committees.
“Being involved with our neighboring businesses and supporting one another in the revitalization and the restoration of Downtown Laurel is huge for us,” Bo says.
By partnering with LMS, Creative Computer is able to share their unique expertise and to contribute to the initiatives and projects that will ensure success for all Downtown Laurel businesses.
By focusing on creativity, innovation and local growth – they have built a business that serves as an example for all of those who are hoping to one day push the boundaries of small town business and to empower others to seek creative solutions of their own.