Born in Ocala, Mitchell Slater, owner and founder of Slater Strategies, moved with his family at a young age to Wasilla, Alaska. During his junior year of high school, Slater launched his business. At the time, the business was under a different name and the focus was on a more traditional form of marketing and advertising.
"The business started off as Alaska's Affordable Advertising," he said. "I went door to door to businesses in Wasilla and sold them ads in something I branded as the Alaskan Bargain Booklet. They would pay to advertise their business and offer discounts to other businesses in the Wasilla area. At one point, I was delivering booklets to nearly 150 businesses."
Eventually, Slater saw an opportunity to focus more on digital marketing and discontinued the Alaskan Bargain Booklet. After high school, Slater continued to grow the business through his involvement with networking groups, chambers of commerce, relationships and referrals. As he shared, there were plenty of challenges along the way that tested his resolve.
"At first, getting rejected was difficult," he said. "Getting past the gatekeeper was, and still is, the hardest thing to do. As business picked up, I still found myself, at times, questioning if I was doing the right thing or not. I wasn't really making any money and friends of mine that were graduating from college were landing great jobs. That was hard at the time. Fortunately, my parents built a good foundation for my siblings and I and gave us a good sense of business and finance knowledge."
In late 2017, Slater and his wife felt the time was right to expand the business and take it to the next level. They also felt a calling to move back to Florida to accomplish their objectives in the Sunshine State. After doing their research, they chose Port Saint Lucie because of its low crime rate, proximity to the beach and because it's a great place to start a family and grow a business. For most people, moving a business to a different state would elicit feelings of anxiety and dread. For Slater, it was simply business as usual.
"I truly love people," he said. "I enjoy getting out and meeting with potential clients. That's exactly what I did when we moved to Florida. I visited networking groups, joined a BNI group and a church and slowly got the word out."
Slater shared that what sets his agency apart from others in his industry is his commitment to ongoing exceptional customer service. With big agencies, clients often sign on and get lost in the shuffle. Slater maintains constant communication and support with his clients and he's up-front with everything. "We have monthly calls where we go over everything we've done for them," he said. "All of the reporting I provide is trackable. I like to show clients where they started and where they're at now."
Slater, whose most popular service is Search Engine Optimization, shared a great tip when it comes to online reviews.
"First and foremost, always respond to online reviews," he said. "With four or five star reviews, include the name of your business in the response. For example, 'We here at Chick-fil-A take great pride in ensuring the complete satisfaction of our customers. Your feedback is much appreciated!' When it comes to one, two or three star reviews, do not include the name of your business in your response. For example, 'We're sorry to hear about your unsatisfactory experience. We'd love to make it right. Please reach out to our Office Manager directly.' Including your business name in the response, when appropriate, helps with local SEO."
Looking ahead, Slater is excited and optimistic about the potential of Slater Strategies. He's willing to grow the business as big as God wants it to be. Long-term, his goal is to have someone else run Slater Strategies so he can pursue some of the other business ideas he has.
What advice does Slater have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Before you jump into it, surround yourself with people you want to be like," he said. "If you want to be a entrepreneur, take one out for coffee. Take the time to learn from others and save yourself unnecessary heartaches."