In 2013, a friend told Maureen Joyce over lunch that a digital magazine produced by a cybersecurity nonprofit was going up for a bid. Joyce had worked for 15 years as a creative director in the information security sector, but she’d recently lost her job and was looking for something new. She told her friend at lunch, “I can do this.” She’d already founded a successful magazine – Information Security – once before.

Facing stiff competition for the contract from mid- and large-sized companies, Joyce contacted Anne Saita, who she’d known for years. Saita was looking for a change too, and the two women founded Twirling Tiger Media, with Saita as the editorial director and Joyce as the creative director. Together, they put together a proposal for the magazine that knocked out the competition.

Once they won the proposal, Joyce and Saita had to ramp up the company quickly, with initially lean resources, to make good on their magazine proposal. Once they had successfully launched – with a lucrative contract out of the gate – they began to build up a client base.

My Successes

Twirling Tiger’s revenues are up and continuing to grow. Saita and Joyce have certified the company as a woman-owned business with WBENC and have strategically marketed themselves as cybersecurity experts.

How SCORE Helped

Once Saita and Joyce won their first contract, they knew that Twirling Tiger’s long-term viability depended on their continuing ability to secure long-term business partnerships. Because neither of them had substantial sales experience, they turned to SCORE for help with sales strategy and tactics.

The Twirling Tiger team worked with SCORE mentors Buz Sawyer and Barry LaVista, who changed the way Saita and Joyce saw their business. Rather than tout their graphic design and editorial skills, the women realized they could leverage their wealth of industry experience to retain current clients and recruit new ones. “This became one of [our] top market differentiators in an increasingly crowded field,” says Saita.

Saita advises fellow small business owners to “always be marketing.”