Farmington Region Client ProfileForte Digital
Forte Digital is a full‐service digital marketing agency. Specifically, the company consults with clients on digital marketing strategies to accomplish targeted high‐ROI marketing outcomes.
With plan in hand, the company can begin work on web design and development, other forms of digital marketing including shopping carts, social media management, customized application development and web hosting and maintenance.
Chris Frank and Thomas Buoy, like so many partnership entrepreneurs, saw their business begin with a friendship and shared passion. The co‐owners of Forte Digital, Chris and Thomas met via Twitter in 2011 while dialoguing about the pros and cons of various smartphone models. Both Chris and Thomas have a passion for computers and have owned computers as far back as elementary school days.
Chris is self‐taught and has worked in several businesses honing skills in network administration, hardware maintenance, web programming and applications development. Thomas, in addition to being self‐taught, obtained a degree in digital media arts from San Juan College – Farmington, NM’s community college.
Prior to their 2011 meeting, Chris had written up a nascent business plan for his dream job of eventually owning his own computer services company. Chris and Thomas, as their friendship developed, recognized they possess complimentary skills that they have now joined in Forte Digital – Thomas in design and digital arts and Chris in hard programming and website administration.
After research and learning about the San Juan College Quality Center for Business (home to San Juan County’s business incubator), the pair launched their business in August 2016 and are today serving many customers out of offices at this community college facility.
Chris and Thomas faced a variety of obstacles in taking the “entrepreneurial plunge.” First up was setting aside adequate cash savings and then knowing when to leave current employers and the relative certainty of wage income. Also challenging were learning how to brand
themselves and reach out and market and sell. (Both Chris and Thomas attest to being shy by nature.)
As neither partner had owned a business before, the pair also faced the all too common challenges of first‐time business owners: financial administration including bookkeeping and billing, time management and getting the first customers.
Forte Digital is overcoming obstacles through hard work bolstered by the support of business resource partners at the San Juan College Quality Center for Business. This includes a biweekly business development work session with WESST.
At the bi‐weekly session, WESST reviews the Forte Digital marketing pipeline with Chris and Thomas with an eye to building the number and variety of prospects in the sales funnel, the number of outstanding proposals and the status of work completion against allocated time
budgets. The objective of the sessions is to support the company in getting more of the customers of the type that they seek who are both profitable and a source of future work and referrals.
WESST has worked diligently with Chris and Thomas in developing their internal time tracking and billing processes, identifying and honing their value proposition and client persona, supporting them with marketing message development and encouraging them through the
accountability of the bi‐weekly appointment for staying appropriately focused on engaging in regular, productive marketing activity. “WESST has helped us immensely in multiple ways. Chris Hunter put everything in perspective and held us accountable when we needed it most. WESST helped make it possible for us to leave our jobs and start our careers!” Thomas Buoy.
San Juan County, for a county of its size as a Metropolitan Statistical Area, is severely underserved by digital marketing agencies like Forte Digital. Finding and securing quality services like those offered by Forte Digital will many times require a customer to purchase services from an out‐of‐town provider most likely located in a big city like Albuquerque which is more than a three‐hour drive away. Chris and Thomas are very approachable, thoughtful and skilled. Because of their low overhead expenses, services are also able to be very affordably priced for the market.