Anyone in the business world will say that partnerships are the toughest form of business organization, but not for Aurora Roe and Caity Pfohl. These two childhood friends turned their dream of working with one another into a reality by forming Scrap Paper Social, a small business based in Hamilton, in Madison County.
Although they had no formal education in social-media management — Roe studied television-radio and Pfohl studied hotel & restaurant management — they learned on the job at the Central New York–based Chobani Greek yogurt company. Roe worked on the experiential marketing team at Chobani, writing various blog posts about the group’s “Cho-mobile” travels. Pfohl worked on the Chobani internal communications team, working on projects like the company’s weekly e-newsletter and employee intranet.
Roe and Pfohl eventually began managing social-media platforms for smaller, local businesses such as Good Nature Brewing and Michael’s Fine Dining. As they were first developing their professional social-media skills, they noticed that many businesses in their area lacked a quality social-media presence. Or, worse yet, many local small businesses had no social-media accounts at all. Roe and Pfohl started to get the idea of forming a partnership. They could work together like they had always dreamed of doing. Instead of being employed by only one company at a time, they could provide a variety of small-business owners with their services by independently managing many social-media accounts at once.
However, like many entrepreneurs in the startup stage, Roe and Pfohl struggled with uncertainty. The fear of not having steady paychecks or guaranteed benefits kept them from pursuing entrepreneurship for a long time. Although they continued to seek out entrepreneurial training and one-on-one counseling, they viewed their business as a pipe dream that probably would not come to fruition.
That all changed one day in May 2017, when they decided to take the plunge. “After all,” as they like to jokingly declare to one another (nearly every day), “what could possibly go wrong?!” And just like that, Scrap Paper Social was born. Through help from local organizations such as the Mohawk Valley and Onondaga offices of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), along with invaluable guidance from friends and family, they slowly started to learn the ropes. They relate that, “it’s been an ever-evolving mix of exciting, confusing, terrifying, surreal, and amazing ever since.”
In 2017, the Scrap Paper Social team of two participated in a business pitch program through the Onondaga SBDC Rural Pitch Competition. There they went on to attend multiple nights of training on how to communicate their business needs. The last night of the program required them to present a five-minute pitch to a panel of experts. Roe and Pfohl were awarded a first-place cash prize of $1,000. The money was used to purchase a new software feature, which they used to generate more revenue for their business. The partners continue to expand on their knowledge as entrepreneurs, taking workshops and trainings whenever and where-ever possible.
Now an established small business, Scrap Paper Social combines creativity and social-media savvy to deliver uniquely customized content. Yes, they post for their client’s various social-media accounts, but what they do is more involved than it sounds.
“We stay in the loop on specials, events, and announcements, we visit our client’s businesses regularly to take photos, and then we turn that information and those photos into posting calendars, where we plan what will be shared each day of the week while ensuring timeliness and relevancy among other factors,” Roe and Pfohl say. Their goal is to curate and maintain a steady online presence for their clients. They create engaging and consistent content to attract more customers, improve the business’ overall brand presence. That leads to increased sales, allowing for more growth potential and ensuring long-term business success.
Scrap Paper Social started with one client, but within two short years the business has grown tremendously. Roe and Pfohl are now running social-media accounts for eight clients with a handful of small businesses for which they do “one-off” projects. More and more, small businesses are starting to recognize the importance of their social-media presence, and Scrap Paper Social will be sure to pick up traction throughout Central New York as a result. So, be on the look-out for their work. You will be able to tell that Aurora Roe and Caity Pfohl had a hand in a company’s social-media management process by their dynamic pictures, brand consistency, and overall engaging content.
For more information on Scrap Paper Social, visit www.scrappapersocial.com.
Advisor’s Business Tip: Search for and take advantage of local entrepreneurial training, workshops, and local business competitions to develop your business skills.
Melissa Zomro Davis is a New York State advanced certified business advisor at the SBDC, located at Onondaga Community College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org