Sour to Sweet: An Advisor Who Transforms Businesses

hero's journey - helping businesses evolve

Every business has moments when it’s on shaky ground.

Sometimes the business is in the middle of a major growth phase. It’s traveling over rocky ground as it transforms from what it was to what it’ll become.

Sometimes it’s simply struggling to put its best face forward on the web.

And sometimes the business lacks the technology or processes needed to get to the next level of growth.

Raúl Colón helps with all of the above.

His story is this month’s Hero’s Journey feature. We’re tapping the collective wisdom of our community members to bring you reports from the front lines of the content marketing world. See all of the Hero’s Journey posts here.

Read on as Raúl tells his story.

How Raúl turns lemons into lemonade

Raúl Colón: Right now, my business works with clients — either management departments of companies or business owners — to recommend new technologies for their businesses.

To accomplish this, I research and take snapshots of their processes.

Once I understand their current state of business, I start mapping out how they can best align their people and processes to help them serve their customers in an efficient and effective manner.

And my business, Limonade, designs and builds websites on WordPress. We create content for clients and consult on how to make their tools work. We also serve as a strategic partner for larger agencies who might need our resources.

Strength in diversity

Raúl Colón: Our strength is that we offer a diverse group of folks from all walks of life.

For example, I studied accounting and worked as an IT Security Consultant for one of the big four accounting firms. I’ve been a business and technology consultant for around 15 years.

We look at what we call our “ingredients from past experiences” to create a unique recipe for each client’s situation.

Because of our diverse backgrounds, we can look at a process from different perspectives and identify where it’s failing. For instance, many businesses think that a website or web application will fix all of their problems.

We step back and look at the existing business environment and make recommendations that work with what they already have. Instead of reinventing the wheel or duplicating tools, we look into making the business and its existing processes stronger.

We do a lot of coaching with our local clients in Puerto Rico. Some clients want us to travel to their locations. And we have virtual clients we’ve never met in person.

Evolving from the “bad news guy” to the “solutions guy”

Raúl Colón: My business started when I wanted to go on my own as an IT Security Consultant.

At first, it was difficult to get work in IT Security. Most companies that could hire me as a Senior Security Consultant wanted a big firm name signing off on their audits and assessments.

As an IT Auditor and IT Security Consultant, I was not welcomed in most places. People saw me as the person coming to evaluate what they did wrong.

If I found something wrong as an IT Security Consultant, it could impact the employment of those who did not do their jobs. For that reason, some people even saw me as a threat to their employment.

In between projects, I dusted off my website-building skills and decided to build a job board. This was 2008 when the recession was affecting everyone, and in Puerto Rico there were massive layoffs in every industry — even the government.

The job board brought in a lot of traffic with no marketing budget.

When I initially wanted to create the job board, I looked to hire someone else to build it for me. But I ran into many folks who were offering poor web development and design services.

So, I used my project management skills to build a team that could help with design and development.

Over time, we built a few websites and started consulting on web development and online business strategy.

It was a different type of experience; I would walk into a business and knew that I was there to help make their business processes stronger.

I enjoy it when people see me as someone who is there to help — not threaten their jobs.

A step back to move forward

Raúl Colón: We focus a lot on making sure that our clients’ processes are up to date and working.

But our biggest challenge is making sure we have our own processes in place. It happens to all businesses — occasionally, we get a bit lazy with the administrative stuff.

Recently, we took a few weeks to look at all of our internal processes and prioritize them.

We wanted to make sure our clients get the best experience from what we offer. Anything that improves the client experience is a priority.

Our second priority is business development and continuing to search for new opportunities.

We identified two tools — one for project management that is made for small teams, and the other one for our sales process that is easy to work with.

Both tools help us keep tabs on what we feel is important.

Keeping content flowing for a variety of clients

Raúl Colón: We enjoy helping our clients complete certain tasks they would not complete otherwise.

For example, many small businesses want to have a blog and email newsletter, but time constraints make it difficult for them to create, edit, and publish.

We step in and help clients with these steps.

  • On some occasions, we create, they edit, and we publish.
  • Other times, they create, we edit, and then we publish.

On every occasion, a lot of knowledge transfer happens and clients really enjoy being part of the process and learning how their systems work.

Keeping the content updated on their blogs, newsletters, websites, and social platforms means more business for our clients, and that has won us their loyalty.

The Rainmaker Digital products Raúl uses

Raúl Colón: My business operates smoothly thanks to the Genesis Framework.

I moved from Drupal to WordPress in 2011.

Genesis made it easy but also helped me understand WordPress development to the point that we now create our own themes using the Genesis Framework.

In the past, we used Scribe for help with content SEO. I have also bought other products, such as Premise, which saved me and my clients a lot of time. These product features are now consolidated on the Rainmaker Platform.

Raúl’s plans for expansion

Raúl Colón: My goal is to keep expanding my business outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

I want my main role to go from developing websites to helping others understand how websites work.

Find Raúl Colón online …

Thanks to Raúl for appearing in our Hero’s Journey series.

Do you have questions for him? Ask them in the comments.

We’ll be back next month with another story to teach, inspire, and encourage you along your journey.

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