Education: B.S., business administration, University of Arkansas; M.S., internet marketing, Full Sail University in Florida
Professional background: Belford’s knowledge and abilities in the areas of web-based technology, search-engine optimization and creative direction bring a keen perspective on the field of digital marketing. Angela is sought out for her innovative consulting in business development as well as for her fresh and entertaining public speaking and teaching. Since 1999, Angela’s vision and strategic thinking have been an integral part of growing (along with her developer husband, Barry) The Belford Group.
What are the origins of The Belford Group? What inspired you to start the company? In 1999, my husband and I purchased the custom software company he was working for. For the first several years, it was just he and I doing custom software and process consulting. In 2008, I wanted to help other people start businesses. The first four clients needed a website, so I built them a website. As the recession took full swing, we found a great niche by helping small companies look like national brands that allowed them to continue to survive and grow their business. Sometimes, that was rebranding, usually a website and teaching them about how to differentiate themselves.
We also found that, by offering flexibility and a fun, supportive work environment, especially to parents that were unemployed because of the recession, we were able to build incredibly talented teams to deliver excellent service at affordable prices.
Now we run two teams — one is a full-service marketing agency that serves regional small- and medium-sized businesses. The other is a software team that has several products available to assist churches, nonprofits and government agencies process membership, registration, payments and communication more efficiently.
What do you think makes a good leader? Empathy. It’s the same skill that makes me great at marketing. By being able to see a situation from someone else’s perspective, I can work to find a win-win-win solution. I love to learn and teach what I learn.
What do you consider to be your biggest career break? Last year, I won the District 43 Toastmasters International Speech Contest in Memphis that qualified me for the World Championship of Public Speaking in Las Vegas. My public speaking skills improved dramatically during the course of four months preparing for the contest. This exposure also has given me opportunities to begin teaching professional development workshops.
What’s the best advice you ever received? Do the next right thing; say “yes” as much as you can and never give up. Do the next right thing helps me when I feel stuck and unsure what the next step is. Say “yes” as much as you can has made me a much stronger parent, so that when I have to say no, my kids know that it’s really no. Never give up is imperative when you are a business owner.
How will your industry change in the next decade? Change is a given, the only consistent thing is change. More and more personalization in marketing. Figuring out how to leverage technology to accomplish that will be key to success.
How many public speaking appearances would you say you make each year? I typically have two to three speaking opportunities each month. For many years it has been about marketing, social media and networking. It is increasingly becoming professional and personal development because I want to make a larger impact on the world by sharing the lessons I’ve learned.
Favorite cause or charity? YoungLife. I’m new to the organization, but it aligns so closely with how I believe we should share our faith. My faith is so relevant to my daily life that I want others to have that same peace and confidence.
What is the bottom-line motivator for you when it comes to your career? I am motivated by increasing my ability to help others. I recently launched an internship program for stay-at-home moms to transition back to the workplace. We provide on-the-job training in marketing, design and customer service as well as confidence working in an office environment from a technology standpoint. Having a safe place to get up to speed on current software, shared resources and latest trends has been really helpful to our first year of interns. We are about to announce the candidates for our second cohort. I am working to make this a nonprofit to further expand the reach and ability to help more moms.