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  • Success Story: Driven by Creativity, Business Now Thrives

    Matthew Connar, owner of Cape Coral’s Boost Creative, keeps costs low and an eye on cash flow while managing his company.

    Matthew Connar cut his teeth in the hospitality arena of the visual arts business.

    He started his career working for the creative department of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, which had operated South Seas Island Resorts on Captiva Island and other area properties, and later worked for Chicos Inc.

    It was valuable experience, but he craved more creative challenges.

    “I was basically just sticking a logo on a photo that came out of New York and I wanted to do more,” he said.

    So in 2002, he took a leap of faith and opened Boost Creative, a visual arts and graphics design boutique firm that’s tailored to boost the creativity of its clients.

    What started out as a home-based business has now blossomed into a three-team firm with an office in Cape Coral. Connar and his team have worked on a variety of projects for regional and out-of-state clients, and recent projects include work for the Florida Everblades, Gulfcoast Symphony and Sun Splash Waterpark.

    Gross sales are also growing.

    Year-to-date the company collected $223,000 in gross revenue compared to the $189,000 it grossed for the same period a year ago – a roughly 18 percent growth year-over-year.

    His company has thrived in part from his distinctive business model, where his team works as a graphic design or marketing specialist on a project basis or functions as an outsourced creative department.

    “Businesses are now focusing on specialists, people who can tailor their services and meet their specific needs,” Connar said.

    The company’s strength stems from the team’s background in visual arts and identity development. It also offers a wide array of services from marketing copywriting to fully-developed printed or multimedia products.

    Connar has also grown his business slowly by keeping overhead costs low and keeping a close eye on cash flow.

    After his first two years in business, he shared a space with a marketing consultant for six years before opening his own location.

    While working in a shared space helped keep costs low, moving out on his own to an office in downtown Cape Coral gave him a higher profile in the community.

    “Having my own branded location really energized me to seek out new clients,” he said.

    Connar has built his team to be collaborative in nature, where all three team members brainstorm and work on projects, but they also work closely and generate ideas with customers who want to be more involved.

    “We like to collaborate with our clients, rather than create for our clients,” he said. “They’ll have a better sense of ownership in their marketing materials.”

    Through his commitment to customer service, Connar has been able to build lasting relationships. About 85 percent of customers come through word-of-mouth referrals, Connar said.

    Chris Palin, vice president of sales and marketing for the Florida Everblades, said the team had used a few design companies for the team’s promotional materials, but in the past year has delegated all his design work to Boost Creative.

    “What’s really important to me is someone who understands our vision, who can put that into context,” he said. “Whether it be print or video or whatever it happens to be, it’s got to have synergy to it.”

    When you go

    Where: 1411 S.E. 47th St., Cape Coral.

    What: A boutique visual arts and marketing firm, developing products from the concept stage to finished product.

    Contact: Call 471-7300 or visit www.boostcreative.com.

    Tips for success: Matthew Connar, owner of Boost Creative, has built a thriving company by:

    Collaborating with his team members and being open about where creativity and inspiration come from to fuel projects.

    Getting involved, whether it’s in chamber groups or volunteering with non-profits to build lasting relationships in the community.

    Growing the business slowly with revenue, rather than borrowing funds to expand.

    Finding talented staff, but also finding personalities that work well within the company culture.