Itâ€™s the number of an infamous television quiz-show. Itâ€™s also the winning number for blackjack and the result of 7 times 3.
Many people believe that 21, as an age, means freedoms to make important life decisions that couldnâ€™t be made previously.
For SherrÐ¹ DeMao, owner of SLD Marketing of Denver, 21 is a goal; 21 years in business, that is.
â€œTen years ago I decided to throw a party to celebrate the 21st anniversary of my marketing business,â€ she said.
Ironically, the 21st anniversary party sheâ€™s planned to thank her employees, current and future clients and close friends in eastern Lincoln County will start at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21.
â€œThink about as a person, when you reach 21, youâ€™ve become an adult,â€ she said. â€œAs a company, weâ€™re now legal.â€
While the party serves as a celebration of her business that originally started as a graphics firm in Ohio, sheâ€™s asking party-goers to reach into their pockets for a good cause.
â€œIâ€™m asking everyone who attends to donate $21 for the Relay for Life here in eastern Lincoln County,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s something that all of us in the office here knew we wanted to support.â€
She added that by raising funds for this important cause, her party is one with a purpose.
â€œAt the end of the night, we hope to hand a big check to Patsy Black,â€ said DeMao.
Black, chairperson for the east Lincoln Relay for Life, said this would be the Relayâ€™s first fund-raiser for 2006.
â€œItâ€™s really good that SherrÐ¹â€™s doing this for the Relay,â€ said Black.
Bucking the system
DeMaoâ€™s business philosophy is something that she lives by in her daily life.
â€œYou can fish for a man and feed him for a day,â€ she said. â€œOr, how I like to do things, you can teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.â€
After relocating her business to the Denver area in 1993, she started focusing on medium to small businesses.
â€œAll full-service marketing firms were focusing on large businesses and clients and not small business, which is about 85 percent of all business period,â€ said DeMao.
She added that she really likes to buck the system in every aspect of her business.
â€œFrom the way we approach our clients to training them to handle some or all of their own marketing in-house, weâ€™re very non-traditional,â€ said DeMao.
One way DeMao bucks the system is the method of analyzing a clientâ€™s marketing needs.
â€œWeâ€™ll look at a clientâ€™s operational resources first including people and technology, then we look at finances,â€ said DeMao.
Another part of the trend of bucking that system is the location of SLD Marketing Unlimited in Denver, in an A-frame house on N.C. 16 across from the Westport Food Lion.
â€œWeâ€™ve had our eye on this house for a very long time,â€ said DeMao. â€œIn fact, 13 years ago, one of my first clients in Denver operated out of the garage area of this same house.â€
DeMao said the house once housed a pottery store but has sat vacant for a number of years.
â€œItâ€™s ironic that the house came open for us because this is pretty much where my business in Denver started,â€ she said.
A third way that DeMao herself bucks the system is being an advocate for small business.
â€œI go to Washington, D.C., about two times per year as a small business advocate,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™ve always encouraged business owners to get involved in the political side of running their business.â€
The ultimate goal for clients of SLD Marketing is to become what DeMao calls savvy marketers.
â€œThatâ€™s our whole mission, to have business owners and managers become those savvy marketers and create those same kind of marketers among their employees,â€ she said. â€œThen when they get too busy to do their own marketing, weâ€™re there for them.â€
The methods that DeMao and her staff use are the coaching aspects of marketing that started with the personal computer/desktop publishing phase that started in the early 1990s.
â€œI saw the need that people want to do their own marketing,â€ said DeMao. â€œI also wanted to be sure people did things right and people thought when I first started 21 years ago that I was crazy.â€
When she started her company in 1984, she was a company of one.
Now, sheâ€™s a part of a team.
â€œWe tell our business owners that eventually, itâ€™s not going to be just them,â€ said DeMao. â€œIn the future, itâ€™s the team. The team is important for the companyâ€™s growth.â€
SLD Marketing is located on N.C. 16 across from the Westport Food Lion in Denver.
Their 21st anniversary party starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.
For more information on the celebration or SLD Marketing, call (704) 483-2491.
by Jon Mayhew