Basya Benshushan is the Owner and CEO of PinkCilantro, an award-winning full-service advertising agency, recognized by the International Association of Business Communicators and by the American Marketing Association.
PinkCilantro began as a business started from a home office three years prior to the official launch of the company. Basya educated herself in the digital market space leaving no stone unturned. She became a marketing phenomenon in her own right. She is passionate and driven regarding PinkCilantro and the services that this company provides their business goals. She is a straight-forward down-to-earth business women who lead by example, and with intention.
Basya is a fearless leader in her chosen profession. She has assembled a team of professional creative go-getters who are committed to the harmonious quest to accommodate every goal for their clients. The team is rewarded with a very flexible work environment. Monday mornings are slated for their “mini-harvest meeting”. They discuss the productivity of the previous week of harvested goals. They discuss client objectives and they commit to the tasks to be completed by the next mini-harvest for the following week. Teams are provided with the tools required to be as creative and productive as possible. They are also in communication whenever they need to be in contact. When the mini-harvest is completed, all teams have the freedom to work from anywhere they choose to be. Basya is available to her teams at all times.
Basya is married and has been graced with three daughters who share a mutually inspired life.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I started the business from home. I really didn’t plan for PinkCilantro to be what it has become today. I had brought too many clients for me to handle on my own. I had to hire staff to assist with the business. I was inspired to start the business because of a friend of my father’s. He introduced me to the world of social networking. I got addicted to twitter. It began creative wheels turning in an entrepreneurial mind, and the rest was history.
How do you make money?
We charge for our digital marketing services. We have gained the confidence of our clients. As a result, they have provided us with 90% of our business coming from referrals. We take pride in the work that we have accomplished.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I was profitable from day one. I actually started seven years ago. The business opened four years ago. I didn’t plan to open a business. I was in demand and I had many really good clients that I had developed years before. So, when I opened the doors it was already a successful business.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I always knew it would work. There are highs and lows in business, but we have always made payroll. The strength of the company has always been on my shoulders. I have never had to seek out financing of any kind. We’ve had stronger times then some. But we’ve ridden the waves at all times.
How did you get your first customer?
I was living in California and I was an artist but got sick. I went to Houston, where my parents lived. We went camping. A friend of my fathers was with us and he was very excited about social media. There were about 200 million users on the internet. My Space had about 75 million at the time. Social networking was in its infancy. I had no interest in putting personal issues out to the public. When we got back to Houston I tried twitter and I was hooked. You could talk to a person in India as though they were right here. You could build a deep relationship. I also appreciated that you could get data on whatever you were putting out there. As an artist, I could see the reaction from people right away. That is how I got started. I threw myself into the possibilities of marketing across the internet. There was no handbook for marketing across social networks. I took a sales approach and brought in some huge results. That laid the foundation for the business we have today.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I would like to say that we had other strategies that we use but fact be known we get all of our business through referrals. They keep us busy. We have worked very hard over the years to provide our clients with exactly what they need to get results and enhance their business. We are very fortunate to have the loyalty of our clients. As a result, we stay very busy and extremely productive on referrals alone.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I had to let go of toxic team members. It is always difficult to have to let people go. In this business we are inter-dependent. We have to rely on everyone to do their jobs well. I will have to be more critical when I hire new staff. They have to be like-minded individuals and true team members.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am extremely driven. I also love to work. I am on a wonderful journey. I love to dig in and do the work. I am not a workaholic. Working is just in my DNA.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
We have amazing clients that I am really proud of. We have gotten many rewards. I get the most satisfaction on the daily work. I love what I do. It is the journey that I am on that is so satisfying.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Slack is a communication tool. It allows us to communicate no matter where we are. We have a very flexible work environment. We all have our goals for the week but you can get it done from where ever you are. We have team meetings we all meet in the office on Mondays and have our mini-harvest meeting. It allows us to communicate on the go. We can share files and pictures. It is invaluable to us.
How do you stay on top of your game?
I do not have the luxury of being discouraged. As an entrepreneur, I have to be a hundred percent available when I’m at the office. I am very intentional when I show up. I am like a whirlwind. I know I can’t waste any time.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future for PinkCilantro is to continue our focus on each individual client in meeting their goals. We have big visions for growth, but never will it be at the expense of our customers. We put in a tremendous amount of research, strategy, and creativity. We will keep on servicing the market and be competitive in this space. We are known for our creativity across media platforms. We produce unique work and we strive to continue to be.