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Hiscox Small Business Corner: Sculpt

May 16, 2014

Josh Krakauer took a class project and turned it into a full-fledged small business.

The Hiscox Small Business Corner is a series to highlight small business owners. It’s also a resource for other entrepreneurs to learn from their peers. The latest small business corner feature is Josh Krakauer, one-third of the founding team of Sculpt, Iowa City’s leading Social Media Agency.

The idea for Sculpt was born out of a student project at the University of Iowa. After graduating college and realizing there was no better time than now to launch a business, Josh decided to take the leap and pursue his dreams.

Below, Josh shares more about his passion for using social media to ignite and nurture conversations between consumers and brands.

Tell us more about Sculpt?

Through (social media) strategy, design and management, Sculpt solves business problems for the region’s busiest brands. Think of us as your outsourced digital think-tank and implementation team.

We get a thrill out of working with clients of all sizes and verticals (think billion dollar web companies to the neighborhood appliance store), but have built our reputation from our work within the local start-up community. Our go-to-market program helps launch, test, validate and grow brilliant (Iowa-based) technology start-ups.

What encouraged you to become a business owner?

I drifted through college with the notion that business ownership was for the experienced and the world of advertising would be my calling card. That changed after graduation when I realized there was no better time or place in the world to launch this business. I decided to take the leap and launch, a social media marketing agency based in Iowa City, Iowa.

Launching a social media marketing agency was my focus because social media has reached a state of maturity in the marketing mix. It’s no longer a maybe, it’s a must. That means product-market fit happened fast. We don’t have to “sell” digital to emerging and established brands, their customers have made the move and we can help them too. Boom, value!

I was also encouraged to start Sculpt by  Iowa’s Creative Corridor, which is committed to seeing start-ups scale. The organization is positioning Iowa to become the next Boulder or Austin. I’ve never been a part of a community so overwhelmingly inclusive and helpful. That’s made doing the unlikely (succeeding), very likely.

What advice would you share with other business owners?

The answer is always no until you ask.” There are countless support systems for entrepreneurs — from regional meetups to online communities. Why do this alone? There’s an assumption that other entrepreneurs, especially in your own space, are competitive and unapproachable. Our experience has taught us the opposite. Ask, and you will likely receive.

What is your secret to success?

At Sculpt, we know that 1+1 = 3, not 2. Or in other words, we believe in collaboration, not competition. It’s in our DNA — both of our offices offer coworking space, leading to unexpected collisions with people and potential partners we never would have imagined. We team up with other marketing firms, start-ups, non-profits, university organizations — you name it. The exposure helps us grow.

We also have an infectious culture at Sculp. We pick people with personality and spark and give them uninterrupted freedom to “make.” That produces happy people. And the ROI of happiness is really, really high (Side note: we have a Head of Happiness on staff).

To reach a member of the Sculpt team, visit http://wearesculpt.com/contact/ or connect with them at https://twitter.com/wearesculpt. Sculpt also welcomes you to swing by their office if you ever find yourself in Iowa City!