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A top axiom for success in business is: See a need and provide an answer.
About six years ago, Gary Press was chairman and CEO of Lifestyle Media Group, which consisted of the Lifestyle and Life brands of magazines in Broward County. He and I had talked about reuniting since we had spent a decade working together at the South Florida Business Journal where he was publisher and I was his editor-in-chief. Gary is one of the most creative and enthusiastic business leaders you could ever meet, but I balked at being editor of his lifestyle magazines, saying something like, “Do I look like the health, beauty and home decor guy?”
The conversation took a big turn when he came up with the idea of launching a regional business magazine. As the dailies shrank and the Business Journal pivoted to be digitally oriented during my last years there, which was after Gary left, we perceived a need for the nation’s eighth-most populous region to have its own business magazine. I re-enlisted with Gary and spent about a year as Lifestyle editor as we developed the concept for SFBW and ramped up sales. We debated the name of the magazine a bit and decided that “wealth” would be part of its name, since business and wealth go hand in hand.
Our first step was a prototype issue that featured David Beckham on the cover and his quest for a soccer stadium site in Miami. We received a lot of positive support as we ramped up to launch the first issue in September 2014. Many of Gary’s closest friends supported our initial issues, for which we are very grateful. Our very talented creative guru, Lifestyle Media Group Creative Director Melanie Smit, came up with the design, colors and typography for the magazine. She found the Abraham Lincoln typeface used in the headline at the top of the page and our Liberation body type. Art director Frank Papandrea is the talented artist and designer who creates the look of each issue with input from Melanie.
We’ve had many articles about disruption in the world of business and amid print industry disruption we had to come up with a successful strategy as we launched SFBW.
To me it all starts with our readers. SFBW has a hand-picked audience of C-suite executives, business owners and partners. Our readers are the elite business decision-makers in South Florida. We carefully compiled a database of companies with $3 million and up in revenue and then selected the top managers.
Second, we look to engage the business community face-to-face way in a fun and thoughtful way. Gary had already started our “CEO Connect” series at the Lifestyle magazines and we switched that over to SFBW. We structured these as invitation-only events so we could have the right mix of attendees. Gary also has a philosophy of connecting people and we have set up many lunch meetings to introduce people so they can do business together.
The engagement has grown to include three major awards programs: The C-suite-oriented Apogee Awards, the Excellence in HR Awards and Up & Comers for high achievers under 40. Gary is a fun-loving guy and we always have lively entertainment and plenty of energy in the room. We subsequently added a “CEO Connect Women of Influence” series and an array of industry panel discussions.
We have developed a full media agency with Melanie’s creative team and the expertise of Digital Marketing Director Cheryl Snyder. Design, print, digital, events? We’ve got it covered.
Of course, all of this would be for naught without sales talent. I want to give a big shout out to Associate Publisher Clayton Idle, who has been leading our team during most of SFBW’s existence. He is incredibly creative, fun to work with and adored by our clients.
Finally, thanks to our faithful readers and advertisers. I like to think that we have jointly created a medium for information, insight, conversation and relationships that is helping elevate business in South Florida. This is a wonderful region for doing business, and I expect SFBW will continue to play a key role. ♦