Genna Keller | Crain's Atlanta

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Genna Keller


Trevelino/Keller launched 14 years ago. The digital public relations and marketing agency operates primarily in technology, health, financial services, food and beverage, franchising, environment and lifestyle. The firm works with such clients as Carvana, College Football Hall of Fame and Atlanta Bread Company. 

The Mistake:

As creative minds, as well as entrepreneurs, we are always drawn to new ideas and innovations. But sometimes pursuing a new venture—even as a natural extension of core business—can inspire the wrong outcome. 

As a service business, we went about creating a new project centered around a segment close to our hearts: startups. What resulted was Start-Opia, a directory-driven web portal and information ecosystem that connected startups with capitalists, experts, associations and supporting organizations.

The resources it took to build, nurture, grow and maintain this community were extensive. It became our “night” job. After we launched the property, we found ourselves focusing on the core “traditional” web and social metrics used to define success—quantity of companies, investors and supporting organizations as well as traffic to the site. While the property was designed to be complementary to our core business, it began to distract us and utilized resources that could have been better allocated in other areas. 

More may not be better.

The Lesson:

More may not be better. We had (and continue to have) a strong body of knowledge surrounding startups and the community that supports growing companies. Our expertise and relationships are strong. We did not need a dedicated, ever-growing property to show our expertise. We only needed to focus on our community to reinforce our commitment to startups. 

New products and services can certainly help a business in our case, our existing body of knowledge and community connections were sufficient. Leveraging expertise and showcasing passion can often be done by creating less and leveraging thought leadership more.

Follow Trevelino/Keller on Twitter @TrevelinoKeller.

Photo courtesy of Trevelino/Keller.

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