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Carlton Signature Publishing & PR, LLC

Farmington Hills, Michigan

Carlton Peeples

What's the name of your business and where is it located?
Carlton Signature Publishing & PR, LLC is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

What motivated you to start your own business?
I’ve always been motivated to own my own business. I went to school for Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Detroit Mercy. That’s when I began to dive deeper into the various aspects of public relations and marketing. So, I’ve been doing PR for several years.

Many of my professional friends and colleagues would ask me to assist them. Not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, restaurant franchises and other business began to take interest. Once word spread, I needed to manage the requests and find a platform to deliver services.

Was it difficult to get your business started?
Because I started as a writer, I began to gain access to decision makers and other persons of interest, and my network grew. The difficulty came in finding resources to get started. I found myself always on the phone making calls, going to meeting after meeting with little success. I underestimated the importance of having a mentor and a plan.

So, I took a chance and contacted a colleague from one the area’s larger and more successful firms. He’s been in business 30 years; if he couldn’t teach me a thing or two, no one could. He was able to mentor me and give me some background on what it takes to start and stay in business. I thought out my strategy and found my niche. We’ve been able to go after the more difficult accounts with a greater level of success.

How would you describe where your business is presently?
We’re growing. I was able to put together a core team of account managers as a result of the growth we’ve experienced.

What's your clientele like?
We’ve gotten some diverse clients; from grassroots organizations and public institutes to consumer products and restaurant franchises. It’s been an even mix of long and short-term accounts. Among them are Domino’s Pizza, the Detroit Public Library, Sav-A-Lot, and the Ambreose Collection.  

Do you think Detroit is fertile land for small businesses like yours?
Yes, I believe Detroit has more potential than people give it credit. I believe in this city, every corner has opportunity in it! We have need for enterprising Detroiters.

Do you find more young people like yourself interested in starting their own businesses?
Starting a business creates a deeper sense of ownership. It’s a good feeling to know that you are a stakeholder in a city you call home. I believe with all of the politics and media swirling about the state of the city, young people need and want that.

What is the risk of starting one's own business?
There’s a learning curve that comes with owning your own business. Many people think that failing at business is a bad thing. The reality is, people who are successful at one business, have a trail of bad ones. The key is to learn from the mistakes you’ve made and avoid making them again. Cliché I know, but it is real. The biggest risk is starting something without a clear focus of what the company’s goal is.

What would you say the city of Detroit needs to specifically do to encourage more small businesses?
Working in concert with the State, offering incentives that encourage college-graduate retention would be a start. Tax incentives and/or credits for new small businesses that are in within city limits should be offered. Empowerment grants for businesses that are located outside of Downtown, New Center, and Art /Culture district to encourage neighborhood and/or community growth.

Where do you see your business growing into in the next five years?
I see Carlton Signature expanded to a larger office space with approximately 20 open house accounts and a dedicated team with contracts tied to Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, Fortune 500 companies, and several public figures.

I believe it is a reasonable goal and we have the steps in place and relationships to meet and exceed that goal.

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