Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alfredo Mercedes, Founder of Blue Beacon Creative, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Blue Beacon Creative, we want to bring digital inclusivity to everyone! That's why we're on a mission to bring digital inclusivity to the world by creating ADA and WCAG-compliant UX designs and developing accessible websites. That means your website or store can reach 15-20% more of your audience, helping you boost sales, enhance your brand image, and seal the leaky gaps in your sales funnel. Our customers are nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, and startups in the Plant Based/Organic Products, Social Impact Films/Entertainment, Green Energy & Tech, Waste & Recycling, Government, Health & Wellness, and Higher Education Industries.
Tell us about yourself
Blue Beacon Creative is a company dedicated to creating ADA and WCAG-compliant UX designs and developing accessible websites for all. Our passionate team is on a mission to bring digital inclusivity to everyone and revolutionize the way we think about web accessibility. From my humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic and my identity as a gay man and member of the LGBTQ+ community, I know firsthand the value of equity and belonging. I experienced discrimination and exclusion, but I also saw the power of the internet to provide access to resources and life-changing opportunities.
Blue Beacon Creative's passion for digital inclusivity was ignited during my time working as a web developer. I was told to build quick and dirty landing pages without considering accessibility. When I questioned this approach, I was met with indifference. This pushed me to do some research, and I discovered that many top leaders in the industry were ignoring accessibility, leaving smaller businesses struggling with building inclusive websites due to the lack of skilled accessibility specialists. Motivated by my discovery, I founded Blue Beacon Creative in 2018. I wanted to empower businesses, designers, and developers to create usable and intuitive web experiences for everyone, including individuals with visual and hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, and mobility limitations.
Blue Beacon Creative is on a mission to fix the broken 90% of the internet by creating accessible websites and teaching digital inclusivity. We have worked with nonprofits across the US, Europe, and the Caribbean, winning web design awards. I hold certifications as a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) and a Certified Interaction Designer from the Nielsen Norman Group. Determined to pave the way for internet equality, Blue Beacon Creative promotes liberty, justice, and equality for everyone online. We believe that inclusive design isn't just a trend; it's what the world deserves. Through our work, we help businesses tap into untapped markets, reduce marketing costs, and promote inclusivity.
Today, as accessibility specialists, Blue Beacon Creative aims to raise awareness and inspire action among businesses, UX designers, and web developers worldwide. We want to ensure that your brand can deliver inclusive design and make a real difference in the lives of the 20% of the global population living with disabilities. Join us on our journey to create a more inclusive digital world for everyone.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is securing a stable six-figure one-year monthly retainer. For many small businesses, maintaining consistent cash flow is a major challenge. This accomplishment allowed me to focus on business development and enhance the customer experience. Ultimately, working on numerous projects and making money is not enough. To build a successful business, it's crucial to deliver an outstanding customer experience that fosters trust. Customer service plays a significant role in achieving this trust. Simply making quick, short-term gains from customers without providing a digital presence that offers a return on their investment is not beneficial for my business. That's why my primary focus is on ensuring customer satisfaction and delivering tangible results.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner, especially when starting up, can be a real rollercoaster. You've got a ton of stuff to juggle all at once, like building a kickass team, keeping the cash flowing, developing a top-notch product or service, and making sure your customers are happy. Trust me; it can be a wild ride! It's like you're trying to build an airplane while it's already in the air. Sure, it's not for everyone, but if you're up for the challenge, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. One thing that's super important, and often tricky to nail down, is finding the right balance between your personal and professional life. You've got to give both areas the attention they deserve to make sure you're feeling good and setting yourself up for long-term success. So, embrace the journey, and remember that the ups and downs of being a business owner are what makes the victories even more amazing and worthwhile.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Prioritize accessibility and inclusivity: As you create your product or service, keep in mind the importance of digital inclusivity. Design your website and online presence to be ADA and WCAG-compliant, ensuring that everyone, including people with disabilities, can access and benefit from what you offer. This not only helps you tap into untapped markets but also positions your brand as responsible and forward-thinking.
- Focus on customer satisfaction and experience: Make sure you're not just chasing quick wins but genuinely investing in your customers' happiness. A satisfied customer is more likely to trust your brand, come back for more, and recommend you to others. Keep the lines of communication open, actively seek feedback, and always strive to improve your products or services based on your customers' needs.
- Embrace the journey and maintain balance: Starting and growing a business can be a rollercoaster ride, filled with challenges and triumphs. Remember to strike a balance between your personal and professional life, giving both the attention they deserve. Stay flexible, learn from your experiences, and maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude, even in the face of setbacks. This resilience and adaptability will help you navigate the ups and downs of business ownership and set you up for long-term success.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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