New Target was named “Small Business of the Year” by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. New Target was among approximately a dozen nominees in the Small Business category.The award was announced at the Chamber’s annual Business Awards Dinner, which was held this year at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in Alexandria. Evaluation criteria included feedback from client interviews and work within and for the Alexandria community. After learning that many New Target clients had been interviewed as part of the evaluation and judging process, New Target President Laura Machanic said of the award, “I view this award as acknowledgement and appreciation from the community and our clients for our hard work during the past 10 years. It’s a great honor. We will continue to work hard serving each and every client as we continue our exciting growth in the fast-moving world of technology and the Web.”
Highlights from the program’s Q&A series, as answered by Laura Machanic, follow:
1. What is the core product/service of your business and why do you believe it has been successful?
Web sites — we design, develop, host, and market leading web sites and web-based business systems. I believe our success comes from our ability to make an oftentimes complex undertaking feel manageable and approachable for our clients. And of course it also comes from the end result — beautiful and functional web sites that serve a client’s business or organization.
2. Why did you decide to locate your business in Alexandria?
As a native Alexandrian and someone who knew she’d start her own business someday, Alexandria was a logical place to establish New Target. I was back in Alexandria after almost a decade out of the area and ready to work for myself; I knew I’d be able to leverage many of my lifelong contacts so took the plunge and started New Target. We began in a tiny room within an executive suites office, coincidentally one that my dad had established and sold many years earlier.
3. What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business?
Attracting and keeping talented, committed people is a constant challenge in the fast-paced market of Washington, DC, one of the most competitive technology markets in the U.S.. Keeping your team challenged, inspired, and well compensated is a never-ending part of the cycle of business. I’m not sure we will ever completely overcome this challenge but creating a culture within the business that people want to be a part of is the beginning.
When you do lose a good employee – it has happened to us all – there is always opportunity for other team members to take on more responsibility and grow. Making the needed shift is always challenging but you adapt and usually come out ahead.
4. How has being a member of the Chamber benefitted your business?
The Chamber has provided us so many opportunities to build relationships with fellow business owners, work with like-minded businesses as our vendors and strategic partners, and influence the decisions that occur here in Alexandria that will ultimately affect our business. Being part of the Chamber has made everyone in our business feel invested in our community. We’re already invested in our clients, in our team, and, in our case, in the Web and the technologies we work with, but to also know you’re an integral part of your community brings immeasurable satisfaction to your work.
5. What is your favorite thing about Alexandria?
I love the small town feel of Alexandria where you might run into your banker or your lawyer at the grocery store, or your neighbor or your godmother at a business event. I love that at just about any event – social or business – I see people from all parts of my life. And, most importantly, it’s all within minutes of all the action of a world class city. Alexandria is the best of both worlds—being part of a small community where you can make a difference, while enjoying the culture and pace of a big city. After living in New York and Moscow, being so close to DC makes Alexandria the perfect mix for me.
If I could pick another favorite thing about Alexandria, it’s our history. The fact that our streets, buildings, parks and river all have been part of our country’s history makes me feel I live and work in a significant place. I live in a historic home and walk my dog along streets where trade and commerce have occurred for centuries. How unique!
6. Do you have any advice for other Alexandria business owners?
Take care of your clients, every single one of them. No matter how small or large, they’ll likely be the source of your next referral or serve as a reference. Build your business one client at a time.