Next Step Communications, run by the father-son team of Greg and Mitch Hannoosh, is adapting with the ways of marketing and communications, namely, the internet — but Greg said companies will always need people dedicated to the craft.
Just because smartphones abound and information is everywhere, it's still not easy. Greg Hannoosh said. Next Step Communications is based in Kittery Point, Maine.
“They have a million-and-one ways to get marketing things done,” Hannoosh said. “They need outside help more often than not, they really do, if they want something done. And they've got to bring people in, and do it.”
Hannoosh started Next Step in 1996. That name was a literal one. Greg had worked for 10 years in the plastics industry, as director of marketing communications at Kona Corp., a builder of hot runners, and Dynisco Instruments, which makes sensors for inside molds. Dynisco acquired Kona in 1991, and Hannoosh assumed marketing communications duties for the worldwide Dynisco operations.
Greg Hannoosh said he had been out of college for about five years, working in other sectors, before he answered an ad in the local newspaper. Kona wanted a promotions manager; Hannoosh saw a chance to work at a small, then 19-employee company, that was gearing up for growth.
Then he left to build his own business. “I decided I wanted to move on,” he said, noting that a lot of good veteran co-workers had moved to other companies.
He gave himself three months: Next Step had to make enough money in that time to pay the family bills. “I was lucky enough to find three companies that were willing to pay me a monthly retainer,” he said. Good to go!
People ask Hannoosh why he took the leap. Hannoosh said he “never had any grand plans to be my own boss. It just kind of evolved and happened. I just decided one day to give it a try.”
He remembers in the 1990s when someone told him that since technology allowed companies to do their own marketing, “there's not going to be a need for you, or people like you, within five to 10 years.”
He agrees that there is a lot of good technology out there for making your own logos and graphic design, including photos. But people still have to get it done.
“The truth is that if you want to do it right, you have to hire full-time employees who are specialists, or bring in outside firms like ours,” Hannoosh said.
Greg Hannoosh brought in his son Mitch in 2012 to work full time. At first, Greg had regular meetings with Mitch to thoroughly go over each client, including their company culture, products, and their marketing needs. He also taught his son detailed information about the marketing sector, including print and on the web.
They both worked with clients at trade shows.
Greg said he is looking to retire in about 10 years. Mitch, over time, has assumed a much more hands-on role. Right now he is in graduate school full time at the University of Washington in Seattle, but he still is actively involved in Next Step Communications.
Thanks to technology, now it's possible to work remotely, on two sides of the United States. “It's not as difficult as I thought it would be,” Greg said. “You can pretty much carry on your business wherever you're located.”
Mitch moved to Seattle about a year ago. Another non-technical thing that ties father and son together is baseball. Both are avid Red Sox fans.