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A Cincinnati-based creative agency is helping small businesses and entrepreneurs find themselves through marketing and brand analysis. Learn more about this business and the triathlon that started it all.

Patrick McGilvray, Founder of Focus 5 Design.
Patrick McGilvray, Founder of Focus 5 Design.

Based in Cincinnati, Focus 5 Design is on a mission to help small businesses and entrepreneurs build a brand that stands out among the rest. “We work with a variety of businesses and brands, but a good number of our clients are in the food and beverage industry,” explains Owner Patrick McGilvray.

Working with businesses in the food and beverage industry works out to McGilvray’s advantage, as he spent 15 years running restaurants and authoring a successful foodie blog called The Vegan Road.

Despite his years of experience, McGilvray was fearful of venturing out on his own to start a business, but something changed after he completed an Ironman triathlon in 2013. Following the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, he heard the announcer say, “Patrick McGilvray, YOU are an IRONMAN,” and something inside him changed.

“I realized at that moment that I could do anything,” he says. “I went from feeling like I wasn’t good enough to feeling awesome, confident and capable of remarkable things.”

Two months after the Ironman competition, McGilvray decided that he wasn’t going to let fear dictate his path. “I started slowly with a few clients and the business has grown steadily ever since,” he says. “I had so much work coming in that I had to quit my corporate job at the end of 2014.”

As the owner and creative director of Focus 5 Design, McGilvray is involved in every project the business takes on, but he’s also got a group of talented designers and copywriters to help with the creative work.

Focus 5 Design aims to help entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry find their brand.
Focus 5 Design aims to help entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry find their brand.

“We get a lot of joy from working with makers, people who have made something themselves,” he explains. “It could be an artisan food product or a small-batch beer.”

The problems Focus 5 Design clients encounter could be knowing what makes them stand out in a crowded marketplace or how their brands need to become more infused into everything they’re doing. To help with these issues, Focus 5 Design offers a variety of brand development services.

Some of the services offered by Focus 5 Design include brand analysis to help clients determine who their customers are, who their competition is and where they sit in the marketplace. There’s also brand discovery and ideation, where clients figure out their purpose, impact and the story they are telling. Other services include brand strategy, brand standards and brand marketing.

“Essentially, we help our clients tell a compelling story, one that connects them emotionally with their intended audience, we help them stand out in a noisy marketplace and we help them build a brand and a business they can be proud of,” says McGilvray.

What McGilvray enjoys the most about running Focus 5 Design is helping clients see their business as more than just a job. “I love it when we finish a project and the client can look at the work we’ve done together and be proud of what they’ve built,” he says. “That’s what gets me out of bed every morning.”

In 2016, McGilvray says that he hopes to expand the reach of Focus 5 Design while helping more businesses realize their true potential. He plans to pull together more creatives to help Focus 5 Design produce better work for more clients. “I am also collaborating with a couple of other passionate leaders in the industry to help support entrepreneurs and business owners through community-driven events, brand-building workshops and a series of business courses,” says McGilvray. He plans to release more details on these ventures soon.

McGilvray says that he encourages others to listen to his podcast, where he interviews business owners and entrepreneurs and have open conversations about their businesses. “They share what’s working, what’s not, what’s challenging them, what’s inspiring them and lessons learned,” he says. “As a small business owner, it can feel like you’re all alone, figuring everything out as you go and it’s all on you! Hearing these stories from other business owners in the community is a great way to feel supported, encouraged and inspired.”

Learn more about Focus 5 Design by visiting their website. You can also send McGilvray an email to learn more about what the creative agency does or to see samples of their work. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter and listen to the Focus5 Design podcast on iTunes.

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