A northwest Iowa woman is being named the Iowa Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Becki Drahota, of Storm Lake, is founder and president of Mills Financial Marketing, what she describes as an integrated financial marketing firm. Drahota explains what set aside her company of 11 workers.
Drahota says: "We have a small staff, but with technology and with outsourcing, which we’ve been able to really strategically leverage, we can work like a much larger company. And when you live in Storm Lake, you don’t have commute times. You’re much more efficient working in Iowa. We have the best work ethic of any company I know."
Drahota started the company in 1975 at the age of 25. It has since grown from one account to clients all over the region, with annual billings the last three years averaging one-point-four million dollars.
She says "We travel to 15 states for all of our clients and can give them what they need that usually they would have to go to an ad agency that would have 50 or 60 employees. We decided long ago that we couldn’t be good at everything, so we decided to be very good in one particular industry and then stay there, stay focused."
Drahota says her firm provides research, planning, brand development, creative execution, public relations and training to banks, credit unions and other companies in the financial industry. She says "We provide everything from strategic research to sales training and everything in between for financial institutions." As the 2007 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year, Drahota will represent Iowa in April at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., where she will compete for the national S.B.A. award.