Andrew and Katrina MacDonald feel a deep sense of pride when they see a small business flourishing.
For the past five years, they’ve developed long-term relationships with their clients and assisted with brand awareness, website development, social media presence and more.
Kasama was born from a need to help businesses in Hastings County take their presence online. After relocating from Toronto with their family, Andrew and Katrina learned that 60 percent of local small businesses didn’t have an effective online presence.
“We thought to ourselves, ‘there’s an opportunity here’, and thought we could maybe do one website a week,” Andrew explained. Five years later, the Stirling residents are busier than ever collaborating with entrepreneurs to build effective websites, which in turn help grow their clientele and expand their brand awareness.
“It’s about building relationships, that’s why we love what we do,” Katrina said. “A lot of the entrepreneurs we meet who are starting out aren’t sure what to do. They know they need a website but they aren’t sure how to connect the two.”
Clients often contact Kasama because they’re feeling overwhelmed and aren’t familiar with digital marketing, she added. While some clients may be active on social media, Andrew and Katrina believe a professional, clean website with clear, targeted information is something every business should have.
“Social media is a handshake, but your website is your digital storefront, and you need to have a presence at your storefront,” Andrew said, adding that recently, Kasama assisted a local contractor with developing a logo and website – a step that has entirely changed how his business operates.
“He now stands out because he has a website and a logo. He looks professional, and it sets up a level of trust. When people visit his website, they now know they are working with someone who is established,” Andrew said.
That client is just one of many Kasama has connected with in recent months. In fact, despite difficult times for businesses with the impact of COVID-19, Kasama has seen an uptake in clients throughout 2020, assisting five new start-ups, three located in Hastings County. The numbers are a positive indication that small business is alive and well in the area.
“We’re bursting with pride to see all of these businesses starting,” Katrina said, adding that Kasama aims to give businesses a running start with a great website that’s simple, yet strategic, and easily maintainable.
“We help them build their business, but we also do a lot of training, so they have the tools available to them when we hand everything over,” Andrew said. “We don’t want to chain them to working on high-end platforms.”
At the same time, the relationships Kasama builds with its customers are long-term.
“We can always have that ongoing relationship. We are a personal marketing team and we’re always accessible to our clients.”
“We knew it wouldn’t be a culture shock for us when we came here and saw the neighbourhood,” Katrina said. “It just seemed friendlier, with more greenery, and it was walkable” like many of the quieter areas in Toronto.
Recently, Kasama has worked in conjunction with Hastings County to provide educational webinars to help coach entrepreneurs about the importance of a great online persona. That, paired with services offered through Kasama, has helped dozens of area businesses establish a memorable online presence.
“We really want to bring value to the community,” Andrew said. “We want to help our businesses become remarkable.”