"When I took my account to PNC, a long-term conversation began about my goals and how the bank could help me achieve them. I feel confident knowing that my banking team and I are always on the same page."
Turning Bad Times into Good Business
For many entrepreneurs, the harsh economy has presented overwhelming challenges. For Charlene Burke, who has established four interrelated businesses since 2008, it has delivered great opportunity.
"I began my first company, Burke Research Services, in 2008 to provide market research and competitive intelligence to the corporate community," says Charlene, an engineer whose expertise runs the gamut from electronics and robotics to marketing and sales management. "But within a matter of months, our customers, looking at an economy on the verge of collapse, started asking us for e-mail campaigns, analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) for their Web sites as well. That's when I established what has become my anchor business, Search by Burke."
Search by Burke is a full-service online marketing agency that helps client achieve their online marketing goals. "We work with clients who want their Web site to be an active member of their sales team," Charlene explains. "As their in-store traffic wanes, these businesses are turning to their Web sites as revenue streams."
Burke Research Services, along with Charlene's two newest businesses, Rescue My Reputation and Online Marketing Pros (both established in 2010), provide automated tools and professional resources that complement Search by Burke's core services. Together, the businesses offer Web site design, SEO, analytics, social media marketing, online reputation management, market research, video marketing, blogging and other services designed to strengthen clients' online success.
An Empire Built on Networking
While Charlene's technical expertise forms the foundation of her businesses, her penchant for networking has also been key to her entrepreneurial success. Her involvement with the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AiiP) was pivotal to building a national network of client prospects prior to her launch of Burke Research Services. Her participation in the Louisville chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) led her to Sheryl Connelly, CEO of Marketing Media Management. Together, they established Online Marketing Pros, through which the duo lead workshops focused on online marketing and social media. And her role as Louisville chapter director with Women On A Mission To Earn Commission (WOAMTEC) keeps her in touch with local women business leaders.
In fact, Charlene found PNC through a WOAMTEC function and was delighted to discover all that PNC offered to women business owners. "PNC treats me like a million-dollar client even though I'm not yet," she says. "What's more, when I took my account to PNC, a long-term conversation began about my goals and how the bank could help me achieve them. I feel confident knowing that my banking team and I are always on the same page."