Rising from the ashes.
Of all the images that came out of 9/11, one of the most striking was that of businessman Ed Fine, whose ash-covered suit and handkerchief-covered face represented to many the physical and emotional struggle of that wrenching day. After his escape from the World Trade Center, he and his son Stuart focused even more attention on their New York-based company, Carpe DM, a public relations, investor relations, and business development firm. They brought together clients for a conference about the challenges of a public health emergency and the preparations needed to avert the next crisis. But they thought about the future too; CEO Stuart Fine talks about the company looks ahead as well.
How did Carpe DM get started?
We were founded in October 2000. I started it simply because the typical communications/ investor relations firm refused to use their available resources that would enable their clients to be more successful. I saw multiple opportunities to leverage business contacts as a way of generating additional revenues that were not being explored or being totally shunned. There was also no discrimination over the types and quality of the clients I was told I would be handling. I found myself representing people who I personally did not believe were honest or had a legitimate business proposition.
There are many business development firms, and the competition in this economic climate must be fierce. How do you set yourselves apart?
One of the ways we distinguish ourselves is to work in the best interest of the client and not ourselves. Simply put, we believe our clients’ success is the best form of marketing we can achieve. We use all of our available resources to see that we can make a contribution to the growth of our clients. I don’t simply want a client to generate my retainer fee, because they generally don’t become lifelong clients.
How has the company fared in this turbulent economy?
We’ve done very well this past year. Establishing yourself is difficult and the first year was very trying indeed. We kept the faith and continued to pursue leads and made as concerted an effort as we could to bring in our clients, and once we did, we did everything to try and keep them more than satisfied.
How did September 11th affect you, and the way your firm operated?
The events of September 11th didn’t really change how we felt or the way we did business. We were certainly in an immense state of shock during the event and the weeks that followed, but we already knew that the current business environment was going to be a difficult one. If anything, the event gave us some common ground to speak to several of our potential clients, and they in turn may have felt the reassurance that as a firm we were built to survive.
You and your father also have another business; how does it combine with Carpe DM?
There is a simple balance between Carpe DM and EIF Capital Services.
Carpe DM is really the amalgamation of the various business programs that we offer clients. A complete package, if you will. EIF Capital is an offshoot that is run by my father and is focused on his strengths in financial consulting. Some clients need more complete services, others only a portion. We don’t want to turn down business simply because they don’t want the deluxe package.
What do you see for Carpe DM’s future?
I believe that our future course is pretty set on continuing to build our business and our network. The key will be to continue to bring in new partners and new clients that round out our overall business and make the sum greater than whole. We want to have a situation where each partner/client benefits from the others you have brought in around them.
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