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Six Lessons Learned from Leng Vong Reiff of Akili Designs

July 14, 2017

Akili Designs and Marketing Services provides traditional marketing services and others such as web design, SEO and graphic design services.


Growing a Small Business

In the beginning Akili Design had a 200 square-foot office to a retail space of 1,000 square feet. Leng talks about hiring part-time employees in the first year to put product together when most of her business involved designing and putting together wedding invitations. She moved from wedding invitations to a full-service marketing firm, becoming certified to help clients make their mark online.

Akili started out networking to small businesses. Leng talks about joining chambers and attending community events. Through that networking, she met and secured a job through Star 102.5. Leng did whatever she needed to in order to get her name out. She attended as many events as she could to spread the word about her new business. The best way to get the word out there about your business, as an entrepreneur, is to share your passion. If you speak passionately about what you do, others will begin to feel that passion and believe in your business in turn.

With so much technology and so many entrepreneurs, programs and techniques change and evolve so often these days. Leng keeps up with conferences and other continuing education resources to keep current on trends and tools that give her a competitive edge in her market.

Leng says, “The more you charge, the more people trust you.” Don’t undervalue your own work. Your time and effort are worth so much, and that shows through the work you put out for your customers. If you charge more for your product or services, consumers will realize just how much your work is actually worth.

Writing a Business Plan

Leng explains how being a goal-oriented person, she had a partial business plan, but wasn’t too serious about it. After going full-time, she sat down and created a full plan. Leng says she sets big goals once a year. Once of those big goals was to start an event center. When the space next to her became available, she reached out to the owners to negotiate a price and began Agora Events Center.

Web Presence

Leng markets herself as being able to help businesses present themselves online. With clients, Akili focuses on the entire package, including web design on the front end, but also search engine optimization, pay-per-click and digital strategy. Public relations, social media and content marketing round out what Akili offers.

The Future of Akili

In the future, Leng hopes to continue to be a boutique business. She doesn’t want to grow so big that she can’t respond to clients personally.

Hear the stories of other small business and startup business owners in the community in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter to stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in DSM.

Christina Moffatt

Christina Moffatt serves as director of small business resources at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. She most recently served as Regional Director for the Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), overseeing Dallas, Polk, Jasper, Warren and Marion Counties. She is also the owner of the award-winning Crème Cupcake + Dessert, which she founded in 2010.