February 8, 2011

Blake Lawrence Turns CBA Inspiration into Small Business Success

When Blake Lawrence recently gave a presentation to CBA’s Small Business Growth and Development class he may have been giving back the same inspiration that he himself received just a short time ago. Lawrence, a marketing graduate from UNL who is now working on his MBA, was able to take the inspiration he received from Richard Kimbrough’s small business class and create a local business of his own called Hurrdat Social Media. Hurrdat helps small to medium sized businesses market their social media strategies and messages to consumers.

“The small business management class with Richard Kimbrough was really where I started to develop this internal desire to have my own business,” said Lawrence. “In April 2010, I met with Dr. Kimbrough and an investor here in town and discussed my idea for this business. The meeting was set up because of my relationship with Kimbrough and my idea for starting Hurrdat Social Media was improved by this investor. It gave me a lot of momentum going forward.”

Hurrdat currently handles the social media needs of dozens of clients from all over the world. They help companies utilize social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others to reach their consumers. Although the initial emphasis was on working with small to medium sized businesses, Hurrdat is also assisting musical artists and professional athletes develop their social media strategies.

Lawrence maintains that without his experiences at the UNL College of Business Administration he would not have gotten this far so quickly.

“Richard Kimbrough has been an essential part of my understanding the small business and how to make it happen. The small business class taught me to stick with it and that this was not just going to be a side project but a career path to becoming an entrepreneur.”

The undergraduate marketing classes Lawrence took at UNL also helped shape the ideas that went into Hurrdat.

“They probably don’t know it but there have been some amazing professors who’ve helped me to be where I am. Rob Simon was my initial marketing professor who really sparked an interest. I had Sanford Grossbart who was an incredible teacher who taught me about the integrated marketing communication strategy. Jim Gentry taught me about consumer behavior and helped me understand how you interact with certain customer types. Ron Hampton was an incredible leader and is someone students look up to. I learned a lot from him.”

Combining the marketing knowledge with his post-graduate studies such as the Small Business Growth and Development class, Lawrence has continued to flourish. He completed an internship with a company in New York City where he learned more about running a small business and the values it would take for Hurrdat to succeed.

Even when things don’t go as planned Lawrence now has a plan.

“I learned that you can’t stop after your first failure and that’s something that professors here instilled in me. I was able to take all those different things I’ve learned from the College of Business and put it all into play in the real world, and I’m only 21 years old.”

Lawrence, who played linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhusker football team founded his company with the help of former teammate and kicker Adi Kunalic. Kunalic is Hurrdat’s creative director.

“Adi designed the look and feel of our site and is in charge of our content creation for our current clients. We also have a marketing person in Kansas City and a graphic designer in Kansas.”

Beyond being a student and running Hurrdat Social Media, Lawrence is also being sought out to speak at various functions such as business summits, classroom talks, and student organization meetings. He will be speaking to the UNL American Marketing Association student organization meeting on Wednesday, February 9th at 7:00 pm in the Nebraska Union.

Of course, if you can’t get to any of Lawrence’s speaking engagements you can always connect with him at Hurrdat Social Media’s web site. Because for Blake Lawrence, there’s always one more connection to be made.

Hurrdat Social Media web site.