Matthew S. Bargell: NORDEN41 Design

Small Business Champion Interview

As a professional graphic designer spanning 25 years, I’ve designed and collaborated on numerous successful creative web and print publishing projects for both small and high-profile companies. I currently am the owner and lead designer at my creative/design agency in North Denver called, NORDEN41.

How do you measure success?
My measurement for success (at least for business) is really quite simple. It’s called the “Return Customer.” A Return Customer is a satisfied customer and this does not only pay dividends in repeat business but usually extends to word-of-mouth marketing for one’s business. Regarding personal success, I don’t think anyone can go wrong by getting paid for doing something they love. Passion, Personal Growth, Travel, Kindness and Tolerance are a few of my favorite attributes and are the ones that I consider to be prevalent in most successful people.

What is the biggest “happy accident” you have had in starting your business?
Ironically, the biggest “happy accident” for me was when I was seriously considering a new business concept in a completely different industry. I actually went down the road of exploring this new business and with the help of Denver’s SBDC, it was this process that made me realize my true passion — graphic design and brand development. I learned that “reaffirmation,” in itself, can be a powerful tool in business.

When have you been the most satisfied in your life?
Aside from the cliché: “When I hear the laughter of my children,” which happens to be true for me, it was probably the year when I realized that I had what it takes to make a good living and be my own boss.

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting your business?
I wish I could share something profoundly inspiring here. That said, my favorite piece of advice was a simple quote I read many years ago from the famous car-racing owner and enthusiast, Roger Penske: “Effort equals Results.” In other words, work hard, do your due diligence, persevere and good things will happen.

What is your biggest struggle in being a small business owner (and/or starting a small business)?
Managing growth vs risk. I truly care about my employees and their families so I never want to be put in a position where I have to lay someone off. Growing a company requires some financial risk and managing the impact on cash flow and revenue streams must be carefully considered before adding staff or equipment.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now what would you be doing?
I would either be a chef at a boutique restaurant or a mechanic in a vintage automotive restoration business.