Bob Bartosiewicz, Founder, Owner, and CEO of CGI Communications, Inc., a Rochester, NY-based marketing company that specializes in digital marketing for small and medium-sized businesses.
Bob Bartosiewicz was born and raised in the small Town of Thomaston, CT. Coming from a large, hard-working family, Bob always had a passion and drive that set him apart from others. In his youth, Bob channeled this passion into sports where he learned many valuable lessons about leadership and teamwork. After graduating from Western Connecticut State University, Bob began his career in sales and quickly emerged as a top performer among his peers. Bob was driven and was always looking for ways to grow as an individual and a leader. These early experiences instilled within him many of the key concepts he uses today when hiring, developing, and retaining the best within his organization.
It did not take Bob many years in the private sector to realize that his energy and drive were best suited towards building something of his own. Bob saw a need in the market and saw a path to create something different for communities across America. He began selling hand-drawn maps of cities, towns, and communities which created pride for businesses which drew people into their stores, and instilled long-lasting memories within anyone that saw one of his iconic maps. Throughout this foundational experience, Bob coined one of his most famous mantras: we will be different, and if our ‘different’ is better, we win.”
What started as a small, single office has evolved to be CGI Communications, Inc. with over 300 employees and several satellite offices. CGI is one of upstate New York’s top-performing growth companies and is well-positioned for the future.
When not at the office, Bob has a passion for spending time with his wife and four children and collecting rare and classic cars.
Where did the idea for CGI Communications come from?
It really started as Community Graphics, an illustrated promotional map of community businesses represented on the maps by their logos, etc. As a company, we began to transition and focus on video in the early days as it started to take off on the internet. We developed city and chamber of commerce video initiatives which allowed us to market and sell video to local businesses early on, and grew the business right along with the growth of video popularity all over the country. We also worked hard to develop our partnerships with groups like the US Conference of Mayor’s and the National League of Cities which expanded our influence and reach significantly.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Early mornings are spent with focused meetings with my team through discussion, analyzing market trends, looking at our product mix, and how it can be improved. Taking a look at things that other companies need or things that we need as a company, which then transfers into product lines, because we know if we need it, then other companies are going to need it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Moment of insight
—- Another way we look at this is —-
Answering the question: ‘What are the problems we are facing?’
Creating & Refining what a solution may look like.
Eating our own dog food, getting feedback from our own employees, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Bringing these products to trusted colleagues for their honest and direct feedback.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The shift to remote work and the necessity for companies to have a digital culture.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Always thinking about what’s next. Thinking about the psychology of the marketplace, the psychology of our clients, and the psychology of our employees, making sure those are all in a cohesive framework. That makes sense for me mentally, but I help make it make sense for our company as a whole.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to stay with it. Listen to your intuition, work harder than everyone else. Like I know you will and have, continue on your integrity-driven process. I learned that in my youth from my parents. Above all, stay the course.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Many people believe you must either stay the course or you can leap forward with new initiatives and stay unrelenting in your drive for continual growth–we believe you can do both.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continually analyze where you’re at in the present sense, staying engaged in real-time, and at the same time, look at what the future could potentially bring. Then how to bring that about while utilizing what has been learned in the past to repeat the successes and minimize the failures.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Build a very strong infrastructure. Keep it fresh with product innovations, make sure employees feel and stay engaged, and continue to drive leadership to new levels of excellence while maintaining and improving on their past successes.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
This sounds terrible. but as I thought about this question deeply, I have to say I don’t view anything I have done as a failure because at each setback I learned something and used it to build stronger and better mousetraps. Every perceived failure to me is a learning opportunity and challenge. It is only failure if you give up.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Virus Killing Non-Fogging COVID Masks.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The last hundred dollars I invested in AMC.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Basically the mobile phone and the internet, wherever I’m at. I can access whatever I need on my phone. I can stay in contact with leadership, I’m able to monitor sales, and keep track of how the entire company is moving.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh
What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.