How SCORE helped. 

Steve Cabeza began studying digital marketing trends when the industry was still in its infancy. The year was 2008, and Cabeza, then a marketing and public-relations executive in the University of Miami health system, was intrigued by the possibilities. He started doling out digital marketing advice to friends who owned businesses. Then the economy tanked, Cabeza was laid off, and he saw a business opportunity. He began taking on clients.

In 2010, Cabeza, a creative type who had worked in healthcare marketing and publishing, partnered with family friend Marnie S. Hoppe, who had expertise in financial marketing and operations, to create Amplification Inc., a social-media marketing firm in Davie.

Their first clients were businesses they signed on through word-of-mouth and networking events. “We didn’t have a lot of resources, and we bootstrapped the company,” Cabeza said. “I didn’t have a job, but Marnie was working, so she paid to put our website up and underwrote the early days.”

Meanwhile, the economy was crashing and businesses were closing left and right. “People thought we were insane,” Cabeza said. But the partners pushed on. Mickey Byrne’s Irish Pub in Hollywood and Miami-Dade Parks were two of the company’s original clients.

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Small Business Makeover: Amping up a social-media company