Our History

past_coversSmart Business Network was founded in 1989 by three entrepreneurial visionaries, including the current President and CEO Fred Koury. They set up operations in a tiny, one-room office in Rocky River, Ohio, and started publishing a 16-page publication every other month, serving small businesses on the West Side of Cleveland.

From the beginning, the editorial focus of Smart Business Network’s publications was unique. Where traditional business publications reported on the news of large companies and entire industries, Smart Business Network focused instead on helping the owners and managers of smaller companies survive and prosper. Our rapid growth began with our unique editorial content and aggressive sales team.

The publication caught on quickly, adding both large and small companies as advertisers. In late 1989, Smart Business Network began publishing monthly issues, and the network quickly expanded to 17 magazines, with a new focus on the middle market, garnering the attention of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. More and more businesses found the combination of quality articles, affordable advertising rates and aggressive promotion a compelling reason to become loyal clients. Some of the nation’s top CEOs, including Wayne Huizenga, Bill Ford Jr. and Les Wexner were soon featured on the cover of Smart Business Magazine.

In the late 1990s, Smart Business Network made a critical move into the middle market, an underserved niche of companies with 20-1,000 employees. By narrowing our focus to senior decision-makers of these mid-sized companies, Smart Business Network captured a unique market position.

As our markets and clients have adapted to embrace new technologies and platforms for growth, we’ve adapted with them by enhancing our offerings to meet their present-day needs. Propelling this evolution was the acquisition of a custom content firm, a full-service multimedia company and a full-service e-marketing services company, which allowed us to launch our own interactive, content-driven marketing firm, SBN Interactive, in 2012.

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Today, Smart Business Network boasts clients such as Avery Dennison, Cleveland Clinic, RPM, PNC Bank, EY and Assurex Global, and also has thriving books and events divisions. Moving forward, we will continue to grow by focusing on what sets us apart — quality content — and acquiring talented people and businesses that deepen our value proposition for clients.