July 23, 2021
Jeremy Durant is the Business Principal at Bop Design, a marketing communications agency dedicated to assisting companies and organizations in developing their brand through effective design and integrated marketing systems.
- In terms of development, cost, and quality, working with outsourced companies is beneficial. It's as simple as taking those cost savings and passing them along to your customer.
- It is simpler to retain employees when you are not overly aggressive in terms of growth; it is preferable to keep things moderate, steady, and disciplined.
- “There's a perception. If you have an office, that means you're more established.” - Jeremy
- When you’re starting out as an agency it's crucial to concentrate on variable costs as much as possible.
- From a growth perspective, an average of 150,000 to 200,000 in revenue per employee is a good starting point for a web design agency.
- While working with an outsourced or an offshore company, any task or skill that you're outsourcing requires you to have employees on your team that have the same skills.
- LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremydurant/
- Bop Design - https://www.linkedin.com/company/bop-design/
- Entering a saturated market is bad news, especially when you're coming from a different background.
June 29, 2021
Nancy Lyons is the Co-founder and CEO of Clockwork, a Minneapolis-based design and development agency of thinkers and doers. They transform businesses by uniting people, processes, and technology around business solutions.
- Starting as an agency at present, data is your best friend. With Market analysis and research, you can accurately determine your strengths by figuring out where you fit? Who you are talking to and what do they want?
- Be mindful of your strategy and revisit it in a timely manner. Regular conversations about strategy will help you formulate a roadmap to follow.
- “I often tell people that sometimes we're limited by the limitations of our prospects or our clients' understandings, because they call us when they need what they think we do.” - Nancy
- “When you're able to clearly articulate absolutely what you do, and the value that your prospects can expect from that absolute thing. I think it makes it much easier to drive interest in your brand and your offering.” - Nancy
- When you’re building a business plan start by figuring out what is it that you’re trying to accomplish? What do you want? What is your business focus? How do you expect to scale?
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancylyons/
Clockwork - https://www.clockwork.com/
Nancy - https://www.nancylyons.com/
- The American dream that hard work and perseverance are a sure-shot way of making it big in the country and it’s never about the privileges.
June 21, 2021
Erin Young is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Slide UX, a family-run business that specializes in UX. They help clients establish great user experiences, utilizing the best UX design practices that include integrated business strategy, user research, UI design, and cross-functional collaboration. They’ve been named one of the best UX agencies five years in a row.
- The real value of UX research is understood through opportunity cost. Try asking “What would it cost if you got on the wrong foot with wrong assumptions?” User Research might help you choose the right options from the get-go.
- Competitive research can provide deep insights but it's not user research.
- Now that the companies are recognizing that digital is imperative and carries more weight than ever before, it has changed the way they are distributing their budget.
- "Every company reaches that point where they have to delegate, or they have to divide decision-making to make all of the decisions they have to make" - Erin
- To facilitate the free flow of communication and humanize remote culture, organize weekly meetings as a senior leadership team, prepare an agenda ahead of time with space for comments, and most importantly take notes.
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlynnyoung/
Slide UX - https://slideux.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/slideux?lang=en
- You can save time by skipping user research.
June 15, 2021
Jeff Archibald is the Managing Director of Paper Leaf, a full-stack website, app, and software development firm. Their products have received awards and accolades, and they are also recognized as one of Canada’s top firms by Strategy Magazine and Clutch.
- As an Agency Owner, you need to step out of roles that are not strategic and uses your time productively. It is difficult, but you have to make that shift from a tactical to a strategic mindset. This is quite crucial for the early growth phase.
- Organize your processes, divest the skill sets amongst the group, and become a profitable company. This is the right way to structure a business vis-a-vis someone simply showing an interest in acquiring your business. In case someone does show up, be a willing participant in those conversations
- When considering an acquisition offer, do your due diligence, identify the financial red flags and ensure that any risks that you’re taking are mutually shared.
- “You need to understand that you're going to have to take on some risk, and the acquiring party is going to have to take on some risk. But if those balances ever get out of whack, then you need to be willing to walk away.” - Jeff
- To make your life easier, hire an attorney and an accountant, even if you happen to be familiar with the legalities of an acquisition.
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-archibald-b6904243
Paper Leaf - https://paper-leaf.com/
- Hustle glorification. The correlation that if you're working 60 or 80 hour weeks, you're somehow doing a better job than everybody else, or you're more deserving than somebody else.
June 10, 2021
Mark Baldino is the Co-founder of Fuzzy Math, a user experience design, strategy, and innovation firm that solves difficult problems with a human-centered design approach and has helped establish design practices for upstart businesses and Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft, and GE Healthcare.
- If a resource is comfortable with working remotely then as an agency you should allow them to. An A+ resource is better remote than outside your company.
- As an agency things like culture happen naturally. If you’re living the values you preach, the team follows.
- Contrary to popular belief virtual meetings are more inclusive. There is an accessibility component to communication in a 100% virtual company.
- “When everyone's just a screen, you kind of treat everybody a little bit more equal. And I think that's a real benefit. And I think our clients can feel that and our team can feel that whether we're doing an internal kind of meeting, or we're doing a client workshop.” - Mark
- Sometimes you have to say no to good business just because it’s not the right fit for you, culturally or technologically.
- First contacts can determine if a client is good for you or not. If they’re having trouble understanding your culture and values then it’s not going to be any different with work.
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/markbaldino/
Fuzzy Math - https://fuzzymath.com
- Communication in a 100% virtual company strains people and makes them less productive.
May 28, 2021
JD Graffam is the Founder and CEO at Simple Focus, a UX-focused digital product, and interaction design agency. They help their clients grow by increasing conversion rates, reducing friction, and telling stories. JD Graffam is a recognized user experience expert, author, speaker, and writer. A Serial entrepreneur, he also owns 10+ profitable businesses besides Simple Focus.
- As a business owner, you have to prioritize and manage time. Delegate more and make time by managing your commitments in advance. Hire a professional to help better plan your day/week and manage your time more efficiently.
- “If you take Opportunity Cost to the next level of understanding, you will realize that it is the single most important economic concept that there is because you have to decide what's the most important thing you need to be working on.” -Graffam
- Having trustworthy people or decision-makers in your team is crucial for business growth.
- Manage your inbox to better manage your work/life.
- “You need to keep a clear head, keep things simple, stay on top, that's the tip or trick.”
- As a business, you need to know your priorities while outsourcing for a better ROI. Figure out if it’s budget concerns, culture, timezone, or something else.
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jdgraffam/
Medium - https://medium.com/@jdgraffam
Simple Focus - https://simplefocus.com/
- Thinking that sharing Calendly links without updating your calendar and commitments is better than taking time to actively schedule meetings when you’re actually available.
- When applying for a job, being extra casual and edgy helps you stand out.
May 19, 2021
Peter Kang is the Co-Founder and CEO at Barrel, helping brands scale and optimize their threat to consumer experiences while developing meaningful connections with their customers.
- One of the essential aspects of great company culture is shared language. Having a unified communication helps everyone be on the same page. A great way to develop a shared language is by reading books together.
- “The biggest part of leadership is modeling. If you do the things you think are important and live the values you say are important, then the rest of it takes care of itself.” ~Peter
- Building a business infrastructure that consistently fosters leadership is highly beneficial for employee growth.
- Take a long term perspective on growth. Think of the hard decisions and what could be done now in order to have a compounded effect in the future.
- A domain name does not define the name of your organization.
Ways to Tune In:
May 13, 2021
Bill Whitebone is the Principal at Advance Velocity, providing businesses with the expertise and capacity needed to take them to the next level. They partner with their clients from start to finish, focusing on their client’s needs while producing new ideas, developing effective strategies, and designing high quality and scalable solutions.
- The key to your team’s success in finding client solutions is by understanding their business. This is crucial to finding a personalized solution that caters to their needs.
- Look for references from past customers of and leadership at an offshore team to gain insight into whether or not they are a good fit to collaborate with your organization.
- “If you have a good team and you have confidence in what you are delivering then fixed price is the way to go. It’s certainly riskier, but if you know what you are doing and you know how your team works there’s more margin to be had there potentially.” ~Bill
- Global teams allow for a wide variety of global perspectives. The best voices and inputs from across the globe can come together and create immense value in creating the best possible solutions.
- Remote work has opened the doors, even more so, to working with offshore companies. Will the future bring a more competitive global workforce?
- Solutions are not easy. Identify the problem by asking your clients, “What is preventing your business from functioning optimally?” Understand the broader challenge.
Ways to Tune In:
May 7, 2021
Angel Lacret is the Founder & Chief of Product Development at Cobuild Lab, a software development company that specializes in solving logistics and productivity problems, custom software solutions, and artificial intelligence.
- “The hardest part about being remote [before COVID-19] is how you communicate trust and present yourself as a serious company with clients.” ~Angel
- Being isolated in your home trying to solve problems and get things done is challenging. Building a process-based workflow defines responsibilities and sets checkpoints to reach goals.
- Communication and personality is paramount for building relationships with a remote company. Ask questions during the recruiting process to see which applicants will fit best in your remote company culture.
- “When I started out I made many mistakes. I am not a natural salesperson. How I fixed this problem is by being honest and trying to be as planned as possible.”
- Miami is more than a vacation destination. It has a thriving ecosystem with many facets including its growing tech community from Microsoft & Apple to smaller tech companies.
Ways to Tune In:
April 21, 2021
Jamie Anderson is the CEO at Emergent Software, an award-winning custom software development company that provides high-quality custom software development, website development & design, mobile & web application development, and more. They value employee development, small business, and client partnerships over sales.
- “As companies get bigger often they try to do more and more things. I think that is a good business strategy, however, I think you have to be careful not to lose what you're good at.”~Jamie
- Saying no to a client is one of the hardest things to do as an agency. When pivoting that conversation with a client make sure your leadership is on the same page and be confident in your company direction.
- The current global climate has driven change, especially in businesses and how they interact with or invest in technology.
- Having a staffing-based delivery focuses on the technology conversation over how the product is delivered. This simplifies the message and makes your agency more boutique-like.
- “The growth metric that we are looking at is consistent, controlled growth. What’s important is maintaining our culture that we developed and maintaining the quality for our clients.” ~Jamie
- Bigger is not better. In smaller agencies and companies there is more opportunity to impact culture, to lead, to make customer impact than there is with a bigger “machine”.
Ways to Tune In: