Why We Love Working With Small Business
Early on in my career I got a “thrown to the fire” introduction to Corporate America. Out of college I worked for a large corporation that had clients that were even bigger corporations. Even though I wasn’t working for an “ad agency” like I’d wanted to, I was gaining solid business experience. It didn’t take long to figure out I didn’t really enjoy the corporate atmosphere of being monitored all hours of the day, the ties, the shoes, the reports, the pep rallies and so on. I kind of imagined myself doing my job unbothered by bosses and only bothered by people who needed my help… and me sort of acting as a central helper and having time to have fun while I worked. I wanted to wake up excited to go to work, not dreading it. I also wanted to wear flip flops but I knew that was pushing it a little.
I finally gathered up enough “business experience” in my field that a real, respected Ad Agency deemed me acceptable to hire. It was a great feeling and I finally felt like I was doing what I’d always wanted to do, working in the environment I’d always wanted to and with the types of people I dreamed about. What I learned next was that the “Ad Agency World” had problems of its own. That problem is that when one or two clients go away, so to do employees… practically overnight. Stability was a problem, and although I felt like I was making a name and a lot of friends and advocates, I still found myself bouncing around from agency to agency for a few years.
During this whirlwind time I had the pleasure of working with clients of all sizes. Big ones like Wal-Mart, SunTrust, Popeyes and Troy University… and little ones like an MRI/CT Scan office, a local bank and local restaurants. They were all fun and unique in their own ways, but after a while I found that I preferred the entrepreneurial spirit of the small business owners over the corporate guys who had to dodge mazes of red tape just to decide whether they could answer me honestly or not.
I think the turning point for me was when I was working on the Window World account in 2008. Window World is a national company with franchisees all over every state in the U.S. They have a corporate office in North Carolina that I worked with but they didn’t force all their employees to work with us. They let it be known that the company I worked with was their “preferred” agency and that we had created a fine library of creative print, web, radio and tv spots for them to choose from, but they also left Johnny the entrepreneur in Tucson the freedom to make, and run his own terrible ads featuring him, his son and the family dog. I kind of liked this philosophy. Although it would’ve been nice for our pockets if their corporate office forced all their franchisees to spend all their advertising dollars with us, it was rewarding to be working with a company that was willing to let their owners (their livelihood), make their own decisions and succeed or fail on their own.
I really liked talking to these individual entrepreneurs from all over the country, discussing how each of their markets differ and what “would and wouldn’t” work in certain places even when the product was the same in every place. It was unique. It was fun. And the people spoke and breathed with the true American spirit. They wanted to build their business into a success so that they and their families and children could live a good life. They were grateful of their opportunities and wanted to make money. That was it. They weren’t in it to impress share holders, or to afford 3rd homes for all the titles that begin with the letter C. They were normal, hard working people like you and me. They were small business owners.
Right after I left that job, I started working with Matt, Sarah and company, whom I started my first company with about a year later. We all shared the same philosophy that small businesses were the ideal client for us to work with. Small businesses deserved nice marketing, quality websites, and “ad agency” creative, but at a fair price. Small business website design quickly became a staple of our company, followed by discount printing and search engine optimization for small business. Every client I talk with is different, but they all have the same entrepreneurial spirit that we share. And that makes doing business an easy and special thing. Oh, and I get to wear flip flops 9 months out of the year.