#1: Luck Doesn’t Exist, But Grace Does
We launched at the beginning of a recession that saw 232 businesses close every day. It was our first business and there were a million questions we didn’t have the answers to. Yet, we survived and have grown every year. But we know it wasn’t luck, and it wasn’t only our hard work. Instead, it was God’s grace. We believe that unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
#2: Relationships Are Everything
There’s nothing more important in life and in business than relationships. For us, that means a few things: (1) we treat our team like family and hire based on attitude; (2) our work doesn’t keep us from our families at home; (3) we are obsessed with seeing our work grow our clients’ businesses; (4) we will give of our time, talents, and money to better our community.
#3: Processes Help You Scale
When it was Nick and I, we didn’t need processes. We were doing all the work ourselves and we honestly didn’t have enough of a routine to record a process. But as we grew, and new team members started working on projects and departments formed, it became crucial for everyone to know how we do what we do. Our processes and procedures have become a key contributor to the growth of our company. It’s improved our product, created consistency, removed stress and uncertainty, and made us more efficient.
#4: Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Reacting to a situation means you are behind before you start, and you have less time to provide a solution. The more projects and clients we have, the harder it is to be proactive. It feels like more work to be proactive, but it’s not – it takes far more time and mental capacity to be reactive. Most importantly, proactive people are in control, while reactive people are controlled.
#5: Work Like Heck
In most situations, we know what needs to be done … we just have to get out there and do it. We haven’t found a substitute for old-fashioned, nose-to-the-ground hard work. Early on, we practically gave away creative to build a portfolio. We worked 80-hour weeks, we quit good jobs to launch M&R with just a few clients, and we did everything we could without borrowing a dime. We are motivated by the families our business supports, and that’s about all the motivation we need on most days.
#6: Build a Team of Advisors
The sooner you realize you’re not great at everything, the quicker you can focus on what you are great at. Don’t out-punt your coverage, as they say. Forming our team of advisors has provided us confidence and peace of mind. Our team includes our CPA, financial advisor, attorney, insurer, and business operations coaches.
#7: Be You, Not Someone Else
While there’s value in watching your competition and understanding their approach and service offerings, we’ve found that we do best when we focus on us, not them. We’ve worked hard to let our core values lead us: be relational, insightful, innovative, and passionate. Those values push us further than the work of a competitor ever will.
#8: Always Do What’s Right, Even When It Hurts
That’s a simple statement until it costs you a lot of money and a lot of time. Most often, a client won’t notice a short cut … but you will, and your team will. Your work is a product of who you are as a person, and you have to live with that person. There are no shortcuts in life or in business.
#9: Ask Why Before You Ask How
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and jump to the how before you understand the why. Marketing lives in the gray and is often very subjective, so it’s important to truly understand the client and their market and why they do what they do. It’s impossible to sell a product you don’t understand to a market you don’t know.
#10: Embrace Delegation
We’ve had to learn how to trust people, let go, and live with the results. That hasn’t been easy, but we’ve done it by hiring an amazing team who is passionate about their craft, diligent, and trustworthy. So, we let them do what they do best, which includes things we used to do as co-founders. Delegation is empowering and allows everyone to work within their best space.