I have a niche of sorts. I work specifically with advertising agencies and marketing departments to make things a little better, run smoother, to be more efficient, and maybe make the workplace world a little less tension-filled.
I don’t work the creative-side (I don’t play designer, but I’ve been one so I know when to butt-out), I work on the operational-side. That’s the part that’s really uninteresting and ignored by most in a creative environment, but the foundation of keeping an agency moving along and making money.
I help by doing what most owners / managers never think of: I ask the staff what works and what doesn’t. I ask them what they would do to make things run just a little better. The staff always has ideas. Good ones.
I ask the questions because owners and managers simply don’t. Then I ask the owners and managers what they think the issues are. Then we start mapping out the repairs.
The answers, in my world, always come down to Process, Tools and People.
So, I’ve been watching The Profit. Marcus Limonis is the guy with the checkbook and a plan to turn around failing businesses. I’m not in his league, but I get what he does. He is never a consultant, he is a business partner, and he takes significant equity in the businesses he helps. They make money. He makes money.
Limonis’ trinity is People, Process, Product.
I get it, if it’s a crappy product, then there’s no amount of the other two that will help. But it’s a package – his package. And it makes sense. He’s doling-out the dough. And he’s successful.
As far as product goes, I don’t mess with the creative, because that’s a specialty filled to the brim with available talent. Hire great talent and give them a viable environment to create.
Now, I’m not in the position to buy into your agency, I am a consultant, and I work with the staff and management to break down my trinity of: Process, Tools and People.
I may not be an owner in your business, but I feel a huge responsibility in taking the necessary measures to make your agency better.
For any creative environment, there are tons of tools (software, apps) that are good / bad, are applicable / irrelevant to managing the day-to-day activities. Those tools which Mr. Limonis includes in process – I separate. Why? Because the tools must meet the specific criteria as to how you do work. And . . . they must be setup and customized so it makes sense to everyone who uses them.
Process needs to be defined. It needs structure. A lot of tools out there help define the structure. That is why agencies and marketers usually decide that software will solve their problems. Fix the agency. But there’s more to the solution. . .
Now we get to the people part. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a million times, the best tools and processes don’t fix bad employees – or management.
Bickering, undermining, personal agendas, drama of any kind, will kill any business. Limonis won’t put his money up against a company run by a bunch of fighting idiots. He just walks. Then the business dies.
So why do you have your employees, your cash put up against that same crap? Time to change.
I’m willing to do the work, if you’re willing to do the work.
If you really care about your agency, department, or that awesome title you’ve finally achieved – and the salary that goes with it – then push your denial, ego, and opinions down and start listening. Trust me when I say this: if there are problems in your agency or department, others see it. If you don’t fix it, someone else will, and I guarantee you won’t like the outcome.
So at the very least, quit ignoring issues. Ask your staff what needs to be fixed – and listen. Then take action.
Your agency or department can be fixed. Really. It can be a place that is inspiring, hectic, massively creative, and, yes, even fun. You don’t have to give up equity to get there. Call me.