As a novice small business owner, I am often pulled in many different directions. Starting at inception and continuing through the growth stages, it's an ongoing process to learn and understand such things as entry into the market, value proposition, how to build a customer base and delivering on what we’ve promised to those customers. At this point in our company lifecycle, what we prioritize often starts with what is "most squeaky" and finding the quickest solution to "grease that wheel". All so we can keep performing at a high level while doing what our agency calls “Make it Happen”.
In business for just over a decade we've truly been fortunate to see so much growth with this "Make it Happen" attitude. From an idea that started on a piece of scratch paper from my living room floor, to a 37 person team, some would say we've come a long way. While the majority of our growth has occurred within the last three years, something else was noticeably taking form – and some of it wasn't all that good.
We’d grown our business with great client partners, increased our competencies, and became a recognized leader in the multicultural marketing stratosphere. Externally, we were doing some great things, but internally, something was missing. Our team members felt like they were always playing catch-up. We had internal communication breakdowns, and we experienced some talent turnover. I felt like we had lost focus.
The timing of things can be pretty funny sometimes – call it coincidence, or maybe even karma.
Fast forward to October, 2015; I was fortunate enough to attend a small business and entrepreneurs workshop organized by Fernando Martinez and the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council.
The workshop, "Paying It Forward," was led by Bobby Herrera of Populus Group and could quite possibly have been the single most important revelation to our agency at this critical stage of our company's life. Rather than focusing on the external pressures of our business in the aforementioned above, Bobby helped us to realize the need to look inward first. We needed to ask ourselves, "Why do we exist? Where are we going? And how do we behave?"
The answers to these questions could not be immediately answered. I soon realized that this may have been the cause of why our team members had miscommunication, tension and internal conflicts. Our old mission, vision and values were antiquated and rarely lived out in day-to-day life. We needed to do a better job of establishing our agency's new purpose, direction and behavior, and sharing these internally as we moved forward. When Bobby joined us again a few months later as we unveiled our new mission, vision, and values, the rest of the agency caught the momentum and excitement as well.
Bobby – thank you for all your guidance, support and coaching along the way. Your selfless act of wanting to help others to be better and to do better is admired by so many. With our new company mission, vision and values, we look forward to a brighter future, and giving back to the community much like how you have done for us. Thank you.