#F20: 20 Tips from 20 Years of Business

Running a successful PR and digital marketing agency for 20 years is no easy feat, nor is running any business for that matter.

Statistics say that more than ½ of all start-ups fail after 10 years. 20 years means 240 months, 7000 days, well over 100 000 hours and many sleepless nights spent thinking (ok obsessing) about how to keep innovation alive, inspire and lead your team, keep the lights on and anticipate the next market change. That is 10x Malcom Gladwell’s theory for success. I guess we got the formula right and we’re feeling grateful.

From start-ups to local fashion retailers, hi-design restaurants to beauty superstars, sports cars, to global leading brands, I have had the privilege of working with many different people over the years. To some, I have offered mentorship, while many others mentored me. Some experiences have been super successful, and others have not quite gone as planned. Along the way, my team and I have learned many lessons to driving success as a business, whatever your size.

With that in mind and to celebrate our 20 years in business we thought we would share 20 tips and tricks we have learned to drive success over the years.

1. Your people are your best ambassadors. #WOM

Use your organic network. Friends, family, current and past clients, partners, and vendors, and of course your team are the foundation of your network. Be kind to them – these are your future influencers, your best source of business referrals and your support system when you are ready to celebrate or need a shoulder to cry on.

2. Find a mentor.

I have had many mentors along the way, including an early one that helped me select my last name as the name of the agency. Mentors are crucial to help guide you. I always encourage my team to find a mentor to help them develop.

3. Build a brand.

No matter what kind of business you have you should invest in building your brand. Create a powerful logo, invest in a website that highlights your services/products, spend time defining your values, principles, and unique value proposition. Knowing who you are, will allow you to sell to others.

4. Hire for your values.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of FAULHABER value chain, and we weave this into everything we do. People can be taught skills relatively easily, but it is much harder to teach values.

5. Hire the right people.

It truly takes a village. Your people are the key to your success. Invest in the right team, teach them, train them, make sure they understand what success looks like, and then give them the autonomy to make magic.

6. Collect data.

Emails, names, info. Build your list early and often. It is just like investing as your lists will compound over time.

7. Gather info from your network.

Survey and ask them what they think. Sample them and collect data that will be invaluable to your growth. Ask for honest opinions and feedback. You will learn something new every time you ask

8. 1+1 =3.

Look for ways to scale your work and make every action you take; call you to make or social post you write work overtime for you.

9. Get social rights.

Research your platforms, spend time on your strategy and plan your content. Find your own unique voice. A/B test till you get it right. Then use your socials, especially LinkedIn, and DM to network, fill your sales funnel, find talent, and learn new things. Devote the time and you’ll recuperate the benefits.

10. Focus on Diversity.

The country we live in is diverse. Regionally, ethnically, and experientially. Make sure your programs are inclusive and make everyone feel welcome and accepted.

11. Never give up.

Follow up! If you do not hear back from a contact, sales lead or prospect, make a system to follow up and eventually you’ll get their ear.

12. WOO (winning others over) goes a long way.

Learn what makes people tick. Everyone is unique, but once you understand what drives and inspires someone you can help them unlock their potential and drive the best results.

13. Check in often.

Team. Clients. Vendors. If you do not ask for feedback you never know. As an entrepreneur, it is important to always have your finger on the pulse of what your team, clients, and business needs.

14. Stay on top of the trends.

Keep your finger on the pulse. Watch global markets. Attend conferences. Subscribe and listen to futurist podcasts.

15. Standardize your processes but never be ridged.

Put your processes on paper and make systems for consistency but do not be afraid to adapt them as time goes on. Reward team members who find ways to improve existing systems.

16. Embrace failure.

As an entrepreneur adopting and teaching a growth mindset is critical. Teach your team that it is ok to fail and that from failure comes lessons that lead to ultimate success.

17. Keep it polished.

Death by papercut is a real thing in business. Keep an eye on how your team and clients experience your output.

18. Work-life integration is the way to go.

You never know when or where inspiration will strike or a new client earns.

19. Innovate or die.

Adopt that mindset of a perpetual learner. The PR and digital marketing landscape are constantly evolving. We encourage our team from coordinators to VPs to continually learn and adopt new skills. Never get complacent and don’t spend too much time worrying about your competitors. Stay focused on innovation and the customer experience.

20. Celebrate all the wins.

Running a business can be exhausting. To make it fun for you and your team celebrate the wins – both big and small. Team toasts, laughter and culture make all the late nights and stressful moments worth it.

To learn more about how FAULHABER can help you achieve your business goals, check out our services.