Our Six-Month Anniversary
As Broad Street celebrates its six-month anniversary, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what we’ve learned getting a small business off the ground.
1. It’s a grind, but I’ve found it’s pretty nice to be grinding for yourself instead of someone else. I also worried about feeling isolated, transitioning from a large company to an enterprise of two. But it’s been the opposite – building a business requires constant interaction with people and the continuous action has me feeling more connected than ever.
2. I was talking to my b-school classmate @JohnCook, who started a similar journey seven years ago. He partnered with a former colleague to open a PR agency. Two things stood out to me during our conversation:
The similarities to the reasons @ArmandLeVasseur and I started Broad Street: the desire to build something from scratch and the experience of having been on the client-side and recognizing a gap in the model.
“No one starts their own business because it’s the easier option.” Armand and I talk about this a lot. It would be easier to go work somewhere else, but it wouldn’t be as satisfying.
3. ABC and ABS. Alec Baldwin made the phrase “Always Be Closing” famous in Glengarry Glen Ross. But to always be closing you have to “Always Be Selling.” That’s been the biggest adjustment for me. Doing the work is the fun part. Selling the work is, well, work – but we continue to refine our approach, putting ourselves out there and figuring out what works without feeling like we’re selling our souls. Note the above: starting your own shop isn’t the easy option.
4. There’s nothing more valuable than your network. No cliches here, it’s true. All of our initial work has come through the networks we’ve built. Even better, we’ve partnered with developers, designers and social mavens to do that work, proving out our model that it doesn’t take a big agency to do big work – just the right people for the job. 5. It stays a little scary. But when you wrap it all up, the scaries are balanced by the satisfaction of putting work out there with Broad Street’s fingerprints on it. I’ve found I could drive myself crazy asking questions: What if our network dries up? What if a project falls through? I’ve had to continually get used to the ebbs and flows of a new business model, know that it’s OK to slow down when things get a little slower, and remember that taking the leap to do this was just the beginning.
As we enter our second six months, I’d love to hear from others about how they manage the ups and downs of running a business, get insight on lead gen and sales strategies, or explore mutually beneficial partnerships regardless of industry.