Garrett takes great pride in his agency’s work, and with the number of repeat clients, he has good reason to.
How does he do it? What makes him successful? Find out this week in URGriffin’s Business Success Interview.
[pullquote]From the beginning, I have had an internal drive to succeed.[/pullquote]
What motivates you to succeed?
From the beginning, I have had an internal drive to succeed. 10 years later and now I have a third of my life invested into this company, so there is definitely a desire to keep it going. There are a number of rewards, both tangible and intangible that come from this.
What habits have kept you successful?
Being optimistic and getting over stuff quickly. In business, there are a lot of ups and downs so you need to be able to see the best in every situation. Then being able to move on quickly and get back to business is important. You have to keep moving forward.
Having a constant desire for growth is incredibly useful in growing a business.
How have you developed key partnerships for your business?
We don’t look at anyone as competition even when we are competing. If we lose an RFP to another company, we will reach out and ask if there is any way we can help. Being able to form those relationships means you cannot look at everyone else as the competition.
[pullquote]Probably the idea that being competitive with each other is not the way to go.[/pullquote]
What is one thing you find true in business that other people would disagree with?
Probably the idea that being competitive with each other is not the way to go. Sure we want to win RFPs, but that doesn’t mean we turn away from partnering with other agencies.
Most companies will not partner with the competition and we actually foster those relationships when we can.
How did you make your first sale?
We found a company that was looking for someone to take their designs and turn them into functional websites. I taught myself the technologies they needed me to know and did the work. They actually became a repeat client and it worked out great for both of us.
What was the major turning point where you became profitable?
About 8 years ago we ran across a videographer that had contracted with a company to do their website. The videographer hired us to create the site and that led to a relationship where we are still doing work for that company.
How do you overcome the moments of doubt that stop most entrepreneurs from being successful?
My wife pushes me harder than anyone. Her support has been key in the majority of the big decisions I have needed to make over the years. Between her and my team, I have great support and it makes the stressful moments easier.
[pullquote]From $500 to $50,000 projects we give the same quality and attention.[/pullquote]
How do you identify key business opportunities when they come along?
We started small and so became opportunistic out of necessity. As we have grown we made the decision to keep the same level of respect for every opportunity. From $500 to $50,000 projects we give the same quality and attention.
It comes down to the fact that we respect our clients and are genuinely interested in everyone we talk to. We have folks with varying levels of success and take the time to treat each one with the utmost respect and appreciation.
How do you define success in business?
The quality of life for us, quality of our work for clients, client satisfaction, and profitability for us. I love getting the voicemails and gifts from clients that are happy with us. When you and your clients are happy and you are making money, that’s success.
Have you achieved it with your company?
There are always ups and downs in business. In aggregate though we are happy more than not, so yes I would say we have achieved it.
To what do you attribute your company’s success the most?
Our reputation as responsive, engaged, and sincere has been the most important. That and having a genuine interest in our clients.
We are in an industry where clients are constantly treated poorly. Making the decisions and putting in the effort to treat each client with respect sets us apart.
[pullquote]Atlanta is the biggest small town there is.[/pullquote]
What are 3-5 key elements to running a successful business?
Have a good CPA, a good lawyer, a good relationship with your bank, know what you are talking about, network with good people constantly, and have a good reputation.
Your reputation is of the utmost importance. Atlanta is the biggest small town there is. If you do something shady everyone is going to find out eventually.
What do you think contributes the most to a company’s long-term success?
The quality of service, developing a good network, profitability, and staying up-to-date with your technology.
We have changed or added technology stacks 3-4 times. Even knowing it takes a year or more for a developer to become competent in the new technology, we decided to make the changes. It is important not to fall behind.
How important have your employees been to your success?
Incredible, huge, without them, we cannot do any of this. Our employees are our biggest investment and they are the most important part of our company.
How do you find employees that treat the company the way you want?
We hire folks on as part-time or as interns and then give them a few months with us. If they are a good match, then we build them up and invest in them. It is a kind of filtering process because there is just no better way.
How do you motivate your employees to stay with your company?
We empower them to the best of our ability. Our team is involved in the process and will speak directly to clients. It allows them some autonomy as opposed to having an account manager filtering the conversation. They get direct feedback and know that we trust them with our clients.
They also know that I have their back if something goes wrong. There may be an intense conversation to be had, but I am not going to throw them under the bus to a client. It allows them the freedom to make and learn from mistakes.
How do you go about marketing your company?
We have two core marketing methods. We partner with agencies by talking with anyone and everyone we come across that have a need for our services. Partnering is a huge part of what we do.
We also run a variety of email campaigns and are seeing huge success from that. We are looking at long-term contracts coming in as a result of the email campaigns.
What has been the most effective?
Partnering up and referrals are by far the best method for us. People don’t need a website every day, but when they do it is those relationships that get the contract for us.
What has been your most effective method for acquiring new clients?
Referrals through agencies and word-of-mouth clients have been the most effective.
What has been your biggest business mistake?
My most painful have been hiring friends. That did not work out well and is not something I will get into again.
What was your biggest takeaway?
Don’t hire family and friends without setting expectations. If there is a set of expectations in place there is little room for things to go wrong.
[pullquote]I would consider the number of long-term client relationships a huge success.[/pullquote]
What has been your biggest business success and how did you contribute to it?
The fact that we have been here for 10 years and are still growing is huge. I would consider the number of long-term client relationships a huge success. That’s probably out biggest success and that in turn led to us being here for 10 years.
My contribution comes from the fact that I spend the majority of my time making connections. I spend a lot of time at events meeting new people.
If you could travel back to the first day of this company and have 15 minutes with your younger self, what advice would you give?
Learn quicker the importance of networking and developing trusted partnerships. Be more in tune with HR as far as who you hire and making sure the cultural fit is right.
I would like to thank Garrett for sitting down with me. If you would like more information about Garrett or Eyesore you can visit EyesoreInc.com.