The last few months the owners have been positioning The Squad for growth. We had one of the first flat years in our 10 year history in 2017. That flat growth led us to set some big goals in 2018. We know that going big requires a talented team. It’s the chicken and the egg question. The empty fireplace requires wood to kick up the heat. Do you hire first or sell the business then hire? Well we’ve always tried to keep our capacity and bandwidth ahead of our sales and growth. I’m sure it’s not as profitable. I know it’s not as profitable. I’m sure that some business book, TV show guru, or MBA will tell us that’s wrong. It may be, but we feel good about it. Being Truth Tellers when we give our word is of the utmost importance. It’s hard to be a Trusted Ally if you’re selling into an understaffed position.
Well, we’re looking to go far. I want to take a moment to frame up where we are and where we’re heading.
When I’m leading, recruiting, selling, or telling stories (true ones), I have a tendency to let people know we’re small potatoes. When I say that, I want to convey that we don’t think of ourselves higher than we ought. But I don’t say that to say we’re content being small. Be certain we are driven to make an impact, and it’s tough to give if you don’t have margin. Right now, as I type this, we are working on 21 different website or video projects, serving 30 partner clients on a monthly basis, hosting around 100 websites, and running just above a 1 million run rate on revenue. That being said, we have our sights set much higher. We’re not quite thinking 10x yet, but we’re on our way to setting higher targets.
- We want to impact the local community by growing the number of team members we can compensate. Currently, we have 17 on the team. I can’t wait to see what that looks like at 30.
- We want to Tell Your Story and Grow Your Business if you’re out there reading this. That’s another way we love to make an impact. We seek to partner with like-minded businesses who have a great story and who impact their team, customers, and community in similar ways.
- We want to impact our project-giving partners by donating 5% of our project revenue to several local ministries and non-profits.
- We want to impact our own leadership and growth by modeling the way.
We have a talented team at The Marketing Squad. I’d encourage you to get to know them better if you’re already partnering with us or if you’re considering a partnership. We go out of our way to lead with our team and to pull back the curtain to let you get to know them. Without our team, we’re left with a bucket full of processes and a necessary service. When you add the team to those two things, now we have something.
The team has changed quite a bit in the last few months and that’s part of what I want to elaborate on in this blog post.
For the last month or so we’ve been transitioning our project management role over from Wayne, my partner in the business, to Billy Ward, our new COO. Billy comes to us with quite the resume (which I never look at if we’re being honest). He spent years at Delta Airlines as a Regional VP with over 300 people on his team. Then he managed large projects for different Microsoft partners in the technology space. In the middle of that, he was the Event’s Director over at Southeast Christian Church. Billy is a very capable guy and it’s been a great freedom to turn over operations and project management to him in the last month. Wayne and I are currently evaluating and defining our new active roles in the business and we’ll have more on that in a future post. The freedom this is providing is allowing us to really focus on taking our partner experience, team experience, and growth to new levels. Billy is a workshorse and a true leader of people. We are blessed to have him by our side leading The Squad into the future. If you ever get a chance to grab lunch with Billy, he loves mayonnaise. (#fakenews He hates it and avoids it like the plague.)
Next up, is a guy that has brought all types of leadership and productivity to The Squad in the past 4-5 months. Kevin Peterson has joined our team as our new Creative Director and Director of Partner Marketing for Key Accounts. He joins Alea Petersen, and Courtney Nappo in that role, and will lead our design team, Emily Houze and Taylor Bieschke. Kevin brings years of experience in design and strategic communications. He spent years in digital communications at Southeast Christian Church here in Louisville, and most recently ran all communications at a megachurch in Mississippi before coming back home to the Ville. We’re glad he did. He’s quite the wordsmith and has a quick wit which is always fun around the office.
One of my favorite stories here at The Squad is Brooke Moody. Brooke came on board with us during her freshman year in college at U of L. She has had many roles around The Squad, and probably knows the culture and nuances of The Squad as well as anyone outside of the owners and Sarah Stewart, our long-standing Office Administrator. Brooke recently graduated from U of L and has come on board full time in the role of Content Manager. She is also functioning in a Director of Partner Marketing role for some partner accounts. With Brooke, comes Tucker, our office dog. Tucker is still in negotiations over his new full-time role.
Next up, helping us take our business development to new levels, is a long time friend of mine, Marshall Fall. Marshall is the consummate pro. He’s joined our team as our VP of Business Development. He has been a success in sales, marketing, and business development in the technology, IT, and web integration spaces over the last decade. He’s also a soccer coach, amazing golfer, and word is he’s handy with a paddle and racket. Marshall is gonna take The Squad to new levels as he comes alongside myself, my business partner Wayne Cox, Billy Ward, and Glenn Herrera in bringing on new business, and guiding partner clients.
Emily Houze is a recent graduate at U of L and has accepted a position as our new graphic designer. Emily in her short time here has proven to be a super efficient designer who is very flexible. Emily was referred to us by her mother who was an existing client and her former employer who was a friend of mine. Emily gives additional bandwidth to our creative department which consists of Kevin Peterson and Taylor Bieschke.
The most recent team member to join The Marketing Squad is Brayden Ward. Brayden is Billy’s son #nepotism 🙂 and is wrapping up his final years at Boyce College here in Louisville. Brayden has come on board for the summer and we hope that may extend into his senior year and beyond. He has been a great help to Spencer Smith, our Marketing Coordinator. The two of them handle SEO, SEM (Google PPC, Social Ads, Display Ads), and reporting/analytics. Brayden has also been helping Alea Petersen, Courtney Nappo, Michalah Hopper, and the aforementioned Brooke Moody, to create and procure content for our ongoing partner clients.
Not to leave anyone out, I’d also like to mention our web dev team which consists of the newlywed Matt Bitely, the world’s most flexible and crafty web developer and the greatest Creative Problem Solver that I know, Josh Ahlers. Josh is our website property manager. Websites, just like homes or apartments, need a property manager. Josh is our guy when it comes to hosting, support, hourly work, training, and website launches.
One of my biggest goals as CEO in the upcoming years, will be focusing on those first few inches of the P & L— where the income and sales numbers are reflected. The only way I’d be comfortable doing that is knowing that we are staffed to serve our partners well on projects and programs, and our team well in developing the next generation of leaders.
So as the title of this post says, this team has us poised for growth, but staffed to deliver.
If you’d like to learn more, register for one of our What’s Next Connection events!