This Saturday, September 13, marks two years since Game Changer Communications was officially born. It’s been a great ride already, and it’s so fun at times like this to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Here are just a few of the key themes I’ve learned during Game Changer’s first two years:
- Surrounding yourself with great people is at least as important as everyone says it is. In my first year, I hired a subcontractor who did a fantastic job for me and my client – and it paid off in a great work product as well as ongoing and referral business. I made the decision early on to align with a good business accountant and lawyer, and while I might spend more than some people on their services I haven’t second-guessed those decisions once because I know I’m getting good advice and my business is better for it. I’ve invested lots of time and money into networking and membership in organizations like the PRSA Counselors Academy, and I think I’m only scratching the surface of the tremendous value to be realized from the relationships I’ve built and lessons I’ve learned from those consummate professionals. These are just a few examples – I’m a firm believer that people can’t do great things in this world all by themselves. You need help, support, counsel and advice, someone to aspire to and so much more. And as Game Changer grows I’m sure that having great, talented people around will only increase in importance.
- Doing good work is the backbone of success and growth. So many people are concerned with new business development and networking, and of course I’m one of them. But I never forget for a second that my most important job every day is taking care of the current roster of Game Changer clients – and doing all I can to retain their business for tomorrow, next month, next year, etc. First off, I think it’s quite simply the right thing to do. Every Game Changer client made a decision to invest their PR budget and place their confidence in this firm, and I don’t ever take that lightly; I want them to always feel like we’re a valued partner in helping them achieve their business goals. Second, most of Game Changer’s growth this year was due to referrals – and those referrals only come in the door when you’re doing great work with your existing clients. Third, it’s really pretty simple math; you can sign all the business you want, but if you’re losing accounts and turning over resources then all you’re really doing is treading water.
- Just as in life, be able to roll with the punches. Some of you might be aware that the past year has been a very stormy and chaotic one in my personal life. Some of the values and beliefs I held closely, and even some of my greatest hopes and dreams, were tossed in the trash – and it’s been a difficult process to rebuild my life and keep my priorities in focus. I’ve been to hell and back, and there’s no way to completely separate stuff of this nature from your work; it permeates everything you are and do. Because of this, I’m not going to accomplish many of the items I had in my business plan for 2014. But you know what…it’s okay. I’ve made it through, learning a ton along the way, and the business stayed strong throughout. And I’m incredibly thankful to have: a business that sustained me through my hardest moments and made a lot of decisions easier for me; a set of clients who were sympathetic and considerate, yet helped us keep the bar set high; and a network of friends and professionals who have been nothing but the best. With the past firmly behind me, I intend to adjust and pursue my goals and aspirations with renewed vigor.
It might go without saying, but I need to say it anyways: thank you. Thank you to our clients, past and present – it’s our honor to serve you and help you succeed. Thank you to our partners, vendors and advisors/counselors. Thank you to the current and former colleagues, mentors, community members, nonprofit Boards and everyone else I’ve encountered and learned so much from. Thank you to my two sons, who mean more to me than anything. Thank you to the best family and friends anyone could have – especially my mother and father, who support me and this firm in ways I could never have imagined two years ago. And to everyone else (who, trust me, I haven’t forgotten)…it means a lot to me that we’ve had the opportunity to travel this journey together. And there’s still a long way to go!
People ask me all the time if I think I made the right decision in starting Game Changer. My answer is always the same: definitely. I’ve never second-guessed it, and I think it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I can’t wait to see what Game Changer evolves into in the next 12 months, and in the years to come.