Today is the day: we as a company are celebrating our fifth birthday.
To be clear, this is the day we incorporated the business officially as a Limited Liability Corporation in the Washington state. Since then, we have become an S-Corp based in Washington state ... okay now I'm totally boring you and am going to move on.
Before we move forward, wouldn't it be fun to look backward? As of this exact day 5 years ago Kerry and myself had:
- 0 paying customers at MKG
- We were going by 'MKG Media Group' and not the 'MKG Marketing' name
- Had no idea what we were getting ourselves into starting a business completely from scratch
Our Search Marketing Director Christian likes to set up conversations with only 3 words. In the spirit of Christian's "3 word rule", I'm going to allow myself three words (with an explanation for each) to describe what the past 5 years has been like for me personally at MKG.
This one word pretty much sums up the entire 2013 calendar year for me. After we landed our second client, I developed a habit of waking up with the cold sweats and shouting something like "I promise we'll get your conversion rate up by end of the week!"
Bringing on new clients (and then servicing the business) was on my mind 24/7. It was a terrifying (and sometimes overwhelming) experience to be leading all on my own for the very first time.
It only took a year or so to get past the terrified stage. Next up, I felt ...
MKG really began to click in 2014; We were bringing on really fantastic clients, our team was growing and the sky was the limit.
It was truly inspiring to see the way our clients began to cling onto every word our team members said. We were viewed as the lead subject matter experts, which can be attributed to the fact that our entire team was seasoned in the field of search marketing.
In fact, 2014 led to a new policy we began to implement at the end of 2015: Never hire someone with less than 5 years of practical subject matter expertise.
We now only look for experienced professionals because our clients love getting "the A team" (their words, not mine) in terms of the best of the best. We all started as a junior marketing associate at one point - but our clients expect more from our team than being given junior associates to attempt to grow their business. And that is why we won't hire anyone with less than 5 (or more) years of hands on experience. We need to put the best talent forward TODAY for our clients.
While I'm not always incredibly humble, I have learned the value of knowing when to eat a big slice of 'humble pie'.
This knowledge has led me to always look at the big picture and understand some things about the business world in general. Allow me to tell a story that illustrates this point.
About 18 months ago we were CRUSHING IT for one of our large SEO retainer clients. All the keyword phrases they wanted to rank for were moving up to the 1st page (and into top 3 positions in some cases). This was exactly what they tasked us to do. "Help us rank for these 500 phrases - tell us what to do and we'll dedicate resources to make it happen." Our team did that! When we went in to present our monthly results, we were all excited and happy to show them how things were going.
You know what they said?
This is great, but our ecommerce revenue is down more than 10% as a whole month over month. We're getting killed out there. I was so excited. We had done our jobs to a T. But all they could think about was ecomm revenue being down on the whole.
As I opened my mouth to say something like "But look at OUR numbers", the VP of Marketing shut me down with a curt wave of the hand. He didn't want to hear anything more from us about our 'good news', because as a whole they were hurting. That's when I realized that I needed to shut up, eat that slice of humble pie, swallow our pride and say "Alright. What can we do to help?"
That experience will serve me well for years to come. You have to always keep the big picture or vision in sight.
What do the next 5 years hold?
If we've got anything to say about it, a whole lot :)
Stay tuned here on the blog for updates as they are announced.