Delia Mărgărit, The Good Company: About Love and Other Demons When You Want to Build a Business in Marcom

The Good Company started during summertime, when everything seems easier, and the holiday spirit prevents you from thinking rationally. It was better like this, because the higher level of unawareness from the start helped us to avoid the fundamental obstacles: fear of the unknown, fear of bankruptcy, with no money in our pockets and dark thoughts about the competition and of how strong it is.

After three years, I am asked very often how we managed to turn The Good Company into a business. Obviously, there is no secret recipe in business, as there is none for life in general either. Advice does help though, and it opens means of communication for those who want to start something of their own, especially in this industry, where not many have the courage to be honest and fight until the end.

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Delia Mărgărit
Managing Partner

First year is hard, awfully hard

Starting from understanding the business and the financial situation, that you must not let out of control (if you don’t know how to handle them yet, you will, and sooner or later you will regret you didn’t learn all this information from the first month or even before starting). The administrative side is your responsibility, and that means all the tasks that you would usually give to somebody else. Surprise, now they are yours to deal with.

It is highly probable that you will work from home for a time, but that doesn’t mean that your schedule begins at noon (and maybe after you have already binged a couple of shows before opening Outlook).

Also, be aware that the transition from employee to employer is not sudden, the accommodation period might last for months. In the meantime, you must be a bit of everything. Once you begin realizing that you allocate much of your budget on dinners and internal meetings with the team, it’s time to take the next step, your first office. But that is a story for another time.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

Of course, you know best what you want, and what you can do, you have experience and can work quickly. Nobody can match your skills, right? Wrong! The biggest mistake is for you to enjoy immediate success and be a freelancer forever, taking as many projects as you can handle. It is an option; we just don’t think it’s the best you’ve got.

From the beginning, we had two people with us in our team, with whom we’ve grown together, and they assigned themselves with the tasks regarding clients, allowing us to prospect new projects and keep our minds clean, always prepared for new challenges.

Good employees are your most valuable resource

The fact that you invest in people, only for them to leave (as they usually to in this industry, where the retention rate is very low) is totally unproductive.

Instead of this projection, it’s better to realize that a well-trained employee will develop your business and guarantees the level of stability within the company that you need. If you are open with your team and build them as little intrapreneurs, and the workspace is honest and fun, they will leave much harder, and when they do, they do it for serious reasons. If they leave, no hard feelings. ?

Also, even if the opposite is pretty much the norm in the corporate world, you must respect people’s personal time and even encourage them to enjoy it as often as possible (this is the only way they can discover new things and be fresh and happy when they come to work). A happy employee= a happy business.

Sometimes you have to give up clients and people that work for you

A hard lesson, that you learn only after it hits you right in the face. If you see that the people around you are ruining your business or slowing down its growth, drop them immediately, don’t let time become your enemy. Or theirs. Same thing applies to your clients, the moment you see that working for them is not profitable (a big problem in our field, especially after recession, when budgets dropped, and the work became harder and harder). Less is more.

Nobody must think in your place

As it is with sports and politics, a lot of people are willing to tell you how it’s done and what recipe worked towards their success. Go ahead and listen to them if you wish but filter the useful information from the useless one. It is scary not to ask for help, but you will find out that often your decisions are the best eventually. Because you know best who you are and what heights you want to reach. And if you mess up, you learn, and next time will be better. You are doing yourself a favor. Period.

Do not limit yourself, think big from the start

Big agencies have big accounts and important clients, but you don’t have to see this as an obstacle. Before you go to them, make sure that you own: a good reputation in the market) it’s a small world and anybody can find out anything, about anyone), enough experience to be credible, a huge amount of enthusiasm, guts and the know-how that they need.

Your business doesn’t have a schedule to keep. If it is getting frustrating, then give up

If you don’t live and breathe marketing and communication, it’s better you don’t work in this field. You find them everywhere, even in your bedroom, when you have your laptop or smartphone on. If mails are usually sent during the day, ideas and inspiration show up in the most unexpected of times. Read, keep yourself informed and try something new with every opportunity you get, because somebody else is doing it as we speak, instead of that someone being you. It’s very frustrating to meet people that work in marcom and do not remember the last book they read in this field.

Your business partner is the key in developing a successful business

Like in a relationship, partners that are 100% compatible have the worst chance of making it. It’s better to choose a partner that completes you, one that you can trust and that thinks differently than you when it comes to the essential. A tense relationship starts from exactly the opposite of this, and can ruin a business to its core, sooner or later.

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