In the last two months Point It has received two “Fastest Growing Companies” awards from Inc. and the Puget Sound Business Journal.
While these are cool to get, this is not a time for donning any “braggy pants” – position 3,089 on the Inc 5,000 while nice, says there’s still a long way to go. However, it is worth pausing for a second or two and thinking about how we got there and how we’ll grow further. So here are the top six reasons I see for our growth.
1. Good old fashioned luck. Yes, let’s acknowledge that right up front. In the recent recession, companies looked for alternative channels, particularly measurable ones at a time when budgets were being carefully scrutinized. The time was just right for search marketing.
2. Walking then running. Our approach when entering a new category of service has been to first outsource expertise, prove the business model, then bring it in house. That way we minimize risk, although possibly prohibiting fast growth. We launched our SEO practice about five years ago in this manner and now we have a terrific in-house team. I guess we could have taken the risk and hired a team from the get go, but as a small agency, we’re not prepared to take that chance. But we do take some risks…
3. Taking risks. Bit of a cliché, since every business takes risk of sorts but we did something very odd this year. We ran a billboard for several months. Odd, huh? A Search Marketing Agency going offline! And it’s not like you can truly measure billboard traffic anyway, so this was a major departure for a company focused on providing measurable results for its clients. I can say this though, just based on the comments I received, a lot of business people saw us and it boosted our brand awareness. Not a bad thing…just wish it was measurable!
4. Getting better at hiring. We have a red flag policy when hiring. If the flag is flying, albeit from only of our interviewers, that’s enough to stop the hire. Skill set and chemistry are king at Point It, and that cannot be messed with. The result – I think our team is fantastic. Smart people who get on well with each other and who our clients like to work with.
5.Improved teamwork. Our team model has evolved over the last three years. Used to be that we’d have single client managers on some accounts but now it’s very rare. Most clients have at least two, some have over ten. Clients now have better coverage and it’s meant that our team has learned to work and communicate better with each other and their clients.
6. Full disclosure. Everyone at Point It knows what our goals are for the year and each quarter we have a financial review. Bonuses are paid quarterly so there’s a heightened awareness of how performance impacts everyone. We share the good news and bad news, and fortunately it’s been more of the former in the last three years. We’re realistic to know if won’t always be that way, but by being open about things there’s a sense we’re all in this together and can navigate bumps as they come along.
7. Connections. Last but not least, for a small agency, success is highly dependent on connections. We’ve been around now for over ten years and are well known. But we don’t rest on our laurels because the workforce is always changing and we always have to be in front of today or tomorrow’s decision makers. Our client managers are at networking events every month. Sometimes you wonder why you went to a particular event but over time just being out in the community in front of people keeps our name up front.
I think that covers the main reasons we’ve grown fast. It’s been a good ride and now we have a taste for these awards, we want to climb the fastest growing lists even faster.