Tell us about yourself?
I am a husband, father, marketing expert, small business owner, and big tech critic.
With over 20 years of experience in online marketing, I was one of the first media buyers on Facebook and among the first to work in the New Media (WebTV) industry, serving the online advertorial needs of major advertisers.
As a business commentator, I regularly contribute to national radio and television programs and on a weekly basis, I can be heard speaking about big tech and small business topics on Fox, Audacy/CBS Radio, Cumulus Media, and iHeartRadio news stations.
As co-founder of Agency Partner Interactive, my company became the 28th fastest-growing privately-owned company in Texas, according to Inc. Magazine. In that same period of time, the business has earned awards for excellence by Clutch.co, UpCity, and Software World.
In 2021, Agency Partner was honored as part of the SMU Cox-Caruth Institute “Dallas 100” list of high-growth businesses.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
Roll with the punches and at first, be very opportunistic because revenue is oxygen. Be persistent, test many things quickly and run with the wins while quickly cutting the losses.
If you dwell on the losses, you will quickly lose opportunities that are presented elsewhere within the organization.
Also, when it comes to employees, constantly assess who does what and know that roles and teams will change frequently.
As you grow and hire new employees, I have learned to “fire myself” from roles that I either do not enjoy or that I’m not good at.
As an entrepreneur, I work on the company and try not to work in the company. Vision and an eye (and ear) for what is going on in the market is super important.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Start SEO early and never stop.
Once you dominate organic search, recurring marketing investments into paid advertising and events become way less important relative to new revenue.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
As an entrepreneur, it is essential that work and personal lives are merged harmoniously.
The work week is 7 days and the work hours are 24 per day. You have to fill the gaps as needed, and that applies to both personal and professional needs.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
An active, honest customer and employee feedback loop allows the company to constantly evolve and improve to better fulfill its pursuit of excellence.
We are constantly assessing our strengths and weaknesses to allow for a better experience, to boost our company culture, and to build our brand.
Management is just as critical as itself, often relying on objective 3rd parties for analysis and appraisals, as it is of the overall employee base.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
We put the customer experience first. Our account managers and project managers understand that it is our job to ensure that our clients experience a custom tailed approach to their marketing and technology needs.
Not every business is the same and some people require unique types of communication and at varied frequencies.
Our goal is to make our customers feel confident in what we are doing, as their partner, to meet very specific business goals.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Sell value. Do not try to sell with the mindset of being the cheapest provider on the market.
Similarly, do not be sold bold as to think that small customers are unimportant to your top line revenue.
The fact is that if you are selling value, and truly working to map your solutions back to the client’s specific business needs, then selling should be easy.
Many businesses are too rigid in their ways and do not actively work to understand why a sales lead is knocking at their door.
The fact is that if enough questions are asked, selling should be easy. A strong sales process that requires a sales person to ask the right questions is one that enables a company to sell more, faster.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
The shutdown mandates during the covid-19 crisis followed by an avoidable economic recession have been very difficult for small businesses.
As an owner and entrepreneur, my partners and I have taken on significant personal risk to obtain the capital necessary to weather the economic storm.
At times, we personally took pay cuts while onboarding new talent to fulfill client contracts.
Being a business owner is not easy, and often times employees fail to realize what it takes just to break even each day. Persistence, collaboration, and prayer help the wheels turn.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
Texas is a great place to live and run a business for many reasons. The local and state governments are fairly easy to work with, relative to the federal bureaucracy.
They are also much more accessible. During the covid-19 crisis, the Small Business Administration completely failed thousands of small businesses like mine through their botched handling of the Covid EIDL loan program.
I am thankful to Texas’ local economic development teams for offering guidance and resources. Additionally, Texas has generally excellent colleges and universities, offering access to a highly educated workforce.
Compared to other states, the cost of living in many parts of Texas is affordable, so many new graduates stay in Texas at the start of their careers.
Being as Texas is affordable, the communities are also typically safe places to raise a family.
Adding to all of that, Texas is centrally located and offers ease of travel through a robust air travel and highway system. It is easy to travel internationally from Texas, and a flight to New York or California takes only a few hours.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
Honestly, there are really no disadvantages to running a company in Texas.
Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?
Texas has been diverse for a long time. Companies are able to the best people for any particular role from within the state.
The most quickly changing things in the state, relative to business, happen to be political attacks on the Texas’ energy industry and an economic recession sparked by the Biden Administration’s mismanagement of the country.
It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?
Absolutely. The Biden Administration has been absolutely detrimental to business. Federal policies have dramatically raised the cost of everything, from food inflation to fuel.
Our business is a B2B business and unfortunately, we have customers who have gone under.
The cost to fulfill service contracts is greater and when companies try to pass those increases on to customers, it is a very difficult reality.
Politicians often try to demonize businesses for being greedy, but the reality is that while real wages have declined every month since Biden took office, companies are unable to gives raises that adequately compete with out-of-control inflation.
With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?
Absolutely we have been impacted. The cost to drive from home to the office has doubled because of insanely high gas prices.
We used to be energy independent and today, instead of encouraging American energy businesses to produce more oil, we’re buying petroleum from countries that are not friendly with the United States.
To mitigate this politician-made, avoidable mess, we have created a hybrid work arrangement that allows employees to work from their homes, as well as our physical office location.
In addition to that, we have had to conduct thorough profit/loss analyses on our customer contracts. That data has allowed us to terminate contracts that were operating at a loss.
As long as we are operating at break-even, we are okay with operating as a “non-profit” to weather the economic storm without raising prices on our customers.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
We wish to build our brand as one that is known for customer service, quality, and excellence.
We want to continue to expand our Dallas office, while also growing our enterprise relationships through the United States and abroad.
As a marketing and technology solutions provider, we wish to provide our customers with an unfair market advantage.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
We would love for people to get involved with our business, either as a customer or as a follower.
Check out our website at AgencyPartner.com and reach out to us on LinkedIn. Don’t be a stranger! Please, connect with us and introduce yourself.