People will tell you not to take the business of business personally. But as CEO of EvolveMKD, a fast-growing public relations and digital marketing agency based in NYC, I do take it personally. I’ve learned that it is possible to sustain a growing profitable company and consider what’s in the best interests of your employees and clients while staying true to a value-based mission.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Lead with Your Personal Ethics. I put people above profits and believe these practices should be a part of every company’s ethos. My team and I put in long hours, so to make it easier to balance work and life, I offer unlimited vacation days and sick leave, Summer Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day and an early leave time on Fridays year-round. Responsible adults are capable of balancing their work and life themselves. Why should people lose pay if their illness lasts longer than the five days most companies allow, or why should people feel guilty about leaving a few hours early on a Summer Friday to catch a train or bus for a weekend getaway?
Yes, at times I’ve had to be more rigid in my expectations of behavior and provide stricter guidance to some. But, providing this personal flexibility has created a loyal workforce of professionals who share my drive for success and mutual respect.
2. Be Kind, Don’t Suck. Choose your team of like-minded people. My entire team shares our performance-based culture of respect and kindness. We don’t hire mean people. One thing I’ve had to learn, however, is that I can’t just assume all people have that ethic of hard work and respect built into their core. Leading by example and being careful about whom I hire helps mitigate this business truth. And, the few times someone has slipped through the cracks, they’ve been let go quickly. We respect each other’s work and time and we show up every day to do and be our best.
3. Choose clients that align with your personal values. I also show my team members just how much I respect them by taking on only those clients that show us the same respect we show them. Every other place I’ve worked has put the client on a pedestal. We do respect and revere our clients, but the relationship needs to be an equal partnership. Before we take on a new client, we meet with them to determine if our values sync up and that everyone agrees on what is realistic, both in budget and results.
Because we primarily deal with innovators, we also make sure our clients’ developments or advancements are legitimate and the claims we will be promoting are sound. We know our agency’s reputation is also on the line with every client we represent.
As my business evolves, continuing to make smart choices with my personal ethics deeply ingrained in every decision ensures we’re growing in the direction I envision for my company. By being personal, your business too can thrive!