Taking Stock for '08

(A Quasi-Newbie Keeps Learning the Ropes)

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(Note: We'll go one more week on the "Can the Corporatespeak" contest. There are some very good entries to this point, but I think we could use a few more.)

Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
This February will mark my first full year of "freedom." When I left Entercom to pursue this new path, I had some idea of the direction I wanted to go. Three months after that, I was convinced that I had figured out a more clearly defined way to approach all of this. With that came what I now realize was moderately displaced focus. As I started hammering everything out, I noticed some things about myself and the way I do things that will be helpful in '08. I'm curious to know if any of these ever resonated with you or your company.

The Business Model Can Change on Half a Dime. What I thought were good ideas weren't. What I thought was folly are actually viable business and growth opportunities. I constantly wonder if I should just abandon some of the original core ideas or figure out a way to make them work. If I chase, do I end up missing a great deal or is it part of a bigger picture? Six months ago, I was focused on building business in a highly niched vertical. There has been some progress, but, ultimately, I see limited opportunity. The growth is elsewhere and it's clear that it can bear better fruit. Have you ever started with an idea that you believe in and had to shift dramatically?

The Best Advice Comes from Everyone. I went back to a post from last February when I cut the cord and read the comments again. All of you are really smart and exceedingly generous. What stood out was that there were equal parts big-picture and small stuff that I may have not thought about. Even in a highly competitive landscape, I was amazed at the sincerity and candor. The Karma train has a first-class seat for all of you.

Feedback Is Vitally Important. I realize that I have been given a profound opportunity to be part of the Small Agency Diary. My hope is that, in some small way, I am able to continually contribute to everyone else's success even if it means just trying to make everyone laugh every so often. As I get a little older and a little (hopefully) wiser, I truly value all manner of feedback. I have been blasted more than a few times (in most cases, for good reason). But, what's important is that is has opened up some great dialogue that moves the peanut a little.

Humility Is Important. The work is what really matters. Unflinching service to a client and a brand matters. Serving the greater good of what one believes in, in my opinion, matters. If someone chases greener pastures for no tangible reason, real success can be elusive. I think we all agree that we'd like to grow, but I'm finding that being grateful for the opportunity is a valuable piece of this complex puzzle.

Don't Be Afraid to Let Go. I've been in a few situations where it just didn't feel right. These have been fairly decent opportunities that had real fiscal growth potential. But something in the back of my mind told me to walk away. It's tough to walk when there are actual dollars on the table but I just couldn't bring myself to exhaust resources and emotional energy for something that, ultimately, may not be worth the trouble.

This is Really Fun. I've heard many of you echo the same sentiment. Now that I've done this for awhile, I completely understand why all of you did it in the first place.
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