This time last year we handed in our notice. It was bit scary, but we knew we wanted to run a company our way and do more of the sort of things that made us happy.
One year on, we’ve learned a few things along the way, and we’ve got a bit wiser about what we want to do (and not do).
1. WE’RE HERE TO DO THE BEST WORK WE CAN AND TO LOVE DOING IT.
This is our most important rule. When we’re not enjoying something, we think about why and change it. If we ever stop loving what we do – and we can’t think of a way to change it – we’ll pack it in and do something we love instead.
2. WE DON’T WANT TO GET BIGGER.
We know too many companies that have made crappy compromises because they had to keep growing their ‘bottom line’ (because that’s just what companies with shareholders do). Who says? We are the shareholders. We like working as a pair, and following rule one more.
3. WE DON’T WORK THE 9 TO 5. OR LONG HOURS.
We don’t think the most creative work comes from sitting at our desk in set hours. So we don’t. (A Monmouth coffee and a change of scenery works wonders.) We’re not into the macho working late thing either. It makes work sloppy.
4. WE’RE NOT FOR SALE.
We’re not expecting WPP to come knocking at our door any time soon but just in case, we don’t need an exit route, thanks. We like it here and we’ve yet to find an agency that’s become more creative after it’s been bought by a big media company. We’ve come across plenty that have gone downhill as a result.
5. WE’LL SAY NO.
If we don’t think we’re the best people to do a job, we’ll say so. It’s surprisingly hard to do. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in our first year, it’s trust your first instinct. It’s nearly always right. Companies should pick agencies in the same way. We’ll all do better out of it.
6. IF ONE OF US IS QUEASY ABOUT A BUSINESS’S MORALS OR ETHICS, GO TO RULE FIVE.
It’s not a perfect rule but it’s better than not having a rule about ethics at all.
7. WE WON’T FLY SOMEWHERE JUST FOR A MEETING.
In a past life one of us had to fly to a meeting in Europe because the client preferred to meet people ‘face to face’. Then they cancelled it when we got there. So we’ll stick to trains, Skype and the phone. And if we can walk, all the better.
8. WE WON’T CLAIM TO DO ANYTHING WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO.
If we think someone can help make a project better we’ll say so (and we won’t add any markup to the fees). We love working with people but we won’t ‘white-label’ what we do or pretend we’re working for another agency.
9. WE WON’T KEEP QUIET IN CASE WE LOSE A BIG CLIENT IN THE FUTURE.
People sometimes say to us: ‘you can’t say that’! Saying something libellous is bad. Having opinions is good. We think agencies should have more opinions for the sake of raising the standard of work everywhere. Feel free to disagree…
10. WE WANT TO DO SOME GOOD ALONG THE WAY.
We’re not into taking on a CSR project for one day a year that has nothing to do with our day jobs (and then being corporate for the other 364). We want to do something big and good and well. We’re working on this. More news when we’ve put in a few more hours…