In 2008, Mike Schaffer was working as a commercial photographer, living the dream. He had a job he loved and clients he liked. He was working with his friends and had money in his pocket. But he noticed something: The agencies his clients were working with were selling them “one size fits all” campaigns instead of customizing their campaigns to suit what each individual business needed to grow.
So when his clients actually started asking for more than photography, Mike, never one to shy away from a challenge (and also not short on belief in himself) thought, “I can do that!” And he did.
In the last 15 years, Mike has built Echo-Factory, Inc. into a world-class agency, servicing clients in sectors from health care to aerospace to cyber-security to robotics… We could go on, but then we’d be here forever.
Now, it hasn’t all been moonlight and roses. It takes time, effort, luck, and no small amount of perseverance to keep an agency not only running, but thriving for this long. Over the years, Mike has learned a few things about what makes his business flourish:
1. Being flexible and having an ability to adapt is key.
The moment you think you know all the things is the moment you become stagnant.
2. Working with great clients is better than working with not-great clients.
We’ve all had to work with clients we didn’t love or who didn’t love us, but the magic comes when you are able to find and work with clients who get you, and you get them. Don’t be afraid to seek out those clients and say no to the ones who aren’t a great fit.
3. You’re only as strong as your team.
If you have people you can count on, who are as passionate about the work as you are, and who are willing to take on new challenges, then there is no limit to what you can achieve for your clients.
4. Culture matters.
Burning your team at both ends isn’t sustainable.
Your employees, your agency, your work, and your clients will all suffer. Take the time to create a culture of support, positivity, fun, and community. It will always pay off.
5. We’re in the business of customer service.
Of course, big ideas matter. Of course, design matters. Of course, strategy matters. (And the EF team can do all of those things in their sleep.) However, what matters more than anything is the level of service you provide to your clients. They need to feel that you are an extension of their team, that you are as invested in their business as they are, that you are partnering with them every step of the way, and that you’re their people. When they know that, then you know you’ve got a client for life.