As we approach Christmas, Dom and I (Andrew) have been reflecting on the amazing journey we’ve had since launching AD HOC at the start of the year.
As 2 poms with no network in New Zealand, it’s been a rollercoaster ride as we’ve sought to establish ourselves in a new market place.
And we’ve grown a lot. A huge amount in fact.
Here are the top 7 things we’ve learned in 2017:
1. We enjoy working with Kiwis
Prior to launching AD HOC my working career was limited to Europe, primarily London. Likewise Dom spent the last 10 years in Sydney.
So it’s been a step into the unknown as we’ve looked to build up a customer base of NZ businesses.
The good news is we thoroughly enjoy working with Kiwis.
2. Budgets are lower in NZ
All of the above is the good news. The bad news for us was that the budgets over here were far less than we’d anticipated. The companies we were meeting simply didn’t have an appetite to spend like businesses in Aus & the UK.
This has meant we’ve had to react, pivot the business and change our offering. And this has been a good thing!
Read the next point…..
3. Don’t be afraid to pivot
We’ve spoken to hundreds of businesses this year. Most have told us the same thing – they didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing agency. So, this meant that 9 months into the business we took stock, re-evaluated what we were doing and made a big change - we pivoted.
This involved the following:
The result has been hugely positive and we’re delighted we made the change.
4. Social media is a minefield for people to navigate
The vast majority of people we meet are keen to use social media in their business. The problem is they’re not sure where to start.
This has been a common thread with the majority of companies we’ve met with. The most common questions are:
They’re all fair questions. Our job is to give our clients a framework which helps them see the wood from the trees.
5. Social media hasn’t changed anything
Whilst social media has changed the marketing landscape, actually the core principles of marketing remain exactly the same:
6. Most companies aren't doing enough marketing!
We say this because we meet so many companies where marketing is a bit of an after thought. We urge you to put marketing at the heart of your business.
Think about it, if you get your marketing right, then sales will come in and if sales come in then everyone is happy.
7. Never compromise when it comes to your value base
When we launched AD HOC Dom and I agreed upon a set of principles which would be the foundations of our business. We have stuck to these even though it’s been tough at times.
In particular we’ve walked away from several potential clients because in each case there was 1 element that sat outside of our principle base.
That was hard. As a startup, to turn down solid revenue opportunities is testing but we did it and in hindsight we made exactly the right decision.
Running your own business is the only way to go. 12 years ago I left the corporate world and became an entrepreneur.
From that day until now I have never felt the Sunday Night Feeling. You know the one. Where you’re sat in front of the TV and at the bottom of your heart you don’t really want to go to work on Monday.
I don’t get the Sunday Night Feeling. In fact, I’m the exact opposite - I can’t wait to get to work. I love working for myself.
It’s a hell of a challenge and it’s not easy but it’s incredibly rewarding and at AD HOC we feel like we learn so much every day.
Bring on 2018...
What will 2018 bring?
AD HOC is a year in and we’ve got a good foundation in place.
I always think it takes 18 months to establish a business. We’re making good progress and the next 12 months will be fascinating.
To all our clients, suppliers, connectors and friends, thank you for your support in 2017 and bring on 2018. It promises to be a good one!