by Nathan Greenberg, CEO
Today is our 10 year anniversary. We are official made of tin. The decade milestone has been achieved and I am very proud to be here. The pride is anchored in humility and many hard lessons learned, yet here I stand along with my team as we celebrate success. The success is not ours alone – not even most of it. In all likelihood, we are here because of you.
When I look back at the beginning, I remember a very challenging and exciting time. Arkside’s origin was far from auspicious. It was December 2009 and January 2010 when I had discovered the ad agency I was with was going to collapse. The owners were mismanaging and co-mingling funds, vendors weren’t being paid, employee tax payments were missing, paychecks were bouncing, and they were gripped in a very nasty divorce. I had joined this agency three years prior as part of a buyout – largely because of my accounts. Now it was my job to protect those accounts.
My two largest accounts had ongoing media spends, creative work, and long relationships with me. I wanted to ensure they’re operations were not interrupted by this disaster. But how? I wasn’t comfortable with other agencies in the area and I took the success and protection of my clients very personally.
Ultimately, it left my serial entrepreneur attitude with one choice: start an agency.
So I did. With supportive family, friends, media partners, clients that came with me, and a couple of investors, Arkside Marketing was born.
Arkside is not my first business but it was my largest at the time. Different challenges have come through every business: Personnel, client goals, budgets, market changes, and certainly outside influences in personal life.
But Arkside has taught me more than any other. For example, despite my initial investors and extreme fiscal conservatism, Arkside was underfunded. This limited our options and capabilities in the beginning. I initially built a completely remote-work company. Everyone worked from home! That didn’t offer the structure needed by some and I lost good employees. I failed to invest enough time and money into marketing (cue the cobbler’s shoe story) so it took us longer to grow than I expected. HR issues within the company, clients who wanted to take our success in-house, unpaid invoices requiring me to file lawsuits, opening and expanding offices, changes in traditional and digital media landscapes, and a dozen other factors have taught me valuable lessons.
All of them have made me a better person, a better entrepreneur, and a better manager. Still far from perfect, but I appreciate every lesson learned. More will undoubtedly be coming!
Success is much harder than failure. I admit that Arkside is not where I thought it would be today. We’ve missed some goals and even had to realign our mission. But none of that is failure. They are educational days and Arkside is a success because of them. We have grown and continue to succeed.
We have made incredible achievements in the last decade:
Every item on that list is something that we look forward to continuing and expanding in the years to come. We have been able to make these achievements because of generous support from many clients, friends, family members, colleagues, partners, and vendors. I hope I have been generous with my gratitude over the years.
So what happens now?
This 10 year anniversary has given me pause. After the failures and successes that continue to teach me, I’m excited about the future. It has already begun…
I am already making new investments in technology, partnerships, and capabilities. There are new hires I look forward to announcing in 2020 to continue growing the company and provide new levels of service to our clients. All of us here at Arkside are working on new processes that can streamline our work and make things even easier for our clients. (This is one way we live up to Rule #2.) We will be hosting private client events beginning this year that will offer exclusive opportunities and give us a chance to show appreciation for their business.
For me, the future is about living up to the goals I’ve set for myself and many of the expectations you have set for me. Perfection isn’t possible but I will be working toward greatness.
For those that have hired Arkside to work with you, sent referrals to our doorstep, written a review, given advice when it was needed, provided excellent service to us or our clients, donated with us to charity, offered constructive criticism, Liked a social media post, or been a positive part of the Arkside team:
You have my gratitude.
May the next decade and more to come open opportunities for us all to make a difference.