How Start-ups are like Puppies

Jen Dodson

Chief Creative Officer

Adashmore Creative is always improving our team through continuing education. Everyone finds opportunities to shorten the gap on what we don’t know and the skills other agencies have. Since I’m the main driver of new business, I’ve invested resources with McDonell Consulting and Development to take a sales program. Like anything, one can’t expect to maintain or improve a skill without ongoing work.

At one of the recent sessions, we discussed ways to categorize prospects based on target type. Keith Daw gave the example of squirrels being hard to hunt for very little reward. A bear or moose is also hard to hunt, but at least there is a large reward at the end. Being a visual person, my brain immediately started picturing an illustrated “Adashmore Creative Hunting Guide” (coming soon). I was assigning animal groups to our existing clients and prospects and had an epiphany: Start-ups are like puppies.

Before you accuse me of trying to hunt a puppy, let me explain.

When a family decides to invest in a new puppy, they know that there is going to be a huge time commitment upfront.  With the long-term relationship in mind, it’s easy to put up with accidents in the house or a little bit of chewing on a pair of shoes that you loved. Most dogs reach that point where they are fully trained and become the life-long companion you couldn’t imagine your life without. Other dogs never stop chewing or having accidents all over the house. When it’s a puppy it’s too hard to tell which type of dog you are going to get.

Then there are the adoptions. You get a puppy someone else tried to train and have no way to determine if it was trained properly or not. It’s not until you invite it into your home that you really understand what type of puppy you are dealing with.

So when someone asks if Adashmore Creative serves start-ups or small businesses, our answer is usually it depends. To us, the relationship is most important. Does it seem like an organization where all the hard work in the beginning could turn into a loyal partnership for the next several years or will it keep chewing on my favorite shoes?

There’s also the challenge of attention span. Puppies, like this one below, can get very distracted. Will they be able to focus on one product, one market, or one idea long enough to make a difference?

I’m not saying we attempt to train our clients to our will. It’s not about what we think is best or what the client thinks they want. Our relationships are about partnering to find the best approach for accomplishing the desired goal. If the puppy looks like it wants to grow into a stable, reliable business and is willing partner for the long-term, we’re certainly willing to help with training to get them there. After all, Adashmore Creative’s support often extends beyond how most people define marketing. We’re regularly involved in cultural development with HR, planning sales KPIs, and evaluating operational workflows.

Have a question or want to learn more about our approach? Get in touch and we’ll start a conversation.

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About Adashmore Creative

We built our business and reputation on helping brands bridge the gap between who you want to be, where you are, and your audience’s perceptions. Our focus is outsourced marketing strategy for relationship-based B2B businesses, including professional services, manufacturing, and trade associations.