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Perspective FM

A podcast by founders of small indie creative agencies, giving our perspective on starting and running our own companies. The aim is to provide some useful advice and inspiration to others, as well as learn from each other and others we get to come talk on the show. Hosted by Jon Darke and Dan Gent.
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Perspective FM podcast; A podcast by founders of small indie creative agencies, giving our perspective on starting and running our own companies. 

Jun 21, 2017

On this episode Jon & Dan take a listener question. Steve Cowburn writes in to ask:

“Why do people start their own companies, given that the rewards and workload can be tough? What is that 'certain something' that we get out of doing it for ourselves?”

 

To answers Steve’s questions, Jon & Dan cover the following topics:

  • What was the initial decision process in starting our agencies - what led us to take the plunge?
  • What was the turning point where it first felt like a business and an agency?
  • Working on our first ‘product’ and finding our niche
  • What were the first things that began to highlight how hard it can be to run a business
  • Doing the first business activities as new founders
  • Who did we look towards as inspiration - who could we learn from?
  • What was our fallback plan?
  • Business and personal milestones that forced us to make decisions
  • Hiring the first employee
  • What do rewards do we get from it personally
  • What are the purely financial rewards?
  • Working hard and what you need to put in
  • If for some reason we no longer had our companies, what would we do next?

 

Show notes 

Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace - Ricardo Semler

 

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Apr 28, 2017

This week Jon is joined by Dan to talk about how we manage your time and feel productive while running our agencies. It’s a hard thing to quantify and we feel every business and person running them are different. But we talk about what works for us, along with what doesn’t.

 

In this episode they discuss:

  • How the problems changes as you begin to scale.
  • Various tools we use to manage team
  • Abiding by systems or not?
  • Understand what you have achieved rather than not achieved
  • Tracking your activity and productivity
  • Email etiquette, and when to allow it in
  • Meetings; good or bad?
  • Coming away feeling good
  • Diversifying task types and being realistic

 

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Mar 6, 2017

This week Jon is joined by Dan to talk about how sell the value of the design process to clients. If you’re working with clients who don’t understand the value of design or simply don’t have any experience working with a design team, how do you communicate the value your design process can bring? The benefit of doing this well can mean:

  • the project will run better
  • the communication is easier
  • the decisions you make are understood and respected
  • everyone enjoys the process
  • the end result is likely to be more successful

 

In this episode they cover

  • How do you sell the value of design to a client?
  • How do we communicate the value of design thinking and the time to do it properly?
  • How do projects go differently if the client gets it or not?
  • How do the results differ if you've applied design thinking throughout?


Show notes


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Jan 30, 2017

Jon is joined today by Anna McLoughlin of Inkspiller. Inkspiller are a copy and brand strategy consultancy helping businesses find their inner voice and communicate to the world. Anna works mostly with creative companies - helping agencies to find their voice and communicate what makes them different. Anna recently took Every Interaction through this process and the result was a new content strategy that led a revamp of their website.

 

In this episode they cover:

  • Create companies and how they struggle to communicate what they do effectively to clients
  • Making your agency stand out and getting your key differentiators across
  • How Every Interaction worked with Anna to update their messaging and website copy
  • Anna’s workshop and the exercises she undertakes
  • Working with different sized businesses
  • Creating a company brand handbook
  • Why should someone hire you over another agency?

 

 

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Jan 16, 2017

This week Jon is joined by Matthew Lenzi of Hanno - a globally distributed product design agency. Hanno are quite unique in the way that they run their business, using a distributed team working around the world in a self-described vision of how companies should work in the future. They’re living the dream sold to us by the level of communication offer by the internet - something that’s quite unique and I’ve not seen anyone else do quite as successfully before.

 

In this episode they cover:

  • The history of Hanno; how it formed and how the idea of using a distributed team model came from. 
  • Using regular company retreats to work/be together in person.
  • Daily communication technique, such as: PPP - plans, progress & problems.
  • Working around the clock in different timezones.
  • Using ‘pods’ of team members on projects.
  • Letting everyone choose where and when they work, and how much they get paid.
  • Pairing up remotely by planning around people's schedules.
  • Over communicating. 
  • Introverted and extroverted personalities in distributed teams. 

 

Show notes

 

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Nov 14, 2016

This week Jon and Dan are joined by Andy Budd form Clearleft - a well known UX Design agency based in Brighton. Clearleft are well known for their high quality of work as well as advancing the field by putting on a number of UX, Design and Development events around the country every year.

 

In this episode they cover:

  • Small vs large agencies
  • Quality vs quantity of client work
  • How do Clearleft judge their success metrics
  • Taking on the projects you want to work on
  • Growing the team from the founders and adding new skills
  • How adding content strategy skills to the team has helped Clearleft enhance their offering
  • What are the driving factors behind the events and conferences Clearleft put on, and what effect does that have on their business
  • Giving back to the design community - why we do these things

 

Show notes

  • Clearleft’s website, including their work and blog. Keep an eye out for the new website & rebrand launching end 2016/early 2017.
  • Clearleft’s new event; Leading Design (24 - 26 October 2016). At the time of publishing, now in the past, but sign up for details next year
  • Clearleft’s other conferences:
  • Every Interaction’s website update, taking a content-first approach.

 

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Oct 30, 2016

This week Jon is joined by Pete Campbell from Kaizen Search - an SEO and digital marketing agency based in London. Pete started his agency 3 years ago as a one-man band, and has since successfully scaled to 9 people.

 

In the episode they cover:

  • Starting a business as just one person
  • Hiring the first person
  • Should you take on interns or apprenticeships when you’re a small agency?
  • What skill levels should your early employees be?
  • Handling cultural differences in a small team

 

Show notes:

 

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Oct 16, 2016

This week Jon is joined by Brad Flowers from BullHorn Creative - a brand & communication strategy agency in Kentucky USA. Brad and his fellow directors have been making changes to how they run their business, inspired by meeting folks at peer groups and studying business books. This inspiration has helped provide them with a more solid foundation for growth and stability. In this episode Jon and Brad go over this experience, and share how anyone else can do the same.

In this episode they cover

  • Focus on working more on your business than in your business.

  • Adapting and assigning roles to individuals as you grow.

  • Having accurate data to be able to make informed business decisions.

  • Understanding your core values of your business - why you exist.

  • Using peer groups to share experiences and learn from others locally.

 

Show notes

There are some great blog posts over on Bullhorn’s blog. A few recent examples include:

 

 

Oct 2, 2016

Jon is joined by Rory MacDonald from MadeTech - an agile development agency - to talk about how you can use agile methodologies to deliver website development projects.

 

In the episode they cover:

  • What characteristics make a successful agile delivery?

  • How to spot a if a client is going to be suitable to work in an agile way

  • Managing scope, budget and timelines with agile

  • Working with clients to understand complexity

  • Managing risk to ensure software is shipped and deliverables

  • Reassuring customers that the agile processes you are proposing will deliver them the results they need

  • Educating clients about the benefits of agile processes and transforming businesses from within using it

 

Show notes

 

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Sep 3, 2016

This week Jon is joined by Dylan Baskind - designer/developer and founder of proposal writing tool Qwilr. We speak about Dylan's journey from working in the agency world, having direct clients and hitting frustrations with creating proposals in the ‘print’ mentality of an A4 PDF doc that takes way too much time to create and delivers an inferior experience for both creator and client. We talk about how Qwilr came to be and what goes into making a great proposal.

Dylan also shared with us his top tips for making sure your proposal has the best chance of helping you win the work:

  1. Make sure it looks fantastic. You can’t put a price on first impressions and if the first thing a potential client sees from you has a design that is not pleasing to look at, then you’ve almost already lost. That first impression must be made immediately, as they will form an opinion within the first few milliseconds. Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye.
  2. Use data-driven quantitative proof to back up your claims for case studies. Tie your work directly to project success metrics to validate the worth and investment in your input. 
  3. Use a compelling story to communicate past case studies to clients. Teehan+Lax used to write case studies in a wonderful way. An approach we've started experimenting with at Every Interaction. 
 

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