Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
Growth is uncomfortable. Whether pushed (life change) or pulled (following your dream) toward the career and contribution you want, commitment is foundational. The beginning will be tactical: creating a revenue stream, building a pipeline of business, and attracting the right people to work with you. Amy Anderson, Co-Founder at Wild Coffee Marketing, shares how accountability allowed her to build an amazing company through the discomfort of growth.
Time management, workflow to produce deliverables, and integrating work product time into the larger scope of life are all elements that underpin your company values. The way your company does work will be determined by the metrics measured at the company level, plus employee metrics. In addition to metrics, provide guidelines for being able to consistently deliver the work and product; when broken down by role, each person knows how they contribute to the success of the company.
In this program, you will learn that culture is how you do your work (not what work you do); that competing priorities always pop up, so with clearer set goals you have a way to navigate forward; and that sometimes contraction (in sales, margin, or resources) is an intentional way to reach growth goals. Jess Dewell talks with Amy Anderson, Co-Founder at Wild Coffee Marketing, about striving for greatness through creating a culture of accountability.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Amy Anderson
What You Will Hear:
Life change created a need for Amy’s family, and she changed based on her priorities and desires.
From two people to 20, know the foundation required and lean into it.
Before remote work was mainstream, Wild Coffee Marketing embraced remote work to recruit the best talent.
It takes courage to make quick and drastic changes.
Developing accountability requires metrics for the company and for each role.
Define how accountability looks and feels across a geographically dispersed team.
Choose a system to create consistency in how to run meetings, conduct planning, and assess results.
Priorities and personal energy management will create a flow for the week.
There is a clear workflow for the company that is demonstrated by leadership for integrating work/life as part of a high-performance team.
Additionally, for the Fast Track Your Business Today Uncut conversation:
Culture is how you do your work, not what work you do.
Reflect curiously about time management.
Data usage was a quantum leap in the growth and capacity development of Wild Coffee Marketing.
Realistic planning includes peeking out at three to five years in the future to gain a sense of what it could take to reach long-term goals.
Get uncomfortable, competing priorities exist!
Contraction (reducing sales or margin or resources) is a way to intentionally grow.
Connect to something bigger than yourself that has deep meaning for you.
It is BOLD to strive for greatness through accountability.
Amy Anderson 00:00
There, you have to have the right people on the right seats in the bus. You need to have financial reporting that gives you visibility about your cash flow and the capital you need to get there. And sometimes you just need to commit and hold on, and keep going.
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 01:04
Welcome to the Bold Business Podcast. I am Jess Dewell your host. And this is a place where we are talking about the journeys we have been on the journeys that we are on, and willing to share insights, success stories, and how we have overcome adversity along the way. Because here’s the deal, when we are paving the way when we are making our own path. It feels like we’re all alone. And it’s true, we are alone on our path. We are not alone in path creation. And that’s what the Bold Business Podcast is about. And I’m so excited to be talking with Amy Anderson. Today, she is going to share with us amazing insights. I’ve already had fantastic conversations with her. And I bring you this wonderful creative industry leader who’s widely respected with more than 30 years of experience with brands like Calvin Klein 17 Magazine, and their New York Times digital. She is co-founder of Wild Coffee Marketing. And her focus is to transform businesses through a diverse set of disciplined and tailor-made outsourced marketing team. This is key because we’re all looking for ways to maximize our focus to increase where we can be disciplined to take advantage of what is the most current without having to have that in our own companies and have those wonderful partnerships that help us along the way. Not only that, she’s like us. Her perspective of the entrepreneurial journey, especially as it relates to scaling startups. And also leading with compassion during demanding times is what gets her up every day to drive strategy to be creative to implement across all of the clients at Wild Coffee. I’m so glad to have you on our program, Amy.
Amy Anderson 02:58
Thank you so much for having me.
Jess Dewell 02:59
I’m thrilled to be here. As I was preparing for this one of the things that came up, when you and I first chatted, I thought it was really interesting because you didn’t think you were going to ever be here. And I think that’s a great place to start. Because so many of us are like, Whoa, how did we get on the path that we’re on? Will you tell us a little bit about that as we jump into this?
Amy Anderson 03:21
Sure. Sure I do. You mentioned my 30-year career, which is very hard for me to even grasp at this point.
Jess Dewell 03:27
You know, you’re only 40 I know that.
Amy Anderson 03:28
I wish. Turn back time and every other place of my life with the exception of my career. Because the wisdom and the experience and the path I’ve been on, it’s been really rewarding and terrifying and fantastic and lovely all at the same time. I was a corporate marketer. You mentioned some of the brands I worked with early in my career. And that’s where I strove to be. I loved working in big corporations. I loved the infrastructure around me, I love that guidance, the mentors, the training, the brand recognition, the ability to innovate. I spent most of my career in that place until I was divorced unexpectedly, with a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, these two phenomenal boys looking at them saying, Well, I’ve had 20 plus years of experience, I know I’d have to go into a big job. And that’s a CMO role at a large company in Miami. So what can I do that gives me some of the flexibility I want to be able to be with these children? And so I started consulting. So I’m much more an accidental entrepreneur than I am an intentional one for sure.
Jess Dewell 04:38
I think it’s interesting you say that because many of us set out to be entrepreneurs, and we’re accidentally not that as much as we are accidentally someplace else along the journey. So it’s really interesting to hear you say that. Well cool. I did it out of desire. I did it out of need. I did it out of the requirements that I prioritize in my life. How does that play out? From when you started on your own as a consultant to today, are those priorities still the same? Or have they shifted over the last almost 10 years?
Amy Anderson 05:10
Well, they’ve definitely shifted, I think it was more survival, I have to be fair and share that my parents were my angel investors, they gave me 12 months to start my own business and to become self-sustaining. They said that I had exceeded their expectations until that point in my life. So I was very lucky to have that support. The networks that we can tap into are critical early in our entrepreneurial journeys, and I tapped into that one. But really, it was about surviving at that point, really understanding what my model would be, what my ideal client was, how I charge for my services. And now that we went from my business partner, and me, because I eventually joined forces with him, from two people, to 20 people. Now, it’s really about creating high-performance teams, building a culture of accountability, creating the best place for people to work, where they learn and grow and have an amazing experience. And they can work anywhere, but that they don’t want to. So it’s become very much about scalability and team and environment and what we’re creating, and our mission, then it was about sort of survival and understanding what it was about in the beginning.
Jess Dewell 06:20
So where in wild coffees history did you go, Oh, we’re missing this piece.
Amy Anderson 06:26
I knew that I didn’t want to be a commoditized agency that focused solely on digital or on creative. And as we started to engage with CEOs, I realized that wow, every single company deserves a CEO or a CMO, rather, and needs that strategy layer, because I found that these companies were just doing things absent of a strategy. So it was very tactically driven, not cohesive, not sort of understanding the critical operational and revenue goals of a company. And so that’s where it started to shift for me, it was to say, we’re not just going to do this work, we are actually going to create safety for CEOs. Knowing that while coffee has this strategy layer, that we’re rooted in strategy, that we’re your outsourced CMO, we’re giving that to you, but you don’t need us full-time. You know, every company needs a strategist, especially in a digital environment where we own a lot of the customer experience. And so that felt really, really good to us. I said, Wait a second, not only are we creating a great place to work, but we’re also helping these CEOs and these teams with a strategy layer of the marketing piece of their business, which is critical.
Jess Dewell 07:40
It is critical and to recognize where you were on that part of the journey, we must be more than tactical, is something that I’ve heard over the years over and over and over again.
You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there. There are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You will also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often. Two, experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. You can access what will become your most versatile tool in your toolkit by going to FastTrackYou BusinessToday.com. Now back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 08:58
I’m gonna just ask because you may or may not remember this and that’s totally okay. Was it when you were on a run? Was it when you were walking the dogs? Was it when you were sitting in a meeting with a CEO that you went to? Oh, it’s time now this is what’s missing? Was there like this one or more fireworks that said, Okay, here we go?
Amy Anderson 09:19
Oh, absolutely. We were sitting with a client that does prepared meal plans and distribution. My business partner who is not a small guy, he’s six, three. He has been since he was 12. So we’ve been there’s big human and we are huddled around a desk together one desk in one little room at this client’s office thinking, Wait a second, we came into this engagement and started sort of fulfilling what the client thought they wanted. But really, they’re not really sure what they want. And we need to stop and take a step back and pull together a strategy that we ended up presenting to the board and became our driving force behind it. And that’s what we do. We present to boards to management teams, we sit in executive meetings because we have brought that strategy. And before we start an engagement, just we insist that, that Strategy Workshop is done, that roadmap is done. Because if you get up two degrees on a ship and sail for too long, you’ll end up on the wrong continent
Jess Dewell 10:19
You’re creating that compass piece. Okay, we know when we’re on we know when we’re off, we’re consciously recognizing to stay off or to get back on, based off of whatever has shown up in that bigger market in that bigger set of priorities in that these are the resources we actually have.
Amy Anderson 10:41
And we’re taking the onus off of a CEO, because how would you hold accountable a series of freelancers or a small in-house team managing freelancers or regional agencies, and really understand how what they’re all doing ties to the greater mission? And by outsourcing the whole piece, or by having a CMO in that seat? We understand overarching business objectives. We understand what the roadmap needs to be, and we know how to manage and hold accountable the team. So it’s very turnkey for them rooted in strategy because you mentioned macro market conditions. That’s critical right now. Very, we have a client who believes that the industry as a whole is 30% off this year. And how are we going to pivot this one segment of theirs, which is weddings, ironically, being off in an inflation-based economy, when not as many brides and grooms are doing formal weddings? And there was just a massive layoff last night by one of the major bridal retailers in the country, right? So what are we doing? And that happens today, if you have Junior marketing folks, or you have someone running an agency, they’re not going to go in with a CEO and say, Okay, this is how we’re training, changing strategy. This is how we’re capitalizing on this market. And these are the adjustments we’re making.
Jess Dewell 11:58
This concept of culture of accountability, and you’re doing it from the marketing side. And I know there are things that even the CEOs that you work with the boards that you work with, could benefit from saying, Okay, well, these are the things that are important to us. What are you measuring? What are you tracking, to create that foundational line of Well, here’s where our bar is that we’re going to meet or exceed. And by the way, that bar may or may not be the same per client or per day or whatever. However, we have the same starting line. That’s what I say to people. Are we all on the same starting work? Are we on the same field?
Amy Anderson 12:33
Well, I believe that every client engagement needs KPIs, no more than five, we may track up to 10. But we believe in five per engagement, right? top line, revenue is always a consideration. If we, if you are not driving top-line revenue as a consultant as a coach, in contributing to that, then you’re not doing your job. So those five KPIs per engagement are something that we align on with clients in the beginning, and we track it on a weekly, monthly quarterly basis. How are we doing? You know, you have to have those sort of objective measures in place. So that’s what holds us accountable. And then we look at our team, how do we hold them accountable, and they have KPIs to it may be a percentage of billable hours per month, it may be positive and forward movement of projects, and clients and engagements, satisfaction of clients and customers, if you’re customer-facing what is your customer satisfaction rate, and things like that. So I think that the KPIs from the client side, and the KPIs on the employee side, are really important. The other thing that we asked them just to our team, every 90 days, we do quarterly reviews, on a scale of one to 10. What’s your energy level? It’s not a 10. Let’s talk about what’s going on and how we help bridge that gap. So I think that really accountability is commitment, How committed is your team to the business and contributing? And so I think it’s really important to get a sense of where they are every 90 days a temperature check, if you will.
Jess Dewell 14:00
So you’re running a dispersed team, your team is all over the place. You all don’t go to the same office every day. You all have separate ones.
Amy Anderson 14:06
When we founded the company in 2017. Yes. So before COVID, this is how we decided to run the company so I could hire the best people.
Jess Dewell 14:13
I’ve had on-site teams, dispersed teams. And then I’ve also been in hybrid situation. And I will tell you what, they take a different mindset. And they take a different kind of commitment. The hardest thing I ever did was that hybrid model of some on-site and some off-site. And so figuring it out and deciding what’s important and the way communication happens. People could not figure out how we were so successful. And the hybrid was hard because the way people work together in person is a little different. And we did not have the technology that we have today to tie that together. And that’s I think why I found it the most challenging was well you, you actually had to show up to the people in two different ways and that was taxing is supposed to grow lead drive yet build all of these people and you’re already limited time was even that much more removed. And so I get all of those challenges. And it’s cool that you consciously made that decision in 2017, to be dispersed and to your point, to hire the best people, what is best in wild coffee? What is best mean in terms of the people that you’re looking for?
Amy Anderson 15:17
I used to think that I wanted very deep sort of consulting agency experience. And then I started to shift and say, Wow, did I know the most about marketing, let’s do client side. And I realized it’s a hybrid of both. I think that people who are fearless work best within our culture because it is a culture of innovation. It is a culture of transparency and openness, where no idea is bad. We welcome them. And imagine that in a remote sort of distributed work environment, that you’re coming in, and saying, I think we can do this better. But we create systems and structures for that we actually use EOS. And you and I’ve talked about this to run the organization. And it’s a system that works really well for us. And it works well for us because it creates a cadence of meetings and sessions where we Ida Ida, discuss and solve. And we also plan. So given the structure of our company having some sort of operating system that as a leader, you say, You know what I’ve studied three of them. This is what works for me, given our size and lifecycle where we are as a company right now. And we’re gonna stand behind this, and we use software that helps us run our system called 90. And issues, ideas go into those. And so it’s a culture of contributing, that you don’t want to come to an EOS a level 10 meeting and without any ideas, anything to discuss or solve, right? So it’s very transparent in that way. And I think that’s very important when we’re not seeing each other in an office. How do you as a leader, try to create a culture of contributing, where everybody is visible? And I interviewed someone for a position this morning. And I said, By the way, we are an on-camera culture, which I felt that I should say because I have clients and I go to meetings, and maybe only 20% of people are on camera, weird on-camera culture, we look at each other, I want to see you not because I think you’re doing something else or more. I want to connect with you. I want to see your body language, I want to know what’s going on.
Jess Dewell 17:17
So oh, I had employees, I didn’t even know what they look like. When, except for whatever picture they chose to show on the About Us pages way back in the day. Isn’t that funny?
Amy Anderson 17:30
Well, do you think that shifted? Now? Do you think since COVID, that on camera is more common than you know, our clients are all on camera, we actually ask our clients, we really want to be able to connect with you in meetings and see you.
Jess Dewell 17:41
The answer is yes, there’s a huge shift on many levels. And to your point about connection, I’ve only had one person say, I don’t think I want to be on your podcast because you actually record me on video and I don’t wish to be on camera.
It’s time to take a brief break from our show. Fast Track Your Business will improve your business results. This high-value program is an unbeatable value, to make it easy for you to act now. With your subscription, you have access to “Ask Jess Your Business Questions” and exclusive resources on key leadership topics. Subscribe now; visit FastTrackYourBusinessToday.com. And know that you are moving forward in the right direction. Let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast.
Jess Dewell 18:25
a couple of clients who refuse to be on camera. And I’m like, well, that’s okay, that means you get to fly me to you. And I would be glad to see you in person, to the point of what you’re saying is, connection is important. So how that connection occurs, can be worked around as long as everybody is committed to that outcome. Because without that connection, the eyeball to eyeball. So you can see that I’m taking all of these notes so that you can understand Oh, even though she’s not saying anything yet, she just sparked something based off of what I said, Right? Whatever that is. Visual is important. In my opinion, nothing beats person to person. I agree. Because of what it allows. And it gives us the opportunity to have a new kind of discipline. I don’t know about you. But when I started getting on video a lot, and this was like 2017 2016. Same as you right? When we first started a lot of the video stuff in general, I had to relearn how to manage time, the getting up between meetings always took time. So I always had time to go outside and take a break. So I always had time to refresh in terms of like a mental change. get done with the last thing and be ready for the next thing, which in this on-camera culture. It was very hard for me to shift to and I was glad I did it when I did because I was able to have grace for people who were always late because they forgot to go to the bathroom between their meetings because they scheduled back-to-back meeting. So to that point, you have all the little thing when these decisions are made and let’s talk about connection. We still have to own and be responsible for our own And, and that it’s hard because we all do time differently. Have you seen any great ah-ha’s or opportunities that have presented themselves in terms of like what I was talking about, about not overdoing the face-to-face on video and still having that space to ensure your people are at a 10, maybe their learnings from your quarterly review?
Amy Anderson 20:25
Yes, clarity breaks are a part of our culture. And I reinforced that all the time that I want them taking walks, our art director drives every day for 15 minutes, he just wants to focus his eyes further than a foot in front of him. So he gets in the car every day, I want them taking walks, I want them blocking time just to think and to do all of that. And I think you have to continue to reinforce because it’s very easy, right? I’m booked for nine hours back to back to back. And that happens quite often. And so we really try to take time to Friday afternoons are not a meeting scheduled time for us unless absolutely necessary. I want them to start winding down. I believe in our circadian rhythm because it’s there with Sunrise Sunset and sort of being in tune with that. I also believe the week sort of starts and there’s a bell curve to our time, I don’t like them to schedule early Monday meetings, I think things start to crescendo by Tuesday, Wednesday, we have more openings Thursday, Friday is our amazing team meeting that is sacred to us every Friday at 11. Eastern to accommodate our West Coast folks. And that is a very sacred time. And then we start winding back down. When you have a team that works very hard, I think to create a rhythm. And a pattern that works for them with those clarity breaks take time. And also no emailing clients on weekends. I prefer they not work on weekends. So please, if you choose to, because that works for you can please schedule any outgoing emails to Monday at 9 am.
Jess Dewell 21:53
And to your point, there’s just nothing that can be done about it. I’ve tried everything, I start on the quarter hour, a lot of the time. So all of my client meetings, all of the things that I facilitate the start on the quarter hour, they’re either a quarter after a quarter till, and the reason for that is everybody, we’ll get to end with our last thing and actually be present at the beginning.
Amy Anderson 22:11
So when it’s not on the top, the bottom of the hour, it’s precision scheduling gets into people’s heads a little bit more, and then creating a culture to have time accountability. We do not show up to meetings late. We just don’t if you’re not a minute or two early, you’re actually a little bit late. And I think that just to have that as part of your culture and culture is not what you do. It’s how you do it. It’s the values, the beliefs, the attitudes that go into creating that. And it’s something I feel very strongly about. So even if it’s something like a clarity, break or being on time, or cooperating with your team members in a way that is positive and helpful. I believe that as leaders, it’s one of the hardest things that we can do requires the most consistency. And I think you have to be really courageous to understand what your mission and vision is, what your values are. And then what the culture is that goes with that. And I never just, I was trying to feed my family, and spend time with these little boys and create this consulting business, I had no idea that culture would be so important to me.
Jess Dewell 23:20
In everything that you’ve been talking about, about that culture, it sounds like there’s a lot of space to be who you are, there’s a lot of space to get them what you need to get done. Yet, there are certain things that ensure we have each other’s back. And even if we can’t, we’re at least side by side. And we can look at each other wide-eyed and go, Well, this one was surprising. And this is a little unusual. Yet, for the most part to your point, you even said earlier, you said you’re not going to show up to one of the kinds of meetings that you have, without an idea without something to discuss, which means it goes back to time, we must work time in differently. And I don’t know about you, it takes me a long time to get started on that deep work. I’m really good at tasks, it’s easy for me to get focused on that. My current self always hates my past self because I made all these great lists. And when I give myself that time, it’s well what do I do? What do I do here? And that was a big learning. And I’m still learning that after however many years I’ve been doing this, that is still a thing. Okay, it’s gonna take me 30 minutes to get into some deep work. So if I am doing a strategy, if I am preparing for a meeting, I have to add 30 minutes to the front of whatever time I think it’s gonna take, just because that’s how I know I work. And how cool is it that all the rest of the stuff all around that, and I can still show up the way that I said I would the way that is expected of me? And in my case, the way I set the expectation. It’s a win win win.
Amy Anderson 24:46
So that’s such a good awareness that you have that it takes you 30 minutes to get into that. You know, and I have a college-age son who’s a freshman at Auburn or Eagle. He said to me the other day he said you know what mom, like I have attended It’s easy to procrastinate. So it’s not the studying, that’s difficult for me, it’s getting started with a study. And then I get into the flow, especially if I turned my phone off, which is a big thing. And for me what I’ve learned recently, so I do big strategy, Docs, branding, Docs, a lot of thinking, I just start, and we call it the ugly duck. And it’s sort of our vernacular inside the company. They’re like, Oh, just do an end Ugly Duck. And what that means is opening a Google Slides deck, and I just start writing. And I just start putting thoughts down, slide by slide by slide and just seems so simple to just start, just start somewhere. Because if I’m thinking about, Oh, I have this big thing. And oh, it’s going to probably take me 30 hours, and oh, do I really know what I’m doing here. But if I just start writing, or just start doing, it gets you into the flow of it, but that took me a long time to learn, like my son is saying, well, once I get there, I’m in. But it’s getting myself there. And he’s working on that.
Jess Dewell 25:59
Strategic vision is necessary to create sustainable growth, to create lasting growth yet, is that really what you see in practice? We say it. But is that actually the way that it manifests and shows that, that the work is being done?
Amy Anderson 26:14
I think it shifts especially now. I mean, one of our core values is energy is everything. And that energy is actually related to pivoting. So do you remember when we used to do six-month plans, 12-month plans, and it would actually be a marketing plan for six months? I plan in quarters now. I know. Us too. Yeah, it’s quarter by quarter because of how quickly everything is changing the one sort of that vision that hasn’t changed our values, and we revisit them quite often. And they really, our overall mission of making CEOs feel safe is still very relevant, because that ties into the integrity, that outsourcing to us means we will get it done. And we will do what we say you’re going to do. And we will drive results. And you don’t have to worry about holding people accountable, hold us accountable. And we will honestly tell you what we’re capable of and get this work done at pricing that helps you reduce the cost structure in, in house team that’s done, the values have not changed. But that sort of strategy and vision will, will, will pivot we started by doing smaller engagements and volume. And I said, You know what, there’s just as much work that goes into having many clients at a smaller scale than some of the bigger ones. So we are going to quadruple our pricing, we are going to go up the food chain, and upstream with our client base to the point where now we have national brands. And sometimes I think you just need to say it and be determined and commit to it. You’ll get the bus there, you have to have the right people on the right seats in the bus. You need to have financial reporting that gives you visibility about your cash flow and the capital you need to get there. And sometimes you just need to commit and hold on, can keep going.
Jess Dewell 27:55
Hold on and keep going. Amy, this is Amy Anderson. She is co-founder of Wild Coffee Marketing. And you know you’ve been listening to her share her insights not only with learning but how she is showing up and has developed this lasting thriving business to provide a key piece of data, a key role in every organization in a way that is adaptable and flexible and ensures that all of the focus all of the discipline all of the knowledge of what’s new and working. So what could be coming for you and how to take advantage of it is what wild coffee marketing is all about.
Thank you for joining us on the Bold Business Podcast. Your journey towards greater success continues with our Fast Track Your Business membership. By subscribing, you unlock the rest of this enlightening interview and gain access to a wealth of resources. These include invaluable tips, insights, and experiences shared by leading business figures, all curated to foster your entrepreneurial spirit and professional growth. So, DON’T DELAY. Visit fast track your business today dot com, and take your business journey to the next level. Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for production assistance.