#020 How to put family first AND build your dream business with Kerry Tustin

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Jay Owen:
Hi, welcome to Building a Business that Lasts. My name is Jay Owen, and I’m your host on a quest toward stories, tips, and ideas that will help you grow a business without being stressed out, worn out, and ready to quit. Each week, I’ll interview other business owners who have successfully grown businesses of all types for many years. It’s my hope that these conversations will help you build a business that lasts.

On this episode, I interview Kerry Tustin. Kerry is the owner and creative director of Hybrid Design in St. Augustine, Florida. They focus on advertising and graphic design. Kerry has a master’s in advertising and design from Syracuse University. She also spent eight years as an assistant professor of graphic design at Flagler College, before starting Hybrid Design in 2002. Kerry has lasted the test of time by building relationships with people, and taking care of her customers and team. I’m really excited for this interview with Kerry. …

Hey Kerry, thanks for being on the show today.

Kerry Tustin:
Thank you, Jay. I’m very happy to be here.

Jay Owen:
I’d love for you to tell a little bit about your story and how you got started. Why you started Hybrid Design, what made you take that leap out of … You’d worked in other jobs before. You worked as a creative director. You’d worked as a teacher at a university. Now, what made you say ‘Hey, I’m going to start my own thing?’

Kerry Tustin:
Okay, that’s an excellent question. I have a short answer and a long answer. I’m going to give you the short answer first.

Jay Owen:
Okay.

Kerry Tustin:
The short answer is because of my family. That’s how my business actually started. With my family being priority in my life, my husband. I have three children. Right now they’re 20, 18 and 15. They’ve always been my priority.

The long answer how I started my business is I started working as a designer in ’92 for a small agency. It was super fun. We had a great clientele, a lot of boat companies, medical companies. It was a lot of fun to work there. From there, I worked at bigger agencies. I left there and went kind of on my own, like a freelancer, and kind of experienced all these different bigger agencies up in Jacksonville, Orlando and … surrounding areas; and still doing my own thing, … and you mentioned that I taught. Well, I started teaching part-time in the very beginning, computer graphics, which is a graphic design course that teaches the technical side of all the programs that you use for graphic design.

So kind of jumping ahead, I really loved that, loved what I did as a designer. How could I mesh the two? Well, I ended up thinking, ‘I’m going to go ahead and get a Master’s Degree, so I can teach full time in the future.’ When that happened I had my first child. That was in 1997, and so I’m kind of jumping ahead now. I’ve had this agency background. I have a master’s degree, and now have started a family.

At this point a job opened up to me full time at Flagler College, which I took, teaching design and advertising. My design career sort of took a back burner which was okay. I did a little bit of stuff on the side, but my full time career was the teaching.

Meanwhile, I’m growing a family. I had a second child in 2000. Then I thought, ‘Okay, this is really great. I’m teaching, I’m doing a little bit of design.’ But, I wasn’t doing as much design as I wanted to do, design and advertising.

I said, “You know what? I’m going to take a,” … in 2001, I said, “I’m going to take a sabbatical.” During that sabbatical with full intention of going back to Flagler College, because I loved my job there teaching. I took the sabbatical to get back into the latest trends of advertising, because the internet had kind of taken off, and web design, and video. Things were really changing at that time with advertising. I wanted to get back and teach my full potential.

Well, then I was expecting a third child, and then also my business, while I was on sabbatical, took off. That’s how Hybrid Design started, if you will. Yeah, I came back and I wanted to raise my family. I was able to go to the … be a homeroom mom, and still have a career. That’s the whole long story.

The short answer is, I started the business because of family. It just kind of grown from there. That was 2002 that I guess … incorporated Hybrid Design. The name ‘Hybrid Design’ comes from all the different backgrounds that I’ve had with teaching, and my master’s, and my design on small agencies, large agencies. It kind of was a hybrid of … and diverse backgrounds. That’s where that name came from.

I worked from home in 2002. I started with one employee, then it grew to two, and so forth. We moved into an office about five years ago. We’ve been in business now, this will be our 16th year that we’ve been business. We have seven employees. We have a great, great team.

Jay Owen:
That’s awesome. We talked about this a little bit earlier before the show started, just the reality of being able to stay in business that long is really a big deal. I think a lot of people who may be listening are either new in business, or maybe they’ve been around for a little while. They’re wondering how they can kind of make their business last the test of time. That’s why I love having conversations like this.

I think this conversation’s kind of interesting to some extent, and I’ve interviewed a few other design or marketing-related agency owners, because I obviously know a lot of them since I’m kind of in that world. Some people might think it’s kind of strange that I would have somebody on the show that, to some extent, is a little bit of competition, because there are certain services that our companies overlap with. I just really believe that there is a lot more value for all of us in collaboration instead of competition.

I love competition in all kind of environments, but my thing is … and you and I have worked together on all kinds of different projects in the past. I just love being able to talk to other business owners who have that same kind of mindset, and really believe, ‘Look, there’s plenty of work out there for all of us.’ It’s just a matter of finding the right fits from a personality standpoint, and then the specific services, because there are certain things that I think your agency is really strong at that maybe aren’t as big of strengths for us; and certain things that we’re really strong at might be different than what you are strong at. I think that’s really cool, and I’m thankful to have you on the show as a result of that.

Kerry Tustin:
Oh, thank you very much, Jay. I actually feel the same way. Going back to that you’ve interviewed a couple of marketing firms, and advertising and design firms. St. Augustine and the surrounding area, we’re a tight community. Since 1992, which is a pretty long time ago, I always vowed I would never take another person’s client. I would always want to work with them and partner with them, never burn a bridge. I agree with you. Collaboration only results in success for yourselves, the business owners, and also our clients. That’s what it results in. It’s teamwork. It’s partnering is what I like to call it.

I love that. I love what you guys do. I learn from what you guys do. That’s how I think good businesses can do that. If you really get into a hardcore competition, it creates bad feelings, I think.

Jay Owen:
Yeah.

Kerry Tustin:
I would never want to go there.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, and I think that one of the things that’s interesting to me, too, is I see people all the time in all different types of businesses that are so obsessed with what their competition is doing. I think it’s good to know what other people are doing out there, and kind of … just for your own education, if nothing else.

My thing is I have my own company. I’m going to run it the way I think. That’s why I started it was to have that freedom and choice. It’s the same thing for you. There’s things that you’re going to do that aren’t going to be the same as me. That’s okay. I think that there’s a danger for a lot of companies to kind of be obsessed with what other folks are doing, to an unhealthy level. It always makes me a little sad to see that.

Kerry Tustin:
I agree. You’re right, we’ve had some clients say, ‘We want to do what they’re doing.’

I say, “You might want to rethink that. Let’s revise it, and let’s mold it into what your current brand is. You’re successful, so let’s follow your own brand to that extent.”

Jay Owen:
Absolutely. I want to jump back a little bit. Usually I save this question until the end, but since you brought up family at the very beginning, I’m going to start there instead. Thinking about your family and your husband’s involvement in the business. Some people have husbands that are, or spouses, I should say, that are fully partnered in the business. Some of them just have spouses that have been supportive of them starting a business, because it’s a big undertaking. What’s that been like for you?

Kerry Tustin:
Well, I would like to say my husband has been completely 100% supportive of my business since day one. I couldn’t have done it without him. He helped me picking up the kids if I couldn’t, if I had a meeting as my business was growing. I definitely want to say ‘thank you’ to him for that help and support.

Jay Owen:
That’s awesome, and that’s really true for me, as well. Claire is not a direct part of the business from a official standpoint. She’s not a part of the team, but she really is. I mean she’s one of my best advisors. I really would not be where I am today without her, so I definitely share the same sentiment with you.

Family is a big priority for me, too. It’s one of our core values for our company. I’ve got five little ones. I’m just on the opposite end of the spectrum from you, because you’re the youngest is 15. My oldest is 13. I’m just now beginning to enter the teenage years. I’ve got a lot way ahead, since my youngest is five.

Kerry Tustin:
Right, right.

Jay Owen:
What I was thinking for you, as you started the business, I think a lot of people think ‘I’m going to start my own thing, and I’m going to have all this freedom and time.’ But then they also realize, ‘Well gosh, now it’s all on my shoulders. I’ve got to figure it all out.’ That, for a lot of people, can actually produce the opposite, and they thought they were going to have freedom, but instead, they created a monkey on their back by starting a company. How have you, over the years, learned to find that balance where you go, ‘Hey, the company’s over here, and these the things I have to do for that, but the priority is still my family.’ How have you been able to kind of keep the business growing over the years, but also keep that priority on your kids and on your family?

Kerry Tustin:
That’s a very good question. How I would answer that is being proactive rather than reactive to clients’ needs. For example, if I’m out with my family doing a … If I was doing the bake sale, or the Halloween parade, or what not. If I had to leave early for the day, I made sure that my clients’ needs were met. I think that, that’s a big deal. The balance of it. If you say, ‘Ah, I’m just going to go. I’m not going to think about what these clients need right now,’ and then you go to that Halloween parade. Then all of a sudden, there’s an emergency and that client is calling you needing something. Then you’re in a tough situation, and that’s where people can break down. If you kind of think ahead of schedule and plan ahead, so being proactive, I would say is the answer to that.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, I think that, that’s huge. The idea of just thinking ahead, versus constantly being in a reactive mode is huge; because you can help prevent all kind of things. We can never foresee everything, but at the same time, we can prevent most of the things if we spend enough time ahead of time, thinking through it and planning it, rather than waiting until the last second.

Kerry Tustin:
Correct.

Jay Owen:
Thinking about your business over the years, and different things that have come up that maybe were surprising for you; especially maybe when you first started the business, things you didn’t anticipate having to deal with, or difficulties you had to overcome. Is there anything that kind of stands out in your mind as things that maybe weren’t strengths for you? You certainly have the strength in the actual kind of technical work of design and advertising. When it comes to running a business, there’s all kinds of other stuff that we have to deal with, too, whether it’s going and closing sales, or managing invoicing in QuickBooks, or any number of other things that happens. What were some things early on for you that you had to kind of overcome and learn how to do that maybe weren’t strengths for you?

Kerry Tustin:
Another good question, Jay. I would say the difficulties, for me, in my business that I’ve encountered, and worked on overcoming is I find that a lot of people don’t understand what goes into good design and advertising. Just because they own Publisher or Paint, or Photoshop, and they can go on [inaudible 00:13:22] … a typeface, and a Clip Art image. They can slap a logo together. Well, what do you do with that logo?

What I’ve tried to do to overcome … People come in, ‘Oh, I put this logo together. Can you help me put an ad together now?’ They don’t understand the process. Well, how did you come up with the logo? Is this art copyrighted? We come up with original art. We think about the typeface, how it works with that mark. We develop not just their logo, but we develop a brand for that company around that logo. How will their ads look? What kind of messaging will they have? What kind of headlines will match their brand? What are the colors that will follow with their brand, and be on print campaigns, and outdoor, and television? What are the things that go into good design and advertising?

How we’ve overcome it is we sit down and we educate our clients. We say, ‘Here’s what will work. Here’s what won’t work, and here’s why it won’t work.’ We do a lot of market research. We do a lot of visual research. We make sure that their logo is original. The details are important to developing that brand, as you probably already know.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of times, especially with businesses, they hear the word ‘brand,’ and they think that just means making a logo. It means so much more than that. Like you said, I think one of the biggest things early on is that communication with the client. This really goes for any industry. It’s not just for us in marketing and advertising. It’s in a lot of businesses, because I think what happens is it’s easy for you or I, or anybody in the industry that they’re in to take for granted what they already know. To go in and just assume that that client is going to know the same things is silly. They’re not going to know those things.

Not that we have to teach them how to do our jobs, but it is really helpful, I think, to set expectations really clearly and to communicate really clearly. I always say one of the biggest problems in any relationship, whether it’s business, or personal, or anything else, is misplaced expectations. I expect somebody’s going to do this, but they expect I’m going to do that. It’s totally different. I always say communication is the bridge that connects expectations.

In those early client meetings, like what you’re talking about, or even before they’re a client, when they’re a prospect, to sit down and have those conversations of what the expectation is … and like what you said a minute ago, why you do what you do, is really important.

Thinking about client communication, what are some of the ways over time that you feel like have helped you get better at communicating well to clients, so that their expectations are clear, and they’re not expecting something from you, or your team that’s totally out of line, or not possible. How have you kind of developed those communication skills over time?

Kerry Tustin:
I have put everything in a plan, in writing. I think that helps not only internally our team, but it also helps externally the client. For example, if I meet with a client, I’ll have an agenda. We’ll talk about certain points. I’ll have it all written down, and I’ll make copies for everyone that’s going to be in the meeting.

From that agenda, I’ll go back, … go back to my team, create a creative brief about what needs to happen, whether it’s an ad campaign, or a digital advertising, or … any type of communication. We’ll do a creative brief, then we’ll send it back to the client and say, ‘Okay, here’s where we are with this, and here’s what we’re going to [del 00:17:04], and here’s what our timeline is expected to be.’ They don’t have to respond, but they don’t have to make comments on it. They can just, ‘Yes, got it. Thank you.’ Then they know what to … then they have expectations of what will happen.

If there’s something in that creative brief, like the color of the ads is red, and they want it to be blue, at that point, they can say, ‘Oh hey, it was supposed to be blue, not red.’ There we go. We’ve fixed a problem before we’ve even started to create it. That’s what really helps is-

Jay Owen:
Yeah, I think that’s really critical, and you do a good job of that. I’ve seen you do it before with clients is first of all, having that personal interaction, preferably of an in-person meeting if it’s possible, … and really kind of getting to know them, and getting to know the ideas. Then I think the next part of what you just said is really important, which is going back and putting all of that in writing, and then getting that approved because the worst thing that happens on any project, for me, is you get halfway into it and somebody says something like, ‘Well, I remember we talked about X, Y, or Z.’

The response should always be, ‘Well, hey, let’s look at the original scope, or let’s look at the original creative document. Let’s see if that’s what we had planned, and if that’s the case, you’re right. Let’s fix that. If we didn’t include that, we can always adjust the plan, but that maybe wasn’t a part of the original plan.’ Having stuff in writing like that after having a personal in-person meeting is huge for good communication on a project.

Kerry Tustin:
Absolutely. That was key is having it in writing. The other thing that helps, too, because it’s in writing and not just in my head and the client’s head, then my team at Hybrid Design knows what’s going on. We write everything down. We have our traffic meetings. We talk about it constantly. If I’m not there to tell them what happened in the meeting, they can refer back to that agenda sheet, or creative brief.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, absolutely. Thinking about teams and communicating with your teams, which is what we were talking about there a little bit. How long was it until you hired your first employee when you started Hybrid Designs? You started it in 2002. Do you remember when it was when you hired your first employee?

Kerry Tustin:
Yes. It was actually … This is a funny story. I worked from home. I built an addition onto my house. I had a separate entrance. My kids were at home. A lot of them babies. I had babies. They weren’t in school. What I did was I hired … I had a good friend at Flagler College still, who taught in the education … She’s in charge of the education department.

I said, “Hey, do you know any students that would like to be a nanny?” She got me one. It so happened that this nanny was a graphic design major.

Jay Owen:
That’s amazing.

Kerry Tustin:
She was a freshman. She watched the kids while I worked, but then when the kids would nap … because I said, they were babies. They napped a lot during the day. She’d come in and I’d teach her things.

Jay Owen:
Wow, what a gift for her, too. For the both of you, really.

Kerry Tustin:
[crosstalk 00:20:05] … It was … Yeah, it was awesome. By the time she was a sophomore, our roles sort of reversed. I had her working on the stuff. I gave her [crosstalk 00:20:18] … creative brief, ‘use this.’ I went and go … I went to go play with the kids, or pick them up from school.

Jay Owen:
That’s amazing.

Kerry Tustin:
It was great. I loved her. She was with me for about four years, really. Four years part-time. She worked through college. She ended up working … I couldn’t hire her full time at that point, but she went to start her own company. She’s now in business for herself. She has two children of her own. She’s done kind of the same thing. She’s very successful. She’s an excellent designer. That was my first employee. After she left, I hired Sarah [Mossaid 00:21:00], who is with us now. She has been … This will be her eighth year with me.

Jay Owen:
Wow.

Kerry Tustin:
That was my very first full time employee, and then we just kind of grew from there. Like I said, we kind of grew out of the … my space at my house. We got an office in [inaudible 00:21:16], and now we’re currently at the office we’re in is at the record building on State Road 312, and State Road 207.

Jay Owen:
That’s really a neat story, I mean what a kind of a fate, or … destiny type opportunity at the beginning there for you to have a nanny who kind of transitioned into a role like that. That is so cool.

Kerry Tustin:
Blessed, I want to say.

Jay Owen:
Absolutely, absolutely. I think that’s one of those situations where you almost can’t think that it’s just coincidence, at least that’s just me. I just look at it and think, ‘You intentionally made your family a priority, and then you started a business and you thought, ‘Okay, well I know I still need help with the kids, but I also want to be here.” Then, to me, that’s when the situation where God kind of intervened and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to put something in your lap here. It’s going to help you. It’s going to help her.’ What a great testimony that is. Gosh, now I’m so distracted because that story was so good, I don’t know where to go next.

Thinking about teams in general, because I worked by myself for a long time. Then, I had contractors. I didn’t have quite as cool of a first employee story as you. I did some hiring originally, and sometimes I didn’t do a good job. My first two employees, actually, one of them ended up quitting. One of them I had to let go. I did not start well in that area. I had to learn a lot along the way. Both good guys, it just wasn’t the right fit and the right timing. I didn’t really know what I was doing as a leader at that point, honestly, either.

Now, I have 12 team members, plus a lot of contractors that we use. It’s been interesting to grow over the years, to have multiple team members. My role’s changed a lot. I’m curious for you, how your role maybe has changed from the very beginning, versus now that you have other people that are involved with the team, and that can kind of take on some of the work that maybe you would have done yourself in the early years. How has that kind of transitioned for you, as you find areas that you can step out of, but then find the areas that you know you’re good at, that you want to stay involved in?

Kerry Tustin:
Well, yeah, that’s a tough … In the beginning, as probably you started, you do everything.

Jay Owen:
Yeah.

Kerry Tustin:
You do the QuickBooks. You do the phone calls. You set up the meetings. You talk to the vendors. You do all those things. All of them on their own, they are fun to do each on their own. As your business grows, you can’t keep up with them. To have people come in and say, ‘Okay, what do you like to do?’ … You kind of see what their strengths are, and you … release the control a little bit to those different strengths of those different employees.

One employee might be great at calling people, or talking with vendors. Another one, … like now we have an accountant that works with us. Great. Here’s the QuickBooks, but you still have to keep your hand in it, too, because you have to always know what’s happening if a client calls. You have to know where you are financially with vendors, and how to access that if that person isn’t there. That’s a little bit of a challenge. You got to keep your hand in it, but not totally immersed with that.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, I think that’s really important; that idea of … it’s almost like having a soft grip on it versus a hard grip, because you do need to know what’s going on. It’s one of those things I’ve had to learn over time is I don’t get to know everything anymore. One of the things that I heard a long time ago from Andy Stanley, which I thought was really good.

He said, “As your organizational authority increases, your individual competencies decrease.” That’s an interesting idea when you think about it, because I used to be a better designer than I am now; because I don’t really do much design work anymore. You and I are also different in that you actually went to school for that. That really … Design and advertising really is a strength and gift for you, where for me, I think my gifts really are more on the business side, than they even are on the creative.

I’ve learned over time, I have to find the right people, like you said, that have the right strengths, and come alongside and say, ‘Hey, you’re really good at this. Let me let you do this,’ and I’ll still be aware of it, and still kind of check in, but letting people shine in their own strengths I think is really important.

Kerry Tustin:
Yeah. I do think it’s important. Here I want to add, too, if you give them that control of their own accounts, and things to do, that makes them feel good about what they do. ‘I did that. I controlled that whole thing, and I made it successful.’ It’s like a little … almost like running a mini business within a business. I like to let them have their own control over things. They should, and that’s what, I think, makes people satisfied with their work, too. If they’re just … If I say, ‘Do this, do that, do this, do that.’ I don’t know how that could be satisfying to that person. They have to do their own thing.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the idea of people having individual autonomy, and individual authority within their areas of specialty is extremely important. I think one of the big mistakes a lot of leaders make is not being willing to let their team members fail. I don’t mean like fail catastrophically. Obviously we want to all prevent catastrophic failure from anybody, but at the same time, little failures along the way, where little mistakes are made, or maybe the decisions were made where maybe a better one could have been made. It’s the only way that they’re really going to learn really well. Then, we can come alongside and help guide it, and adjust it, just like we all need other people to come alongside us, regardless of how long we’ve been in business, and help give some insight and ideas. I think being willing to let people have their own authority, like you’re talking about there, is just hugely important.

Kerry Tustin:
I agree. We learn by mistakes. I don’t mind if they make mistakes. I really don’t. Just don’t make the same mistake twice I always say.

Jay Owen:
Right, yeah. Absolutely, learn from it. Exactly.

Kerry Tustin:
Learn from it. That’s all, and move on. It’s okay.

Jay Owen:
Absolutely. I totally, totally agree with that. I’m just thinking about our industry in general, like you mentioned earlier, has changed so much. I mean I started Design Extensions in ’99. Social media wasn’t even a word in the dialect. There weren’t … Google was not king of the internet, Yahoo was. Stuff like that, that’s so crazy now to look around and see something like Facebook that’s such a massive part of society, for better or worse.

How have you adjusted and transitioned through the years to go, ‘Hey, these are things we’re good at. These are things we’re still going to be aware of and know about.’ How do you stay current within your industry, and within the market that you’re in, so that you can help your clients continue to grow?

Kerry Tustin:
Another good question, Jay. For us to stay current, I’m constantly reading online, if it’s a magazine, anything about the new trends. I think what’s very important, specific to this area, is talking with you because you know a little bit about something that’s the new trend, maybe another printer. When we talk with our vendors on a regular basis, they let us know, ‘Hey, we just got this new printer in. It does this, this, and this. We can design right onto coasters, or we can just print right on to this wood substrate.’ All these different new trends. ‘Oh, that’d be great for say, this local attraction, that kind of signage if you print it on wood.’ Keeping up with the trends and even with you with the digital world, speaking with you.

I think it’s all about staying in touch with all your vendors, and finding out all the new things that have come out. We’ve been to sign shows, and print shows, paper shows. I’d like to do more design shows, but unfortunately, this area doesn’t have as many, say as like New York City, or Chicago, or Las Vegas. I’m thinking even this year, I’m going to take the team … We’re going to look and see what design shows are out there.

Those are the things that we try to do to stay current. Also, I think what stays … helps us stay current is okay, so there’s myself and I’ve been in the business for X amount of years now. Let’s see, so 16 plus another really 10 years, so 26 years in the business. My art directors are 10 years younger than me, so they’re more into the new trends. Then, younger than them are our designers, they’re just coming out of university and colleges. Having all those kind of diverse backgrounds of the team helps keep us current.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a really good design conference. I haven’t been to in a couple of years, but it may be worth you taking a look sometime. They do it in Columbus, Georgia. It’s called ‘Creative South.’ I don’t know if you ever heard of it.

Kerry Tustin:
No, I didn’t.

Jay Owen:
The guy that runs it, his name is Mike Jones. He used to run a small design agency called [‘Serve 00:30:34].’ He does amazing work. Recently he took a job … I think he’s like the lead designer for Aflac now, so he took a big job, but he’s still running this conference every year. It’s called ‘Creative South.’ That would be a fun … It’s a long drive. It’s like four and a half hours from here, but it’s a really fun conference. They have lots of great designers there, lots of great examples.

We have been a couple of years, but it’s super design focused, so that might be something that you may want to check out this year. I think they do it in April, because the last couple of years I haven’t been able to go because it’s been my wife’s birthday; which I obviously would not make the mistake of going to a conference on her birthday. That event is really, really cool. We started doing a little bit more stuff like that. Again, it’s a matter of figuring out what works time-wise, money-wise, and everything else, and trying to find something that really is helpful for the whole team to grow … because everybody’s in a different places, I think.

Kerry Tustin:
Thank you. I’ll look into that. That sounds great.

Jay Owen:
Thinking about … We’ll wrap up a little bit here. Thinking about your own personal growth as a leader, you talked about reading, communication with vendors, communication with your team. Are there any other areas or resources, maybe particular books that you have read, or conferences you’ve been to, or podcasts you listen to, or maybe groups that you’re a part of that help you personally grow to where you are able to keep leading your team well, keep leading your company well. Not even necessarily industry specific, but just business as a whole, or you personally. How do you stay focused and keep your head above water, and keep growing yourself [inaudible 00:32:05]?

Kerry Tustin:
Yeah. Saying current with the community, being close knit, going to different events in the community, that helps. For example, rotary or being a part of … just different fundraising events, like with the Flagler College, and Women of Vision, and all those types of things. Is there a book, or … I kind of want to back up a little bit, because there was something that happened with my master’s degree that really I always quote during business with my team.

My master’s degree was in independent study at Syracuse University. What that means is, for two years, we traveled probably every other month to different cities. New York City, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, London, England. We stayed for a long weekend in each one of those locations. We visited six to eight different agencies, all the way from like five person design studios, all the way up to huge advertising agencies. Listening to all those people in business, business doesn’t change so much. The idea of it, the foundation, I should say.

I always come back to … I would always ask them the same questions every time when we got alone with the creative director, or the copywriters, or the lead designers, art directors. How do you do this? How do you do that? All my normal questions. I bring those back to my own business constantly. What make them successful, I think about, and how can I apply it to my own business? I don’t know if that exactly answers your question, but it’s my inspiration constantly. I know it was 20 years ago now that I’ve received that degree, but I always go back to it. I still have some of the paperwork that some of the art directors and creative directors gave to us.

One guy always said, “Make the ideas fancy, and the layouts rough,” because it was the idea that drove people’s businesses. These were people that started branding Starbucks way back when, or created FedEx, the brand for FedEx. These were all these guys, the ‘Got Milk.’ All these were so inspirational. … I just constantly think about these guys on a regular basis, and how they did it. I apply it … I try to apply it to my own business.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, I love that. I think what you said a minute ago is really true in that business has not changed that much. The tactics maybe have changed, and the vehicles which we use to do certain things maybe have changed, but the reality is it’s about people listening to people, taking care of people.

My uncle always told me, he said, “If you really want to sell and you want to sell well, when you get into a sales meeting, your objective shouldn’t be to sell that person. It should be to help them, and if your honest desire is to help them, if they’re the right fit for you, and you’re the right fit for them, then you’ll close the deal, and it doesn’t matter.”

I think that, that’s been true since the beginning of the first business. I just love that, that’s kind of your approach and methodology. Is there any other kind of parting advice, or thoughts, or anything else that you want to leave our audience with before we wrap up for the day?

Kerry Tustin:
Sure. My parting advice for building a business that lasts would be build a strong and diverse internal team. That is key, that you have fun with, that are smart, responsible, just building that strong internal team. The next thing I would say is building a strong and diverse external team. What I mean by that are your vendors, and you and I partnering together, the printers, the … TV, the radio. All those people are an important part of your business. You’re all a team. You all partner to get the best results for the client.

Being proactive instead of reactive is a big deal, too, but that team is what’s important. Working with the right people, and like you just said, it is all about people. It’s all about relationships. We love working with all our clients. We love our internal team. That is my parting advice.

Jay Owen:
I love that. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today, Kerry. It really has been a pleasure.

Kerry Tustin:
Thank you so much. A pleasure as well, thank you.

Jay Owen:
I hope this episode has given you some ideas or inspiration that will help you grow your business. If you found it helpful and you know somebody else who might benefit from it as well, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to share this with them, maybe on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or even shoot an email over to a friend with a link to this podcast in it.

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for our email list at BuildingaBusinessThatLasts.com.

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