Tony is a strategy-driven, brand-focused 19 year veteran of the advertising industry. Prior to founding The BLÜ Group in 2004 he served as a senior account executive for a variety of large, national brands including Hickory Farms, NEBS, and Betty Crocker. Since BLÜ’s inception, Tony has dedicated his time to helping small-mid size businesses and organizations build strong brands while volunteering for a variety of civic and professional organizations, including serving on multiple boards and chairing a variety of committees.

5 Lessons to Help You Achieve Personal and Professional Success

As The BLÜ Group – Advertising and Marketing enters its 12th year in business I wanted to look back and contemplate everything I have learned as a manager, boss, board member, professional ad executive, mentor, human resources director, and all the other titles I hold being a small business owner. As I did that I came to realize there are hundreds of lessons I have learned along the way. There are too many to share in one post so below you will find 5 lessons that continue to prove their worth at our company and in my personal life. These are not the top 5 lessons, but they are lessons that have helped me in so many ways and I think they will do the same for you if applied across-the-board.

  1. Always Be Improving. I have heard it said multiple ways over the years, but most recently Mark Cuban put it this way “Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you.” It is important for employees to know that there are candidates out there that want their job so they have to prove themselves every day and never get complacent. As an ad agency we have to understand that there are other ad agencies trying to take our clients so we have to always be proving our worth to them. As a husband, father, son, and friend I always want to be improving on those relationships. Complacency and mediocrity are two things that I despise so I am always pushing myself, our team, and our clients to always be striving to do better and be better.
  2. Loyalty Gets Rewarded. One of the qualities that I admire, and appreciate, the most is loyalty. As someone that has dedicated thousands upon thousands of hours in training our team to help them achieve our three primary positioning statements – Sound Strategy, Amazing Creative, and Incredible Customer Service, I am appreciative when those same team members are loyal to me, our agency, and most importantly, our clients. You need to have people that will go to war with you and for you in order to succeed. This type of loyalty is hard to come by and I understand good people occasionally move on to new positions, but those that work hard day in and day out while they are here will always have my support. The same philosophy applies to our clients. As long as they are loyal to us, we will always be loyal to them, give them our support financially, promote them to others, and do everything we can to grow their business. Through the ups and downs at work and at home, those that are in it for the long haul will always be number one on my list.
  3. Ideas Alone Don’t Mean Anything. You Must Have an Action Plan. All too often I have seen our team and our clients come up with an idea of some sort and it ends up going nowhere. This could be due to a variety of reasons: schedules fill up so it falls by the wayside, it wasn’t thought through completely (see #4), proper funding is not available, poor follow-ups, lack of buy-in from key decision-makers, etc. The key to preventing this from happening is assigning someone to lead new initiatives and holding them accountable for next steps and making sure it gets the proper attention. At The BLÜ Group, we are just as guilty of this as the next company and it’s my job to ensure things get done. That reminds me, I have to get a logo created for The Big BLÜ Project!
  4. Think. Think. Think! Everything we do involves multiple variables and through years of experience we are fortunate to have seen all the things that can throw projects off if not thought through properly. All too often people take the easy way out and forget to think everything through to completion. This could be due to a lack of experience, but usually it’s Think. Great ideas come from thinking. Take the time to think.due to laziness and / or a desire to just get it done as quickly as possible. Don’t fall into this trap. Take the time to think about what you’re doing, what could go wrong, what you will do if it does go wrong, what a client may say, how you will react to what they may say, how something is going to be used, i.e. a logo, what needs to change or be accounted for given all the ways it may be used, and on and on. The ability to think is one of the most underrated qualities in our industry and in life, but when done well will prove to be a valuable trait that others will lean on you for when push comes to shove.
  5. Be Impressive. This has been my primary mantra lately for employees and clients alike. Impress people in all areas of your life and business at all times. From the way you present an idea to the look and feel of your workplace, impress people. When an employee answers the phone, will the person on the other end be impressed by their friendliness and clarity or are they left wondering if they called the right company and who they are speaking with. Impress people with the way you dress and the way you carry yourself. Impress clients with your knowledge about their industry, issues, and ways that they could grow their business and strengthen their brand. Impress your staff by showing appreciation, being a source of knowledge and leadership, and giving them the tools to succeed. When’s the last time you impressed your spouse, significant other, or family members? As you think about everything that you do and the people you encounter, are you leaving a great IMPRESSion or a less than great one? Anything less than great should be unacceptable if you are going to win the never-ending battle of success in business and life.

There are so many other lessons that I have learned along the way and I plan on sharing them as time goes on. Do you have any that have helped you succeed? If so, please share them with us here.