A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having lunch with 352's Geoff Wilson. We were privileged to have worked with 352 during their site selection for their new office. I gained tremendous respect for Geoff, Peter, and the rest of the 352 team. They exuded a unified disposition of fun culture, a passion for their work, and a true understanding of what 352 is as a business. I wanted to have a chance to learn from Geoff; how had his business grown? What challenges had he faced? What could I learn and apply as Front Street grows?
While we were working with 352 on their office search we attended ReThink: Success, a leadership summit put on by FreshSpark. Geoff was a speaker at this event, discussing what success means to him and his company. This event was full of great speakers but Geoff was the best. Maybe his message spoke to me because of the current growth stage Front Street is experiencing? His message resonated. I knew then I HAD to have lunch with Geoff. I sent him an invitation that very day.
Here's Geoff's Keynote at ReThink: Success:
Here is a recap of our discussion
My first question for Geoff was this, what was the first year of 352 like and how did it inform what you do now?
Geoff described how he and his team focused on brand and position, knowing that it would yield opportunities. He elaborated that positioning is key to attracting the right talent and the right clientele.
I asked, would the younger you be proud of the current you?
The answer was yes, although he did realize some things he could have done differently. He tried to be self-reliant, and didn't seek out enough outside advice. Now, he leads monthly book clubs with his leadership team, where they read, discuss and implement teachings from business books. Through the course of the company’s growth, he focused on higher standards for hiring. He knew that talent would drive the value proposition. The lesson he learned that resonated most with me was this "If I had been less frantic and less "busy" … if I had gotten my head out of the day to day and looked at the bigger picture, I could have been more successful more quickly." Real estate brokerage often succumbs to the tyranny of the urgent. Whatever squeaky wheel is squeaking the loudest gets our immediate attention. Taking time to position your brand, hone your value proposition, and just take a few steps back can be more useful for the company and in-turn the client.
what is 352's Sweet Spot?
352 specializes in making in-depth websites, typically including a service or activity. Much of their current work is centered on usability improvements, digital marketing, and traffic enhancement.
How has that sweet spot evolved?
352 learned to not all things to all people. They do less small business websites and focus on finding the right customers.
What is 352's biggest opportunity over the next 3 years?
352 was managing 100+ projects a year. Now, they aim to manage 30. They are focused on raising the bar on their client caliber, and leveraging their business model through more focused business development.
What is the biggest challenge?
The market and technology is changing so rapidly. 352 is focused on refining their business development strategy and lines of service to stay ahead of their competition; As they seek to compete against larger companies.
What is something that will be common place in 3 years that is
Geoff described current technology where all aspects of a website will be customized to person reading it … they will recognize who you are and change the content. He gave a great example of where a site may know if a visitor is a potential customer or competitor. The customer may see case studies of relevant projects, products, and services. The competitor ... they will see job openings.
Check out their redesigned website over at 352media.com.
352 is scheduled to open their new office in Tioga Town Center in early 2014.