2019 SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies: No. 8 Advantage|Forbesbooks
LEADERSHIP Adam Witty | Founder & CEO
INDUSTRY Publishing and Marketing
If someone were to make a movie about your company, what would be the story you'd want to tell?
Smart and talented people, working together to create products that our customers want and value, while living our purpose of helping entrepreneurs grow themselves and their businesses.
What is the one thing that you would want others to know about your company?
When you enjoy the people you work with, and are fulfilled by the nature of work you get to do, it isn't work any longer. It is a calling. I'm sure not every person in our organization would say that, but that is the end that we aspire to achieve.
What interview questions do you ask or what hiring techniques do you use to hire the right candidate?
The best technique is a TORC, threat of reference check. When you suggest to the candidate that indeed you are going to speak to their former boss, it acts as a truth serum. Interviewing is hard, because a resume is a document in which all of your accomplishments are embellished and all of your failures are removed. Our interview questions are more behavioral and action-oriented: Tell me what you did when X situation arose. Tell me how you handled X situation, etc.
What lessons did you learn the hard way? If you could go back five or 10 years, what advice would you tell yourself?
1. It is a lot easier to hire people than to let them go. Be slower to hire. 2. Hire fewer people but pay them more. 3. Have more fun along the way - don't sweat the small stuff.
Have you acquired or merged with a company as part of your growth plan? What advice would you give to a company considering the same?
Yes, in 2016 we acquired a book PR firm called Shelton Interactive and still work closely with the CEO of that company today. In 2018, we acquired four more companies: News & Experts in Tampa, Fla.; Magnetic Marketing based in Chicago; Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta and a ghostwriting firm in Boston. Some we have brought in to fit the needs of our in-house team while others we have left as stand-alone brands.
My advice is simple: acquisitions are fun to do, and really hard to integrate and extract absolute value. Given what I know now, most of the time I would elect to organically start or create rather than buy, if all else is equal.
What marketing tips would you offer other companies?
Write a book. A book is the single best piece of marketing collateral that you can invest in. It will pay for itself year over year and establish you as the authority, celebrity and expert in your field.