In December my colleague Mike and I became Shareholders – something I could never have predicted when I joined for a four year stint in June 2000 as a Media and Account Manager (way back when agencies still planned and bought media) and returned in December 2006 as an Account Director.
The last two years have been both challenging and exciting as we’ve adapted our business model to reflect the changing needs of our clients, while the economy whizzes, green shoots sprout and then promptly get stamped on. However, we’ve been rewarded as an agency with a strong start to 2013 and personally as a Factor 3 shareholder.
Going from employee to employee/shareholder has been interesting – although essentially my day to day role hasn’t changed (I’m still making tea and stamping my feet in the studio when I can’t get my own way). Also, as both Mike and I sit on the management board (and have done for a couple of years) we already influence the direction and running of the business.
However, I have noticed little changes – things like turning off the lights in the middle of the day to save electricity (okay, the energy bill) and encouraging staff to all get the bus home after an F3 night out; whereas before we’d all have tumbled into taxis clutching receipts for petty cash.
More significantly it’s our management and planning meetings that now have even more relevance. Instead of thinking about the next six to twelve months, I now consider how our plans and decisions could affect the next five years. How will it impact on our staff, culture, clients and ultimately profitability?
Becoming a shareholder feels like the difference between living with someone in a rented house and being married with a mortgage. When you live together, you know you’re only a couple of months’ notice away from singledom; whereas marriage is (ideally) forever – richer or poorer, sickness and health. That’s how being a shareholder feels; you’re in it for the long term. It’s my/our responsibility to nurture, plan and decide the future for Factor 3 and I’m jolly excited about it.