An Entrepreneur on the Road to Success Thanks to Relationships, Business Evolution, and Values

“Brands struggle to find the right marketing agencies. Agencies struggle to find the right brands. Setup is the matchmaker bridging the gap between brands and agencies.”  

This was the idea that Joe Koufman, founder and CEO of Setup, hammered home in two of his most recent interviews. 

Following the interviews with Nathan Latka, of “The Top” Podcast and the Dana Barrett Show on Biz 1190, Setup’s CEO, Joe, spoke about the upcoming changes for the company, the need for Setup in the marketplace, and his entrepreneurial journey.

Joe Koufman (right), Setup founder and CEO, with host Dana Barrett (left) of "The Dana Barrett Show" on Biz 1190

Joe Koufman (right), Setup founder and CEO, with host Dana Barrett (left) of "The Dana Barrett Show" on Biz 1190

Three major takeaways that provide entrepreneurial success and a competitive advantage emerged from the interviews: 

  1. Emphasis on Relationships

  2. Room to Evolve

  3. Tireless Commitment to Core Values

An Emphasis on Relationships

In Nathan Latka’s podcast, titled “The Top”, Joe discussed how he has always excelled at making connections in his professional life, as well as his personal life. This passion enabled his ascent to success in multiple marketing agencies. Amidst his agency-side journey, Joe noticed the disconnected, troublesome road to finding a “perfect fit” between brands and marketing agencies, thus, the idea for Setup was born.  After Joe left the agency world, he turned down multiple job offers to create the initial business model for Setup:
Setup is the “dating service for brands and agencies,” Joe told Latke. “[We strive to] make connections between brands and agencies.” 

Setup makes connections between brand and agency marketers in a number of ways. One way is by holding quarterly Marketing Breakfasts. Here, Joe’s team listens to the concerns of clients about the marketplace and facilitates introductions in a more personal and comfortable environment. 

Read related posts about the latest themed #MarketersBreakfasts: 

#MarketersBreakfast - Molding Creativity in the Work Place

#MarketersBreakfast - Creating Fantastic Customer Experiences

Joe Koufman leading a discussion between Atlanta's top marketing brand and agency executives at the last Setup’s Marketers Breakfast.

Joe Koufman leading a discussion between Atlanta's top marketing brand and agency executives at the last Setup’s Marketers Breakfast.

Setup’s culture of connectivity starts internally. Everyone on the team is encouraged to share their ideas and opinions and potential opportunities for the company. He noted Greg Crabtree’s labor efficiency ratio to Latka: the need to bring in 2.5/3.5 in revenue for every dollar spent on payroll. If the ratio is high, his staff needs to increase as to not burn his team out. However, if it is too low, the profitability will suffer from too many employees. 

Setup’s team at a staff bonding event at Escape the Room.

Setup’s team at a staff bonding event at Escape the Room.

Key takeaway: Relationships are everything. How you interact and treat your clients and staff matters. Success is reflective of how relationships are fostered.

Room to Evolve

Setup is continuing to adapt to the need of the market and clients. Since the founding in 2014, Setup has experimented with additional service offerings.  2017 is a big year for Setup, bringing along plenty of changes. 

For one, the business model has evolved to benefit the clients even more. Setup understands there is just not a single best agency for all clients. This insight led to the expansion of service offerings to include multiple agencies in each category, an Agency-Client Speed Dating service, and an option for clients to outsource their RFP process to Setup. Now, when a brand asks for multiple agency options, Setup has the ability to deliver. The speed dating format enables the client exposure to several potential partners without investing a lot of time and energy which results in a more efficient selection process. The process often results in a more “perfect fit.”

Click here to fill out a free, confidential form used as the basis of conversation between brand and agency. 

Setup is also a valuable resource for marketing agencies. Setup is working on a training series that enables agencies to improve their business development efforts. The web product is scheduled to launch in June 2017. 

Key Takeaway: Markets and clients will often dictate shifts in service offerings. Companies must evolve so they can thrive.

A Tireless Commitment to Core Values

Maintaining business values and a core mission statement are essential for growth and success.

Setup firmly stays true to its values - emphasizing them at every weekly company meeting.  Ensuring the entire team is aligned with the values enables the company to remain consistent as it grows. Also, clients like working with companies with compatible values.

Key Takeaway: Companies that live their core values tend to thrive more than those that have no clearly defined values.

Setup continues to challenge the market to unlock the keys to success. By staying true to the core values, adapting to the market, and constructing solid and loyal relationships, Setup is experiencing significant growth and setting itself up for the next phase of opportunities.

Key Takeaways from Nathan Latka’s “The Top Podcast”

Nathan Latka has one of the most well known business podcasts, "The Top" about successful start-ups and entrepreneurs.
  • As a CEO of a company, if you’re not pulling out the salary that you would be making as a hired CEO, then your business is NOT profitable.

  • Continue to grow your business as much as you can, but be mindful of the interesting offers that come along the way.

  • Invest in relationships.

Key Takeaways from The Dana Barrett Show:

  • What is right for one brand, is different for another...hence the need of a matchmaker like setup

  • Adjust business model depending on marketplace need

  • Integrity is of utmost importance in any business interaction