Celebrating 15 Years



To honor Spire2’s fifteenth year in business, we will be sharing fifteen things learned along the way about business and marketing. Each week leading up to Thanksgiving, we will share one below. Sign up here to receive these by email.

15. An exercise in gratitude

When I started to consider how I would mark fifteen years of business ownership, I stumbled on this quote: “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” by Melody Beattie. Wow, just wow. Read that again. I will wait. Gratitude has been an important value at Spire2 […]

14. Great creative doesn’t happen by accident

I have been in the design industry for almost thirty years. I have watched a lot of creative be produced — both good and bad. The amount of change in the design industry is astounding. Even as it continues to evolve, I can predict the success of a project before the final work is ever […]

13. The inner critic and business success

Are you successful? Your inner voice probably already shouted an answer, and it likely was not ‘yes’. One of the greatest challenges in life is managing your inner voice. I think being a business owner makes this challenge all the more difficult as you don’t have any outside criteria like a job description or performance […]

12. Success does not always lead to more work

I think one of the damaging myths of business ownership is that doing good work leads to more business. While the reverse is true – doing bad work will lead to failure, there are many times that doing successful work does not guarantee that you will get more business. Defining Success Let’s be clear on […]

11. Staying small is the new big

One of my first clients in 2003 hired me to develop their website. Even though I had designed a few websites, this was the first time I actually built one. These were the days when sites were all custom-coded. Over the years Spire2 has built many websites, and I faced a time when I considered […]

10. My biggest strength is also a weakness

When I mapped out this series about the things I have learned in the past fifteen years of running Spire2, I knew that this one would require some vulnerability. It has proved hard to write, because I can’t wrap it up with a clever little bow. Over time, I’ve recognized a quality that I have […]

9. The secret formula for marketing success

I remember taking a prospective client out to lunch many, many years ago. The only thing he didn’t want to talk about was doing the work of his job. He was interested in the politics of the large company that employed him and in doing as little work as possible. It was a very long […]

8. Good marketing doesn’t always work

I have recently been working with a client that is going through a significant amount of internal change. This has resulted in a major disruption of all their marketing. As I have navigated through this change, I have experienced anxiety and frustration. Part of this is coming from the natural tendency we all have to […]

7. Email marketing is still the king

So far I have shared how important the role of email marketing has played in the history of Spire2, and I have shared why email is more valuable than other social media channels. But since 2007, there has been a long list of “experts” that have said email is a dying medium. Ever heard someone […]

6. The best clients always leave

As I look back, we have done a lot of work that I am proud of, but there are some clients and business relationships that stand out. It was a combination of things that made them special, but all of them share a common fate of becoming former clients. The hardest part is that none […]

5. Marketing has become cheaper, but a whole lot more complicated

Without a doubt, the last fifteen years have brought a whole ocean of change in how organizations market themselves. Websites are a perfect example; best practices in website development and strategy change every few years. Looking at a seven-years-old site is like going back to prehistoric times. The saying “what works today, will not work […]

4. Owning your own business stinks

I remember it quite vividly. An employee had a completely different idea of how our self-promotion should be executed. We discussed it and went back and forth. I suggested we sit on it and come back to the project in a couple of days. On the inside, I was frustrated.  “I own my own business, […]

3. You gotta keep learning

As part of selling my previous agency, I signed a non-compete. With no income, three little kids, and one on the way, I needed a way to stay in touch with my network even if I could not work for them. During this time the U.S. government passed the CAN-SPAM Act (2003). Email marketing was a dirty […]

2. Sticking around is a great marketing plan

In my first year of business, I distinctly remember attending a speed networking event at the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce. If you have not been introduced to this form of torture (written with a wink), everyone goes around the table and delivers their sales pitch and passes out business cards. At this particular event there […]

1. The future is more exciting than the past (but the past has some great stories)

Fifteen years. So much has changed. In 2003, I had three children under five and my wife was pregnant with our fourth. My business partnership ended very abruptly and I traded the liability my business partner had not fully disclosed for a non-compete and a few months of money in the bank — but no […]