On this day 10 years ago, we sat in a Dominick’s parking lot with two freshly purchased beers, not entirely sure what we were supposed to be toasting. We had just resigned comfortable positions with an established agency to pursue an idea — to build an agency that would do things differently for a unique set of clients.
In the next six hours we’d get our first two surprises as entrepreneurs. First, our attempt to trademark our original name, “Greenlight,” failed. And then we got “the call.” It was a former client, checking in to find out what we were up to and how we might continue working together.
That’s when we knew that this crazy idea might actually work.
If you would have told us 10 years ago that we’d be writing this blog post today, it would have saved us an awful lot of anxiety and stress. Our initial goal was to simply survive the first year. If we could get three years under our belt, we could pay back our investors. Five years would be a huge milestone – 10 years would have been too much to hope for.
Looking back, we wouldn’t have it any other way. The tremendous sense of gratitude that permeates our approach to our work stems, in large part, from the fear and discomfort that drive all entrepreneurs. This sense of appreciation, a refusal to take anything for granted, defines our culture today. We joke about fostering a “healthy sense of paranoia” in client service. Then we look under the stalls to see who else might be listening.
Over the past decade, we have had the privilege to serve some incredible clients, many of whom have been with us since that night in the Dominick’s parking lot. Along the way, we’ve had the honor of working with a team whose talent, commitment and creativity are simply unmatched. On a daily basis, we marvel at what this team is able to accomplish. We can’t help but get emotional about it.
Over the past decade, as our business found firmer footing, the way we’ve approached it has evolved too. Today our job is to create an infrastructure that fosters risk taking, creativity and innovation and then try to stay out of the team’s way.
One of the most gratifying and unexpected aspects of running Greentarget over the past decade has been watching our team progress through life’s adventures – marriage, starting families, buying homes and occasionally even moving on to new careers. The adrenaline rush we get watching a team member succeed and progress in their career is like rocket fuel. We want more of it.
Of course, there are still challenges, big and small. To combat the virus that is complacency, we recently forced ourselves to grapple with the difficult question of “Why does Greentarget exist?” A deceptively simple question that forced some serious soul searching.
Our answer took us back to the days of the Dominick’s parking lot. We exist because we feel strongly that talent deserves opportunity. And we aspire to be a destination for talent. This is what drives us today – the responsibility that comes with the privilege of putting our fingerprints on individual careers. We don’t take it lightly.
It is an absolute and unexpected honor to celebrate this milestone today. If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve been an important part of this journey, and for that we humbly thank you.
We can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.
For nearly 20 years, John has focused on conceptualizing and executing marketing strategies for financial, professional and other service businesses.
Devoted to his family, John enjoys traveling, playing golf, spending time outdoors and watching his kids play sports.
Aaron is constantly seeking out opportunities for innovation at Greentarget, whether it is improving firm processes or finding ways to increase client and employee happiness.
He can often be found checking out live music and contemplating the parallels between great live musicians and high-performing teams.