Andrew Woods is the CEO and co-founder of Duckpin, a brand-focused digital agency in Baltimore, MD. Serving local businesses and fortune 500’s alike, Duckpin provides a broad range of creative, web and marketing solutions that are deeply rooted in brand strategy and storytelling.
Outside of work, Andrew is an avid backpacker, sailor, traveler, and environmental advocate.
Where did the idea for Duckpin come from?
My business partners and I worked together at a previous agency. We’d reached the limit of our growth potential there and wanted a new challenge so we started Duckpin as a new challenge.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is a blend of “working on” the business and “working in” the business. I try to focus on strategic business efforts in the morning when I feel least distracted.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With my team! Ideas really take shape when you kick them around with others, so I like to start by gathering thoughts from others who might have a different perspective. From there, it becomes more rigid like a client project. Ideas are just ideas, bringing them to life requires scheduling and commitment.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Augmented Reality. The applications of augmenting our vision with digital information are endless. Image recognition and AR technologies are advancing so quickly, it will be interesting to see what great things are achieved in the coming 5 years.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Lunchtime audiobook listening. I “read” many books related to business and entrepreneurship and the daily exposure to it keeps me in a productive mindset.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take a semester abroad to experience another culture while you don’t have a big list of responsibilities!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is only one type of cookie. Chocolate Chip.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Regularly set budgets and review finances. Businesses can really get bogged down when money is tight, but if you plan this area of your business well, you can focus on important things like delivering a superior product or service.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building a referral network is like hiring salespeople minus paying a salary and commission. The best referral partners offer a complimentary service. In the case of Duckpin, a great example is managed IT service providers. We have several that refer their customers to our web services division and we reciprocate when we find our customers in need of IT assistance.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I learned the hard way that it’s much more difficult to find a new hire when you really need to fill the seat. Rushing the interview process didn’t deliver a good fit, so I knew the next time around that I needed to start looking for candidates well before a position was open.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Many people focus on what will happen to their physical assets when they pass away, but we don’t give much thought to what happens to our online/digital information. It would be interesting to see a platform that helps you outline your wishes when it comes to the digital footprint you leave behind.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $40 to have someone from TaskRabbit come to our new office and hang our TV on the wall of our conference room. I certainly could have done it myself, but the time I saved, I was able to allocate towards business strategy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Todoist to manage the task-level items in my work and in my personal life. It’s a glorified to-do list but packs some really nice features like smart language recognition and advanced filter queries.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. This book helped me prioritize the truly important things for the growth of the business. I have a quote from the book on my desk that reminds me not to get “stuck in the weeds” each day.
What is your favorite quote?
“Screw it, let’s do it!” – Sir Richard Branson
- Read or listen to books that deliver a motivating mindset. A great mindset is like having superpowers.
- Stay close to your finances. Managing your cash flow well will put you in a position to focus on the value you deliver to your customers.
- Think about the people who already have your customers, then convince THOSE people to refer the customers your way. This can be incentivized or reciprocal, but finding a quality referral partner can change your business overnight.
- Chocolate chip is the only cookie