Lauren is the CEO of S&G, an award-winning content marketing agency that helps brands connect and engage more effectively with their audience.
Where did the idea for S&G come from?
I used to work in publishing and before content marketing was as popular as it is now, I noticed more and more brands forgoing traditional advertising and asking the editorial departments how they could collaborate to advertise to their customers in ways that were more authentic and helped them build lasting engagement with their customers.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I spend a lot of my day interacting with clients – both in a sales capacity and checking in with existing clients to make sure they’re happy with our team’s work. As we grow, it’s increasingly important for me to make sure that clients always have access to our leadership team.
To stay organized and productive, we use a variety of project management and communication tools, but I actually find my Google calendar to be the easiest way to schedule my projects and stay on track.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think that brainstorming and having frequent collaboration with clients and employees is incredibly useful for coming up with new ideas. We have frequent brainstorming sessions in the office where we pull in everyone from account directors and strategists to writers and interns and let people pitch ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m very excited about augmented reality for retail. I think it’s really going to transform how people shop once it becomes more commonplace.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m not a natural early riser, but when I do get up early, I love having time in the morning to relax, drink coffee, and read the news. It makes me feel grounded and prepared for the day ahead.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t get frustrated that things aren’t moving as quickly as you want them to. There’s a lot more that you need to learn before you can really grow the company.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is no such thing as work/ life balance. Sometimes your personal life will take priority and you will be a better parent or partner than business owner. And sometimes work will need to take priority, and you’ll have to sacrifice your personal life for it. It’s a constant ebb and flow.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I set aside 10 minutes every morning to do business development outreach. Sales was one of the most difficult skills for me to learn as a business owner, but it’s one of the most crucial for maintaining growth. Setting aside time each morning to do cold sales outreach and business development has been one of the most productive routines I’ve implemented and has helped me improve my sales skills, my communication skills, and set an example for our team that bringing in new business is a team effort and no one (not even the CEO) is exempt.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Like most agencies, we tend to neglect our own marketing because we’re busy with clients’ campaigns. But, hiring someone internally who’s sole job was to develop and implement a marketing strategy for our business was one of the best things we’ve done as it ensured that our marketing was consistent.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There’s so many, it’s hard to choose. But one of my biggest failures early on was not understanding how to price our services accurately and I lost a six-figure project that would have been a huge turning point for our agency.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This is completely random, but I’d love to see an e-commerce platform that featured only independent furniture designers. I’m in the process of moving and buying new furniture and it would be great to support local artisans, but they’re difficult to find.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spend a lot of time on the road, and recently bought an annual subscription to Expert Flyer, which is a tool that allows you to set flight alerts for certain seats and upgrades. It’s useful when you’re trying to book flights that have better upgrade availability.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Asana to manage our projects and it’s great. It’s not as cumbersome as most project management software is and it integrates with pretty much every cloud app out there (Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce).
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Built to Last” by Jim Collins. You can learn a lot from how other companies successfully (or unsuccessfully) ran theirs. Built to Last profiles a group of companies that were visionaries in their respective industries and includes a lot of interesting interviews with key executives and business owners.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs
- Building a company takes time – set realistic expectations for yourself and your company.
- Continue educating yourself – read books, talk to other business owners, and learn new skills in order to grow.
- Realize that work/life balance is an impossible goal and your priorities will constantly shift.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.