Even before starting Ndevr I knew of Bureau of Digital’s Owner Camp, and many recommended we go to either the camp or summit. The first year in business we had no money then with Owner Summit 2017 there was a scheduling conflict, so I made it a priority to attend this year. I’m not going to leave Colorado at the end of February (um snowboard season) for just any conference, but Owner Summit was incredible and well worth both the investment of time and money to attend.
I have a ton of respect for all of the owners attending last week, many of which have been in business for over 10 years overcoming recessions, bad hires and just plain bad years. There were even more in the 5 years and over bucket, and then there was Ndevr. We’re basically still learning to walk when it comes to running a business (we level the playing field with our client / project work of course).
From #turdstorm to #fuckstorm and even a regular storm then the whirlwind of traveling to and from a conference can be a lot to take in. Below is nowhere near everything I learned at the summit, but were the primary points I took home to work on with my partner.
In a room half full of Digital Marketing Agencies, I gained a ton from the before / after session discussions with other owners. The marketing session by Ilise Benun was amazing as well, among other things we need to work on our elevator pitch. “We do tech stuff” isn’t going to cut it.
If you haven’t heard, there are some changes that took place for 2018, thankfully the team at Summit CPA gave us quite a few things to think about and talk to our accountant about. Luckily, Ndevr is purely a technology agency which means all of our revenue can be considered “Engineering” and since we are a pass through services company that is incredibly important. I took great notes, but still haven’t figured out what the other things they told me mean yet!
Normally, I would have assumed the tax and legal sessions would be good times to catch up on sleep from staying out to late the night before. However, when you’re talking about standardizing an MSA and SOWs for our industry I tend to be able to stay alert. Receiving “standard” contracts from clients that include clauses for shipping and receiving or insurance requirements of $5 million it can be overwhelming to know where to even start editing. I’m pretty excited to try out the new Bureau of Digital Standard Agreement soon.
When we started Ndevr we knew we could learn from failure, we even added a core value “Failure is an option.” What we should have said is observing others failures is required and highly preferred over doing it ourselves. Richard Banfield gave a heartfelt, open and honest session on failure and lessons learned. Biggest lesson learned on my side from his talk was that you better build up a community of peers and friends, because things get real really fast.
Will I Go Back?
I’d like to think yes. Depending on how much snow we get in January 2019, I might have to see if Meeky will go in my place though.