Ad Agency CEO Skill: The Right Way to Manage Your Business

Think discipline.
by Todd Knutson

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Too often, creatively-driven firms forget the business discipline that's required to achieve financial success.

A consultant recently reminded me of this. He's the product of the financial and management discipline learned at Fortune 500 companies, and now helps smaller companies, including a few ad agencies, implement management systems designed to increase accountability and profitability. He said that with a bit more discipline, many agencies could significantly increase profitability - even in a recession.

And then on a recent flight, I noticed the following quote from Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan, in Fortune magazine:

Our management team, 15 to 30 people, talk every day at 7:30, 12 Noon, and five o'clock - what's going on, sharing information, making some decisions on the spot, reviewing facts and information. I'm always surprised at companies that don't have discipline - they don't have business reviews, they aren't looking at their competitors.

If you know what you should be doing, but just aren't doing it, take heart: you're not alone. However, a bit more discipline can yield significant rewards.

If you need help, look for a consultant who focuses on the systems described above. If you need a recommendation, feel free to reach out to me.

Let's say, though that you just want to become more educated about business. You can start a simple continuing education program next week by subscribing to business magazines like Inc, Fast Company, Forbes, and Fortune. I've read each of these since I left college and learn at least one new thing from every edition.

What other business magazines add to your knowledge and expertise?

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