iI was interviewed recently by a panel of judges weighing the merits of local entrepreneurs selected as finalists for their achievements in Memphis’ small business community. Eventually they asked the obligatory “What is the biggest obstacle facing your company?” question, and this is the answer I gave them…

Being a professional creative services firm, we know that we are only as good as our last project. But, make no mistake: we don’t see “You are only as good as your last project” as a demoralizing statement. Quite the opposite. It is our motivation, and it is why we run hot. We know every project is an opportunity. When I sit down with a potential client, all I have is a promise and a portfolio. We want the client to buy into our promise and trust that what we deliver will be effective. ┬áPart of the path to success is to protect the creative process from being hijacked by the client. They have to trust me when when I say, “This is what we can execute.” They have to believe that, based on the achievements and accolades of the projects that came before them, our process ensures success – and then let us do our thing.

As a creative services firm we see essentially no residual revenue from the projects we take on and our team is constantly returning to square one. Time and again we have to conceptualize and execute fresh ideas and convince the clients to trust our vision for their success. Simply put, the services we provide are, for the most part, one and done. We launch a business and then turn it loose, hoping like a parent that our baby grows up strong and does us proud. God forbid we unleash a Cousin Eddie, because while it may be a cliche, “You are only as good as your last project” is, in fact, our reality.

Big firms with a huge staff will always give the appearance of a bonfire. When you are a small firm, every person on your team has to be motivated and on the same page in order to ignite a project. That is why the Farmhouse team burns white hot: “You are only as good as your last project” is the fuel that propels us.