Winning formulas have different ingredients and there’s no doubt Ed Mitzen has one.
The Palio ad agency he founded with others grew to 160 employees before it was sold. He started all over again in 2008 with FingerPaint, an integrated marketing firm in Saratoga, NY. It now has 87 employees and $16 million in business.
There are no titles and no separate offices at his firm. “Titles are the nuclear arms race in the ad biz.” Instead, the Mitzen culture emphasizes a collaborative spirit which is especially important in today’s integrated communications environment. Every employee gets a 100 shares of company stock on their first day, vested after five years.
I want my employees to “know they are appreciated” and the most fun I have at work is “seeing everybody look like they are happy to be there,” Mitzen says.
Other Mitzen tips any business owner can use:
1- Hire people smarter than you and then get out of their way
2- Leverage the personal relationships with every one you know
“90% of our work traces back to personal relationships.”
3- Recognize no one takes your business as seriously as you do. Mitzen usually arrives at work by 6 am, sometimes earlier. Though he’s out by 5 pm.
4- Keep perspective. When his boy was just one-year-old, he dropped him on the floor because he was so tired from 16-hour days at his job. He quit the job the next day and started his own business.
There’s a likable off-center way about Mitzen. Employees bring their dogs to work so the company’s carpet was laid down in patches so they could remove pieces of carpet if a pet made an unexpected deposit. And he watches Jonny Quest episodes in his free time. It’s a cartoon series that debuted in the mid 60’s.
Mitzen has never had a layoff.
Sounds like the formula is working.
Mitzen addressed the Consulting Alliance, a prestigious group of consultants in Albany, NY, on September 13th.
The writer is founder of a message strategy, speaking coaching and media relations firm. He also is a seasoned on-camera and voiceover talent.