Beware of Gumbys Operating as “Experts”

We received a note the other day from our good friend and mentor, Robert Prendergast. It was in response to a post I wrote titled: “The Agency Now Owns My Business. What!?!” (Read it here.)

If you don’t know Robert, he’s possibly the most informed person I’ve EVER met on the career school business and Chairman of a school chain. He’s bought and sold a number of schools.

Robert wrote:

“For an update next week you should send out ‘what this means when you want to sell your college’ – as this is the kind of thing that really screws up deals. I know this from experience, and it is a huge surprise to the owners when the deal dies right before his eyes.

My observations of various owners I’ve dealt with over the years is that, while they are experienced, they simply are not working on their businesses. They screw up by “thinking the consultants they hire are experts” when they have really hired gumbys.”

– Robert

He makes a great point I hadn’t thought of before. If you hand over your key marketing assets to a 3rd party, you not only put your business at risk, but you could very well destroy any chance of selling it. As a business owner myself, I know you’ve put far too much effort – blood, sweat, money, time, labour and love – to let that happen.

It also speaks to a bigger point around abdication of responsibility. It would be a wonderful world if every staff/vendor/consultant you hired was capable and fully invested in your results, but the reality is that they aren’t. I’ve told clients and prospects this numerous times: At the end of the day, if a campaign fails, or someone makes a massive error in judgement, the worst thing that can happen to them is to get fired. The worst thing that can happen to you, is that you lose your business. It’s nowhere near equal.

We are business owners and we wouldn’t suggest to you, what we would never do ourselves. That’s one of the reasons we don’t use proprietary software (with one exception) and why we will not “own” any adwords, analytics, social media, or any other account of our clients. You need to control your own assets.