Bryn Tindall | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Bryn Tindall

Background:  

Formed in 2013, Rebel Interactive Group is a Southington, Conn.-headquartered digital marketing agency providing web, search, social and email solutions to more than 150 clients. Rebel works with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to smaller businesses in industries as diverse as financial services to potato chips and everything in between.

The Mistake: 

Assuming that anything less than perfection is unacceptable. 

As an entrepreneur and business owner, you’re being pulled in many different directions. For me it includes, among other things: directing the strategy of the company, generating sales, staying on top of what is going on in every single project being handled at Rebel, staying on top of industry trends and accounts receivable, giving guidance and direction to my staff, and vetting new employees and vendors. 

I do have an excellent management team and exceptional employees who work very hard but I like to stay very involved in what’s going on at the company every single day. In my opinion, the owner of the company should be the hardest working person in it. But, like everyone else, I have a family, I coach, sit on boards and try to make my community a better place. There’s only so much time in a day. 

I had to teach myself that there can be different levels of perfectionism.

The Lesson:    

I am a perfectionist, but I had to teach myself that there can be different levels of perfectionism that reflect a balance between time, money and quality. I strive to deliver the best possible product and services to all of our clients, regardless of size or budget, but I had to level set and prioritize. Some clients will come to us with something that they “needed yesterday” and a very small budget. My team will produce excellent work but we have to be comfortable with the fact that this work may not be as perfect as perhaps the next one where we are given enough time to truly strategize about a design or enough budget to purchase the most versatile website plug-in. 

Take, for example, a small client for whom we continually bent over backwards to meet very tight deadlines and from whom we were constantly chasing approvals for proofs. To boot, the client had a limited budget and therefore we had a very small margin on the projects we were working on. Was devoting two of our senior creative resources, a senior strategist, an account executive and account director to the project the best use of our resources?  Probably not. I had to accept the fact that this client would get our A game, but not necessarily our A+ game. 

This may all be a fancy way of saying that business owners have to set priorities, but it goes a little deeper than that. It’s respecting and accepting the fact that entrepreneurs are in a constant battle with themselves—we want to impress the client, we want them to say “Wow!,” we want them to come back and refer us to others—but we do have to consider what the client is paying us, we do have to consider the effect on our team for repeated rush jobs, and we do have to consider how this job may take focus off of other projects that contribute more effectively to the company’s overall development and bottom line.

At the end of the day, there have been projects where we’ve invested considerable effort and resources and ones where we’ve thrown in less due to budget or time constraints—and the outcome and client satisfaction level was equally positive. As entrepreneurs, we have to cut ourselves a little slack and remember that there are varying levels of perfection, and it’s our job to evaluate and be comfortable with the one that works the best in the given circumstances.  

Follow Bryn Tindall on Twitter @BrynTindall

Photo courtesy of Rebel Interactive Group.