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This week is bittersweet as it marks the 10 year anniversary of the passing of our founder, Chris Cole in February 2010. He had set up our agency in March 1986 with Glasgow University as his first client.

Since 2010 Garry, Michael & Stephen have run Cole AD successfully and have continued Chris Cole’s legacy.

After Chris had passed away, several of our competitors at that time actually offered to “help” us by taking our clients off our hands. They assumed that with Chris gone, the agency would fold. Obviously we politely declined their offer, and it really motivated us for what was ahead.

The last decade has flown by and our Managing Director, Stephen Cole, shares below what he has learned about running the agency with the team over the last 10 years…

There’s no ‘I’ in Team

The people on our team are our biggest asset. Let them enjoy their work, do not micromanage and listen to their opinions. We share ideas with one another first before the client sees anything to help get the best results possible. Listening is vital!

It’s okay to say no

Don’t be afraid to say no thanks, as not every opportunity or tender is worth pursuing. Dale Carnegie said it best with his “people buy from people” line. He wrote this 80 years ago and I believe it stands true today. I find great difficulty in our design world, trying to win business via lengthy tender documents that restrict us from expressing our creativity.

Every day’s a school day

It’s essential to always be learning new things as business never stays still. Our Studio team love attending design conferences across Scotland and then they share the knowledge across the agency. Personally, I love books with the last great one I read being the autobiography of former Disney CEO, Bob Iger. Certainly worth checking out – remember leaders are readers.

Learn from the best

Surrounding ourselves with great mentors who can offer advice and guidance has been a tremendous support. We have worked with the brilliant business coach, Andy Goldberg, who has helped us raise our game dramatically.

Take the good with the bad

Enjoy your work – have a plan and stick to it as best as possible. Yes it can be challenging, but the fun days vastly outweigh the bad.

We’re looking forward to what the next 10 years brings for Cole AD…