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Spotlight on Neal Lappe | How I Built a Multi-Million Dollar Business

In this special spotlight video, Neal Lappe, one of our most successful agencies shares how he has built his business into a multi-million dollar company. You’ll leave feeling inspired to do the same.

What we have done is we have focused on being the consulting, being the minds for our clients, not so much the tactics because they can do some of the tactics themselves. The challenge is, they don’t necessarily know what tactics to do and they don’t know what tactics are the best and they don’t know what the best mix of tactics are. So in some cases we have clients that do their own tactics, we provide the strategy and the strategic thinking that helps them shape their tactics and bring their tactics together. So that’s how we have evolved over the years because as the industry continues to mature, there will be changes and we need to make sure we continue to evolve with those changes and be able to continue to add value to our marketplace.

For us, we have evolved to a reocurring revenue model. Because we position ourselves as consultants, as marketing consultants and developers of strategy and marketing strategy, that’s an ongoing service we provide. In addition to that, we measure what they’re doing, provide feedback about what they’re doing to ensure that they’re continuing to maximize the return on their investment - on their marketing investment, and that’s an ongoing service. Once again, as tactics change as the industry evolves, things that worked two years ago don’t work so well today so we need to continue to bring in new ideas, new tactics and continue to evolve our strategies with our clients, and consequently it’s an ongoing relationship we have, okay? So for us, mainly we’re connecting with clients on an ongoing marketing retainer type of business model and that is a remarkable way to build a company because, you know, on the first of every month you can predict what revenue is going to come in versus trying to build your business on a project by project basis. Now some of our customers have projects as well, over time they may say hey, it’s time to have a new website and we’ll build a new website for them, okay?

Put in an ongoing basis, that ongoing marketing consulting and that marketing retainer business model is what we focus on. We’ve built a multimillion dollar agency. As a result of doing the things that enabled us to serve our market, create raving fans, evolve with the marketplace as the digital market space has changed, we’ve been successful at building a multi-million dollar agency and continue to build it beyond that. You know, on a personal level, the experience has been remarkable and I never imagined that I’d be as blessed today as I am as a result of what we’ve done since 2004 with the business. In my community, because of the because of the position I took with trade organizations inside my community, I’m a very well known, very well respected CEO in my market area. The flexibility I have is remarkable. I wouldn’t kid you, I work hard and I work a lot of hours, but I work when I want to work. And if I choose to work on a weekend I choose to work on a weekend, if I choose not to work on a weekend and I go somewhere else that’s what I choose to do. It’s provided my family a remarkable experience in that both my daughters still work in the company, they are both stay at home moms and they work part time, they’re able to make a decent earning while raising their children and they’re highly trusted, you know, in the business, it’s given them an opportunity to really balance their lives like they could never before and they have pretty good job stability.

We’ve built wealth. You know, back in my corporate days we get stock options and those are great things that the company grew, and I never thought I’d have that again when I left the corporate world. But I’ve built frankly a tremendous amount of wealth because of how we’ve built our business, how the business is structured and from a financial perspective, I’m far better off today than had I stayed in the corporate world. And so when I think about the impacts on my family; my daughters, my lifestyle, my personal wealth, I have to say I wish I would have done it before 2004 because I would have had more time to get all these benefits but it’s been remarkable.