The essence of “Sought After” for Start-ups

I found myself referencing the term “Sought After” to a start-up I’m advising; I was trying to give them a good example of an essence or driving focus for a start-up or growing company to strive to. A rallying point that helps provide direction regardless of the current marketing conditions, trends, or day to day challenges.

The term “Sought After” was used by Spunlogic (agency I co-founded and sold several years ago) and was the driving focus of the agency as I think back. Jeff Hilimire (Co-founder at Spunlogic with me), Raghu Kakarala, Danny Davis, and I, really pushed this essence into the culture of the agency and what we aspired to be. We all believed and aspired to become a sought after agency. This was also brought into Engauge and I’m sure we’ll all continue using “Sought After” in future enterprises.

So you are probably wondering what the hell “Sought After” means. For me, the term can be applied to a number categories in a start-up or growing company. Here are some examples.

  • The work/product we produce is creative and innovative; companies will seek us out to work with us. [back in the day I always thought a 2Advanced achieved this in early-mid 2000’s]
  • The experience working with our people is why clients continue working with us, giving us more, and will seek us out even if they move companies. [Zappos is the perfect example of this]
  • Our people are the best at what they do. As a result they are known for it in the industry and are asked to speak and write about it. [A company will become a trend setter and the inspiration for other companies because of it’s people]
  • Our culture, work environments are inspiring. The best new talent seeks us out. [companies like Apple, Google, Facebook are achieving this today]

The above examples are all inter-linked – you can’t become “Sought After” by only focusing on one or two of the above examples, they are all equally important and most organizations don’t put enough time, energy, resource, and capital into all these areas. As an example, if the focus is all about the work, but everyone hates the work culture or the people, what good are all the awards for the great work you’ve been able to achieve.

I see more clearly now than ever before what “Sought After” can really mean for me personally, and any company I’m involved in. It’s aspirational; it’s hard to say you are done, it relates to employees, clients, and various categories of a business as you grow. It can help you focus your company and people, as long as you make it a priority and the vision of success.

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