Manuel Valencia tells us about how his company Connective Agency approaches each and every sales strategy and marketing strategy for his clients.
Who are you and what are you up to?
Manuel F. Valencia, founder and principal of Connective Agency. We work with People, Places and Things, and we connect all of them to ‘Opportunity’.
When we work with people, we connect speakers, experts and influencers. When we work with places, we connect events, experiences and environments. When we work with things, we connect products, services and provisions.
We connect all of these with opportunity they do not have today. We use our ‘PPN - Power Partner Network’ in Louisiana, NYC Metro and Texas to achieve more than we can achieve on our own.
What’s your story?
I love making 1 + 1 = 3 happen. The most important measure of success for Connective Agency is if our clients are successful. When that happens, we’re happy. Profits come later.
After grad school (Ross MBA) I focused on product development and helped build and grow the world’s first trading platform for global telecommunications companies. The company went IPO, and I loved working at the intersection of business, technology and communications, to connect the strategy and the product to the market.
What sets you apart from others in your industry?
We always want to be the kind of company and partners that our clients ‘want to spend time with’. We love hearing from our clients when they are nearby and invite us for coffee or a snack. It is particularly satisfying when our clients ask us to travel places with them. That makes us feel we are true partners in their success.
We say NO a lot. If we can’t help our clients be successful, we ask not to work with them. They always appreciate the honesty, and they will ask us later if we can help them be successful at something else.
How is it going?
Connective Agency started in 2014 as a booking agency for keynote speakers and we have expanded our service lines to include public relations, strategic marketing and sales strategy & tactics for people, places and things.
What are your biggest challenges?
Staying focused is a challenge. As we become more embedded in the businesses of our clients, they give us access to a wider spectrum of their operations because of the trust we earn and the results we deliver. We try to keep them focused on more of the same vs. more of something different.
What are the two most valuable things you have learned since starting your business?
I’ve had an opportunity to work with many CEOs (>20) both directly and indirectly through executive leadership development, and the best ones always operate with integrity and give their team the tools, resources and direction to be successful.
Integrity :: doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
Leadership :: create a meaningful work environment and provide the tools and direction for your team to be successful.
What’s your favorite part of your work?
Seeing our clients succeed.
What is the most time-consuming part of your work?
Billing and Taxes.
Do you get much free time? How do you spend it?
Yes. I love spending time with family. My father worked a full-time job and ran his own business for most of my childhood. I understood his sacrifice, but I always wished I saw him more. I want to be present for every important thing as my daughters grow up and I also want them to have strong, successful role models in our home. My wife is a successful executive, so sometimes that means I spend my free time getting to be a present dad while supporting her career … and that’s just swell :) We’re big fans of interactive places in Dallas like the Perot Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art and Oil + Cotton.
Where are you going from here?
The two areas we will expand are 1) continuing to build the team and 2) getting closer to our clients’ clients. We will scale with technology and trust.
So you’re thinking about expanding your team?
Yes. I love working with bright, resourceful and off-the-charts high energy type of people. Most of our clients are either tech, early-stage, business-to-business companies or experts and influencers. In both cases budgets are usually not out-sized, so we need to be 1) highly resourceful [getting lots done with less], 2) creative when we structure agreements [figure out ways to participate together in success] and 3) comfortable with ambiguity [listen, adapt and pivot as needed].
What is the impact of your business/ industry on your local community? On society?
We help our clients grow. If we are successful, our clients get to deliver on their promise to their stakeholders, whether those are audiences, their own clients, communities, employees, investors or all the above.
Why did you decide to office at Common desk?
The three main reasons we office at Common Desk are:
1) Flexibility - we were able to start in a great space with no friction (no long-term lease, no guarantees, no searching and set-up) and we can expand easily. 2) Proximity - we want to work close to where we live; long commutes are a waste. 3) Environment - we love to feed off the energy of others and be able to ask someone right next to you what they think about a concept or draft; referrals are great too.
Are you working on a Mac or a PC?
What are two mobile apps that you couldn’t work without?
Evernote and Dropbox
What’s your favorite place to eat in the neighborhood?
Bbbop Seoul Kitchen Oak Cliff
Featured image Sundial Bridge, from the south by Chad K via wikimedia, some rights reserved