“Deflate your ego.” This is one of the first things Bilal Saeed, Brofouder of Michigan-based Pakmode Media + Marketing, said to a packed house at TEDxEMU on March 15, 2013 at Eastern Michigan University’s Quirk Theater. Alongside Saeed was Brofounder Tim Adkins, who leads creative direction at the agency. The creative duo’s discussion focused on building REALationships, and not just relationships, to stay successful in business and life.
When starting the agency fresh out of college in 2008 they quickly understood what hard work meant. Upon their first day of business, an advisor gave Saeed a small needle. He was unsure what it was for but the advisor simply said that Saeed would know soon enough. He kept the needle and got to work. Many times, Saeed and Adkins found themselves washing dishes and waiting tables at a local restaurant after a full day of work just to pay the bills. Thousands of clean dishes later, it dawned on the Brofounders that the needle was to deflate their ego.
Brofounders, by the way, is what they decided to name themselves instead of the formal CEO or COO since they were together much of their waking lives. The name stemmed from when they first heard brothers John and Scott Meyer of 9 Clouds refer to themselves as ‘Brofounders.'
Saeed and Adkins realized that deflating their ego was only the first part of the process. To create, grow, and maintain REALationships, there are actually four key ideas to keep in mind, especially when starting your own agency, as follows:
Deflate your ego: This was their first and most vital lesson. It is important to remember that you are not automatically entitled to anything you do not earn. If you want something you must work hard to achieve it. Nothing will be given to you. They say to “Grind because you believe in something greater.”
Be a chameleon: Adkins reluctantly lets Saeed talk about this point since he focuses so much on it. However, in creating REALationships it is important to know your surroundings and adapt as you need to. Do not be afraid of change and allow yourself the ability to be prepared for all situations as they arise. You may be in a tough situation and your next client may or may not be watching you. Saeed exceeded one man’s expectations so much with the way that he went out of his way to adapt for another client at an event that he landed the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl account on the spot.
Being selfless without being selfish: The Dalai Lama once said, “Our prime purpose in life is to help others.” The Brofounders keep this in their mind daily. Their goals are focused on helping others first and acting for no personal gain. This allows them to be better people and better corporate citizens.
Being a real, better person: This last point is best assimilated to being a child again. Simple things that people forget over the years are to share, say please and thank you, and remember to be nice. And do not forget, the ransparency of this niceness factor should be shown through all social media channels.
At the completion of their TEDxEMU talk, Saeed and Adkins made note that these four points are easier to say and harder to do. This is not a sales technique, but rather a lifestyle. They truly believe in the working capacity of each of these key points and have made them part of daily life. “Do not fake it,” says Adkins. People will see right through the exterior. It is truly important to be a better listener and to care about the REALationships you make. What will you do to turn your relationships into REALationships?