It is not uncommon for family businesses to end up disintegrating due to a number of reasons. But our guest for today, Ryan Cote, is living proof that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Ryan is a third generation entrepreneur in a successful digital and print advertising firm. He is the Director of Digital Services and Partner in Ballantine, based out in Fairfield NJ.
[00:01 – 03:58] Opening Segment
In this episode, Ryan and I talk not only about how he got into the third generation of a family business, but also how he’s doing his personal development, bringing in new ideas to a very established business.
At present, Ballantine is a remote digital and print marketing agency, which Ryan has been a part of for 18 years already. They align physical ads–mails and postcards– and digital marketing– Google ads, SEO, and everything else—together in a pretty interesting way. The reason why they do this instead of focusing on just print or digital? It’s because they found that what works best is an integrated approach. In addition, “the whole is greater than the parts,” Ryan says.
[03:59 – 13:07] Digital Ballantine
When Ballantine works with their clients, what typically happens is that they weave together handling their SEO, their pay search, their social content, and their direct mail. Some strategies they use include using the keywords that are doing well in one area and carrying them over to another one. For example, in making blogs and creating topics all around those set of keywords. They also do re-marketing strategies, which means that if you’ve ever put something in your Amazon cart, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. It’s all about integrating all the channels together and carrying over your learnings from one channel to another channel.
On the other hand, with printed ads, they’ve basically invented this strategy called informed delivery. What happens when a consumer signs up for this service is that whenever they’re going to receive mail, they’ll also get an email with a picture of the actual mail, get to track that mail, and also receive a link to the website of each of the mailer. It just naturally adds a digital element to print campaigns, Ryan says.
[13:08 – 20:38] Bringing Success to a Family business
When it comes to family businesses, one thing that often gets in the way is the interpersonal nature of it. In Ryan’s case, their family has found something that has been working for the last 55 years. However, it’s not something totally out of the ordinary. In fact, Ryan shares that it’s just communication. “So what we found to work is communication, not having an ego. So none of us have egos,” he says.
In addition to communication and checking the egos, having clearly defined roles is another key to their success, Ryan shares. They all have different roles and responsibilities and they’re all very sales-driven as well.
On the other hand, one thing that they don’t do that family businesses that fail do is to allow one particular family member to be the top dog and make all the decisions. This will create resentment among the other family members, and it just kind of erodes from there.
These are some tips that Ryan shares that what makes successful family businesses. However, it is something that’s definitely not easy. It’s something you have to work out, he says. It’s something you have to work on every month, every single day.
[20:39 – 34:19] Personal Development
Just like with marketing, personal development is another thing that Ryan is equally passionate about. He always starts off his days with a morning routine that consists of doing gratitude practice, planning out his priorities, a 10-15 minute workout, 10-minute meditation, five to ten minutes of journaling, and brain training.
He watches the content he consumes and does not allow himself to consume negativities. Also, he prefers content that talks about positive topics such as the growth mindset or healthy eating.
Lastly, he always reminds himself to be in a good mood even if he’s not feeling it, because there’s such thing as a ripple effect, according to him. For example, when he comes in to the office and feels down or angry, Ryan makes sure to still try to be in a good mood. Because the team is going to feel if there’s something wrong. They might internalize it, affect their performance, their attitude, and in turn, pass that on to others. However, the same effect—the ripple effect—is also true for positive thoughts. And so if everyone would be in a good mood and spread a culture of gratitude, it could truly significantly impact you and the people around you (even if you just communicate virtually) as well.
[34:20 – 39:03] The FOCUS FIVE Segment
The FOCUS FIVE are five questions I ask every guest on my show. Keep on listening to find out what book Ryan gifts most often; who would he talk to if he can get an hour of any person living or dead, from the past or the present, and why; that one thing he believes but most people will disagree with; his morning routine; and lastly, where are the best places we can connect with him online. (See the links below for Ryan’s social media links!)
“Small changes, small choices, and small habits can make a big difference.” – Ryan Cote
“I always remind myself to be in a good mood even if I’m not feeling it, because there is a ripple effect. If I come into the office just down and angry, the team’s going to feel that and then they might internalize that and affect their performance and their attitude.” – Ryan Cote
“I think human connection and relationships especially now, is so key to be conscious of it and be aware of how you’re helping or hurting.” – Ryan Cote
Resources mentioned in the episode:
- The Morning Upgrade Podcast with Ryan Cote
- Informed Delivery by USPS
- Streamlined Podcasts
- Schedule a call with Hans
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A few last words
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