How I Grew: Thomas Padula, President and CEO of Padula Media

Feb 17, 2023 | Listen

How I Grew: Thomas Padula, President and CEO of Padula Media

Growing a marketing agency or any service-based business can be challenging.

You need a skilled workforce on hand to consistently provide the quality and service your clients expect and require. This is on top of finding and retaining clients, keeping up with the competition, and ensuring the business stays profitable.

So for today’s episode of Help! My Business Is Growing; we’re so excited to have Thomas Padula, President and CEO of Padula Media Digital Marketing Agency as our featured founder for the second installment of our mini-series “How I Grew”, featuring CEOs, leaders, and founders who have successfully grown their businesses.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 05:40 What specific advice did the “money people” you hired provide?

  • 17:52 How did implementing systems and processes evolve for you?

  • 21:26 How do you maintain a consistent culture even if the company and its team members have grown and evolved?

  • 28:19 What do you think has made the most significant impact on your business so far?

  • 30:07 What tip would you give other business owners that would positively impact their business?

What specific advice did the “money people” you hired provide?

You’ll need the following:

1. Coach

A coach will teach you the strategies, keep you on track and accountable, lead you to the “money people”, and advise you to work more on your business vs. in your business.

2. Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers will help your company handle the daily tasks of recording all the financial transactions that go in and out of your business. They have to be accurate as these records are the building blocks of your financial data.

3. Accountant

On the other hand, accountants will verify and analyze data, generate the financial reports required by law, and help business owners make the right decisions.

4. Personal Financial Adviser

You should have a personal advisor just for retirement if nothing more, but they can also help you structure your company retirement accounts.

5. CFO

A CFO is an adviser with a higher-level strategic point of view. They can serve as mentors, too, in a way to help you find your own way and can answer any questions you might have because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Make sure you're getting good revenue and not bad revenue.

How did implementing systems and processes evolve for you?

For my company, what works for us today probably won’t work for us in a year. We have tried a series of platforms and found that this or that system wasn’t working for us.

We needed to build out more, and we spent time identifying why we failed at that; we’ve looked at every single system, wrote out the pros and the cons, and committed to it.

If you look at any business, they don’t spend time on this; they either hire a consultant to do it for them who doesn’t understand their business, or they have someone in-house who has no idea how to do it. But we got lucky that we have someone on our team (shout out to Steve) that builds it out for us; he fully understands the platform’s capabilities and the ins and outs of our workflow.

But it was trial and error and trying many different things out. We focused on a system and process that was effective enough to sell to another marketing agency if we wanted to.

“When people buy a business, they look at your systems, processes, and your client base. And usually, people get businesses at a discount because their systems and processes aren’t good because they don’t do it.” – Thomas Padula

How do you maintain a consistent culture even if the company has grown and evolved?

We build culture internally via events such as volunteering, games days, dinners, etc. But culture is based on the people you hire; you can’t create it, and you can’t hire people and then try to build a culture around it. In my opinion, you can’t just decide what your culture will be; your culture just happens.

Culture and our mission, and core values are essential to us. And we will limit our growth if it means not hiring someone who might be good but does not match our mission or core values, even if they could increase our revenue by a good percentage. One “bad” person who won’t fit in the culture can mix things up and not for the best.

The first hire should be a director of operations.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your business so far?

Doing our search engine optimization and being very relevant online, our social media and video presence have been excellent and strong. But all that has just supported our networking efforts and being local.

And like we say around the office, “Thank you, young Thomas!” because years ago, all I did every night, every week would be network, and I built up this massive network of people. And now, if I ever want to identify a lead, I usually have the person to get to that lead.

So networking is probably the most impactful thing I’ve done. And then the digital efforts and the branding have supported that.

Actionable Step

The formula for building a business is the same for everyone, but the timing is different for everyone.

Depending on where they’re at in the business:

  • If you’re starting, find a mentor a little further along than you, and as you develop more, change to someone who can also give higher-level insights.
  • If you need more business, go out and network every night of the week or as much as possible.
  • If you can’t scale it or you’re not retaining clients, you need to fix the systems and processes.
  • If your clients aren’t paying, and you need a bookkeeper, find a bookkeeper.

But a mentor can help whatever the stage because people are not usually self-aware enough to figure out what they need for their business or think they have it all figured out and are unwilling to change and learn.


Summary

  • Thomas believes that the right “money people”, namely a Coach, Bookkeepers, Accountants, Personal Financial Advisers, and Fractional CFO, should be in your business early on to help you make the right financial decisions.
  • He shares that implementing systems and processes will be a work in progress. You’ll have to know your business and how it flows and understand the full capabilities of whatever platform you work with before you build it out to work for you. And even then, expect to make many adjustments as you evolve.
  • Remember the importance of your mission and core values, which directly relate to your corporate culture. It is based on the people you hire and something you create or decide to be. Your culture just happens.
  • For Thomas, networking is the most impactful thing he has done for his business and one he focused on in the earlier stages of his business. It has borne fruit, and all his digital and branding efforts have supported that.
  • Finding a mentor can help you build your business because people either don’t know what to do when growing a business and need help or even worse, they think they know what they are doing and are unwilling to get help or make changes.

Transcript

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About guest – Thomas Padula

President and CEO

Padula Media Digital Marketing

Thomas has been recognized as one of Chester County’s 40 Under 40 millennial superstars. He’ll share how he successfully grew his agency, Padula Media, into one of the best advertising agencies in Pennsylvania within a relatively short time.

We’ll talk to Thomas, hear his story, and discuss tips, resources, and other valuable insights on how you can grow your business.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasjpadula

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/padulamedia/

Website – https://padulamedia.com/

Recommended Resource: Rich Dad, Poor Dad | Robert Kiyosaki https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680194


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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