MSMP 75: Tim Brown on The Right People

A common theme discussed on the Mads Singers Management Podcast is the question of hiring. Who to hire, when to hire them, and perhaps most importantly, where to find them. Our guest for today’s episode of the pod, Tim Brown, has had plenty of time to think about these questions in recent years as he’s grown his business, Hook Agency.

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One of the first things I talked about with Tim was how challenging it can be to grow a business financially. As you go from 10+ employees up to 50, you’re not going to be seeing a lot of profit, as you’re likely to be reinvesting a lot of it into the company to help grow it. Tim agreed, noting that it could get “lonely” during that time and you have to persevere in order to keep the growth going.

Part of that growth is the people you bring on, of course, and we talked about the pros and cons of hiring younger and less experienced people. I pointed out that while it’s tempting to bring in an external hire who is a superstar in a particular area, it’s almost always significantly cheaper to develop an internal hire, who can also then be shaped and molded to your company culture.

You also want to do internal audits to find common traits that you can add to your hiring brief. When we looked at our top performers in one of my businesses 9 out of the top 10 had lived abroad at least six months. Not the first criteria one might think of, but on reflection, it speaks to a willingness to get outside of your comfort zone and a basic responsibility to legally exist elsewhere for an extended period of time.

Tim noted that as much as he and his colleagues might share memes in slack about how isolation is affecting people at work (“we know you’re wearing sweatpants with your shirt and tie”) he also knows that people are actually getting depressed and has recently added a small monthly benefit to offset therapy costs. This way he can show that he isn’t blind to this issue and that he believes that therapy does help.

Msmp 75 Tim Brown

Finally, as we continued the hiring thread that ran through this entire episode, I stressed that networking is one of the best things you can do not just for recruiting purposes, but to learn mistakes from others in your industry. You can make all the mistakes yourself, but why would you want to?

Tim’s honesty about the challenges he’s faced is refreshing and you’ll enjoy his perspectives and passion for building a business the right way.

Key Learning:
  1. Tim shares that he has sometimes had to let things “break” in order for everyone to learn (and implement systems) – 3:10
  2. Mads notes that the better you can show the client the ROI, the longer they will stick around – 6:05
  3. Tim laments the lack of professionalism he sometimes sees in small businesses – 8:50
  4. Tim parses the difference between lifestyle and growth businesses – 10:10
  5. Tim talks about a recent trend in his company of hiring younger and less experienced employees – 15:35
  6. Mads shares that it’s always significantly less expensive to internally develop someone in an area of expertise than to hire a high-priced external superstar – 20:05
  7. Mads gives a metric he sues when hiring people that relates to how long they’ve lived abroad – 21:45
  8. Tim notes the importance of empathy in regards to Covid-19 and isolation – 33:00
  9. Mads warns that the “I’m going to fix this” attitude isn’t just about poor delegation, but about an active ego – 37:17
  10. Mads stresses the importance of networking as a way to learn mistakes more quickly rather than having to figure them out yourself – 38:55
Resources Mentioned:
  1. Who by Geoff Smart
  2. Traction by Gino Wickman
Connect with Tim Brown
  1. Hook Agency
  2. LinkedIn
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