Business success may not be measured in square footage, but a look at iAcquire’s ever-growing office space is a true testament to the digital agency’s growth in the last four years.
Website Magazine catches up with iAcquire Co-CEOs Jay Swansson and Joe Griffin to discover more about the company’s advancements and culture, as well as how its team manages bi-coastal offices through equal parts technology, communication and flexibility.
Please describe iAcquire’s bicoastal growth…
Jay: In 2009 my business partner Joe Griffin and I saw an opportunity in the market to do digital marketing differently. We wanted to serve enterprise brands and help them compete and win. With that in mind, we founded iAcquire. We started as a four-man team in a 500-square-foot space. In July of 2010, after quickly expanding our employee roster, we moved upstairs to a 3,800-square-foot space. Over the next two years and with the addition of 70 new employees, we have expanded to 10,000 square feet.
By the time this article is published, we’ll be settled into our new 5,500-square-foot space off Park Avenue in Manhattan.
We’re headquartered in Phoenix, where most of our editorial, content development, content amplification, and leadership team reside. Our strategy team is headquartered in the New York City office along with our in-house legal counsel, and half of our account management and sales teams.
What challenges does having a multi-location company present and how does iAcquire overcome them?
Joe: Multiple locations bring pros and cons. We found that separating highly connected departments and leadership was tough, so we’ve moved and consolidated leadership where necessary. We also set up better guidelines for how individual contributors work with leadership working in separate locations.
We've deployed simple and flexible technology platforms to make communication more efficient. We’re big fans of Atlassian Wiki, G+ Hangouts, Google for Business, and Trello to name a few.
Our marketing and PR team is doing a lot to ensure we do a good job communicating internal updates. As an example, we have a company update that goes out each month with new hires, promotions, client acquisition, milestones, company-sponsored events and general updates.
What opportunities does iAcquire have with multiple offices?
Jay: We are strategically positioned on both coasts so we can best serve our customers. New York is obviously such a major industry and commerce hub that it’s a huge benefit to have a physical presence there. Phoenix is booming with tech and Internet companies, and many of our clients are just minutes away from our offices.
The huge advantage though of multiple locations is that you can tap into the local talent pool. The biggest reason we opened our New York space was to draw on the amazing talent located in and around the city.
Does iAcquire plan to expand into other cities?
Joe: We do. We are looking at space now for a satellite office in San Diego to house our expanding creative department. We also just signed a lease for a 5,500-square-foot corner office on 304 Park Avenue overlooking Madison Square Park. The move is part of a strategy to provide long-term support to iAcquire’s growing employee base in New York.
Does iAcquire keep a consistent company culture at both locations – if so, how?
Jay: We make sure that our team travels between offices throughout the year. We have a fluid office – meaning that those who have a split department (in NYC and Phoenix) are able to make visits to different offices year-round. Joe and I travel to New York regularly to strategize, team build, and work with our employees.
Each year over the holidays, we fly out everyone in our agency for our holiday party, which is hosted in Phoenix. A few days prior, our team is able to connect, pow-wow on the next year’s plans, and get to know each other better.
Does iAcquire have remote workers too? If so, what technology is leveraged to ensure they have all the technology and information they need?
Joe: Our Creative Director Robb Dorr, is based in San Diego, and our PR Director Allie Freeland, is based in Minneapolis. They have worked for us for a long time and were “grandfathered” into iAcquire. They leverage the same flexible tools the whole company uses, so communication remains seamless.
They also fly out to New York and Phoenix frequently, so we get face time on a regular basis.
Are there any unique management approaches that iAcquire takes (for any departments)?
Joe: Our Director of Operations, Cindy Nieves Boynton, is an Air Force alumni and follows the Kaizen leadership model. This model facilitates action learning, personal leadership development and self-empowerment and is based on several fundamental insights: change and choice. It’s modeled by a coaching relationship that provides a safe place for the individual to:
**Assess the situation and accept his or her reality
**Consider the options and choose
**Cindy leads her 20-plus person department using this leadership model.
What advice can you give businesses about managing multiple locations?
1. Preserve and promote your core values. Your core values are what keep an organization united.
2. Define your leaders clearly. Set expectations and accountability for every member of your team, and maintain strong communication.
3. Focus on advancement opportunities and career paths. People need and want movement, and it’s especially important with multiple offices.