We had the good fortune of connecting with Ivan Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ivan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
There are a few primary reasons that made business ownership interesting to me, including; autonomy, competitiveness, and the desire to maximize my expertise. Autonomy has always been important to me and there is no greater opportunity for that than as a business owner. Prior to starting SunCity Advising, I had worked on many consulting projects and held positions in very corporate environments for larger companies. One thing that became clear was that my experiences varied significantly depending upon who I answered to. I developed a strong preference for leaders who were relatively hands-off except when their participation was necessary. To this day, I think that reflects in my own management style. As the primary decision-maker for our company, I now have the ability to not only see projects through to the end by myself, but also to empower my team to do the same. Of course this comes with a big emphasis on trust and means that we must all be self-motivated with a drive to be the best at what we do. The responsibility that comes with autonomy is a central part of who we are at SunCity Advising. Being the best at what we do is a goal that derives from another primary reason I started the business. That reason is that I am very competitive. This trait is embraced by our team and we all strive to constantly get better at everything we do. Sometimes in large corporate environments with promotions, pay, and project assignment being coveted by everyone, overly competitive people can feel like it is difficult to get enough opportunity to truly be seen by upper management. So, for me, I have always wanted to build a business with competitiveness at it’s core — and more specifically, promoting internal competitiveness against ourselves to always improve and beat our previous bests. One other side effect of a large corporate job can be that when you perform well on a specific task, or group of tasks, it is easy to get pigeon-holed into being the go-to for anything related to that area of the business. but, that may actually limit a person’s contributions to a firm. For me, starting a business has allowed me to wear many different hats and utilize all of the skills I picked up through previous work experience and business school. I have a team of people in our organization as well as all of our clients, who count on me to be the subject matter expert on may different topics. So, this forces me to stay on the cutting edge of marketing and ensures that I stay ready to share my expertise at any moment. Although it can sometimes feel like being a business owner requires more focus and drive than being an employee, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
There is a lot of trust required when considering giving an agency some of your most personal business information and asking for them to help build goals and help improve overall business performance. That said, one of the most important things that separates SunCity Advising from our competitors is our willingness to partner with our clients. We are extremely proud to have been working with most of our clients for many years. We have been known to be a bit selective of the new clients we take on, but there’s good reason for that. We did not select one business vertical and then build a template of services for that group. We provide real-time marketing strategy and implement cutting edge tactics that actually move the needle for our clients. That could be done through SEO or PPC management, email marketing, social media management, or even CRM implementation. As we grow, our clients grow too. We invest heavily in our team’s knowledge base as well as providing our own firm as a test bed for new tactics that can be perfected before bringing to the clients. As we continuously expand our expertise in existing services and add new offerings, we become more valuable to our clients over time. We believe that to be the primary reason we have extremely high client retention rates above 95%. This willingness to stay at the forefront of digital marketing trends is not easy and often goes unnoticed by the untrained eye. But, our team’s dedication to this has allowed us to provide unique value in some of the most difficult client scenarios. Our investment in continued education is expected to continue to grow as we bring in new talent and expand upon our current team’s skill set to ultimately ensure we provide value in a way that our clients could not achieve either in-house or with another marketing agency.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have the absolute privilege of being able to say that our office is located right above the Children’s Pool in downtown La Jolla. As one of the hottest tourist attractions in the city, we get to walk a few steps and watch the seals interact with each other on a daily basis. This would likely be the starting point of our list of favorite spots. Additionally, the beaches of La Jolla and North County have to be included in any San Diego itinerary. So, a couple days of walking around the beach communities is a must. Being huge fans of the outdoors, we also think it’s important to visit any of the local hiking and biking trails and consider walking at the Encintas Botanical Garden, Wild Animal Park, or the Zoo. Once night arrives, there are different flavors around the city that we would want to point out. Downtown is the spot to catch a Padres game (they’re good now) and also has a pretty fun club scene. There are world class breweries all over the city as well that might call for a tour or at least a stop at one or two of them. If you like to golf or wine taste, there’s plenty of courses and wineries in Temecula to choose from as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Starting a business requires a lot of support. The obvious shout out for me to make is to my wife, Madeline. The early days of the business were filled with early mornings and late nights with very little revenue to show for the efforts. But, having her by my side to support my dream of running a successful consulting firm (and then later pivoting to a digital marketing agency), was enough to stay encouraged even when the road ahead looked long. Anyone who has started a successful business, knows about all of the time and effort that goes into building that dream. And, most people will never actually know how much was put into that business. But, for me, my wife has seen it firsthand through my time spent away from the house while at the office, and my constant thirst for knowledge that spills over into our personal life as well. Without Madeline’s faith in me and much needed encouragement, it would have been much more difficult to try to find the strength to push through the tough times. For that, I will always be greatful!