10 Best Practices That Helped Me Survive 22 Years in Business & 2020

September marks our 22nd anniversary of All Terrain being in business. It’s a nice round number and one that is hard to comprehend.

When we launched the company, Experiential Marketing was not even a term. We had no idea how big the industry would become or what a major player we would be in driving and growing the practice of Experiential Marketing.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Experiential Marketing (XM), it is an advertising strategy that focuses on helping consumers experience a brand. Ultimately, companies utilizing this strategy want to help customers form memorable, emotional connections with a brand to foster customer loyalty and improve customer lifetime value. Many XM campaigns happen live where a brand can interact with consumers in person.

In 2018 experiential marketing spending in the United States reached $62.29 billion and continued to grow up till Covid hit in March of 2020. Like many industries the pandemic has taken a toll on the Experiential Marketing industry.

All Terrain has been one of the more fortunate companies in that we have been able to pivot our strategies to digital and virtual platforms. We have also been building best practices around live experiences that can safely take place during the pandemic.

Reinvention and pivoting is always prevalent in an entrepreneur’s world. This 22nd anniversary which is taking place during the time of Covid, an election like we have never seen before, and major social unrest has me reflecting on some best practices that have aided in my success and are carrying me and the company through uncertain times.

I wanted to share these in the hopes it will help and inspire others. Writing these practices down has also inspired me to recommit to them.

Hold things lightly — I learned this phrase from my fiend Sheri Salata. For me it means don’t hang on to an idea, or a want so tightly that you lose the opportunity of seeing something another way. You also avoid giving that matter too much value. In the words of Queen Elsa, “Let it go”!

Don’t give advice, share experiences — This I learned from being a member of EO (Entrepreneurial Organization). When you give someone advice and they follow it and it goes wrong they will be coming back to you dissatisfied. Instead, offer up an experience you have had that relates to the matter the person has sought you out to discuss. Share the outcomes of how you managed the situation. A nugget of inspiration can always be found through someone else’s experience.

Be prepared — I am a producer by nature so I am always thinking many many steps ahead. Being prepared can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people. For me it is forecasting a situation and looking at it from many angles so I am prepared for any outcome. It also means do your homework. Know important details about the people you are meeting, research the topic you will be discussing, no matter how trivial. By being prepared you bring value.

If you can envision it, you can make it happen — I spend several hours a week just imagining. This could be envisioning environments I want to build, people I want to meet, places I want to go, or things I want to accomplish. I have always been able to picture situations, opportunities and scenarios in my head and then bring them to life. One of my go to phrases is, “ Manifest that shit”.

Trust your gut — It is a cliche for a reason. I have had many occasions when my gut told me something was off and I did not listen to it. Every time I have ignored my instincts I have lived to regret it. Today I live and die by my gut instincts. This has served me well.

Give unconditionally — Often we do things for others with the hopes of a desired response or outcome. When you give of yourself unconditionally you will find others show up for you in the same manner. You will also enjoy the giving more.

Make time for yourself- Self care is a hot topic these days. If you are not tending to yourself you tend to burn out. Best ideas come from stepping away from the work. Now more than ever we need to take mental health breaks.

Create Inspiring Space- Where we work has a lot of impact on how we work. Turn your work space into a place that inspires you and gives you a sense of separation from the outside world. Every iteration of an All Terrain office has been tailored to inspire creativity and fun. Most of us are still working from home, so finding and creating creative work space may be challenging. However, it can be done simply by bringing flowers or lighting into the area or hanging artwork that makes you happy when you look at it.

Don’t let them take up space in your mind if they ain’t paying rent — I believe I learned this phrase from a Drag Queen in the 90’s and it sticks with me today. The meaning is don’t waste valuable brain space on something that does not serve you.

Be Brave — your current life is not an audition. I am probably one of the bravest people my friends and family know. (That’s what they tell me anyway). And guess what? I had no idea I was brave, I was just going after my goals and dreams with the focus and intensity they deserve. There is no reason not to pursue things you want, ask for what you need and be who you truly are. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is unpredictable. What you can count on is yourself. What you can control is your thoughts, emotions and deeds. Ask yourself if not now, when?

Here’s to 22 more years and lessons learned along the way.

Brook Jay. Relentless Visionary. Founder, All Terrain Collective.