Respect the Process

Respect the Process

I walk into work, make my way to my desk and wiggle myself into the perfect spot in my seat. The rest of the day speeds by at a warping speed, dancing on its toes on the fine line between a phenomenal day and a crappy one. The acknowledgment and respect I give to the process determines the fate of my day. It’s an undeniable fact that there is great value in a plan, a compass, a blue print. The implementation of processes and procedures are a necessary element of not only operating a business, but life.  How do you go anywhere if you haven’t a clue where you’re going?

I did some research. I was trying to find the cold hard facts on failing businesses.  Nearly every publication has a different statistic, incorporating different samples, different indicators, blah blah blah. For example, an article posted on, states that 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. asserts that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 400,000 businesses are started each year in the United States and 470,000 die. Long hard pause. In a nutshell, studies show that startups fail at a highly alarming rate. It is commonplace, most businesses fail due to the lack of money. As entrepreneurial spirits, we would do well to value time as much as — possibly more than — money. I caution equating time to money (let’s talk about that later, in a different post), they are not the same but both are a necessary resource for any business.

What is a sure fire way to make the best use of time and in turn generate more revenue? Processes. You knew where I was headed with this, after all, the title of this post is “Respect the Process.” Logic would tell us, if we were able to develop processes and systems that allowed every aspect of our businesses to run with euphoric synchronicity, there would be more time, resources and overall capacity to sell goods and services. It may be slightly naive of me to suggest that all systems will flow seamless always, but I am one of those “aim for the moon and fall among the stars” types. Although we may not be able to immediately reach perfection, there is great benefit in developing processes and systems to sustain your business’s operations.

  1. As you approach each day, week, month, etc, you will have a clear plan of where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Another kind of planning that is essential, take your business through a strategic planning process, in order to identify who you are, why you exist, what void you are filling, and where you are headed.
  2. In the process of laying out plans, you are able to identify holes and areas of your business that require special attention, less attention, and/or a new process.
  3. Accountability! A clear plan for how work and business will be conducted will allow for increased accountability between you and: (1) your customers/clients, (2) your colleagues and staff, and (3) yourself. When you’re winging it, there is more room for justifying your crap and a constant avoidance of accountability.
  4. Build it and they will come. Laying the foundation to support and sustain the magnitude of work to come is a smart move.  We wish and hope for more business and increased revenue, but are we really in a position to provide the same great services and goods if traffic tripled? The development of processes that work now and are able to withstand growth are ideal.
  5. Processes that work allow for great customer experiences. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what this means. 🙂

Get started creating processes by focusing on general areas, such as communications, workflow, client/customer experience, etc. Consider every level of every interaction. Anticipate resources and assets and fully utilize the tools you have available. Create templates of communications and other essential documents that you anticipate using periodically. Taking the time to understand how pieces of your business fit together will serve you well. For instance, understanding how clear levels of communication inform weekly goals and workflow will eliminate confusion and increase productivity. As you work, you will be able to respond, find solutions and create in a manner that serves the whole. Decisions will be well informed and over time will become more seamless. Remember, failing to plan is a plan to fail. Identifying and outlining your processes will save you time, money, and stress. That’s all for now folks.

Introducing the CLAV

We got that good good, we call it the CLAV.  After over 278 trips to outer space, we’ve got it figured out; to produce results for your brand, you need the CLAV method: Confidence, Look, Approach, and Voice.  We’ve been killing it, beaming light and life into brands for over ten years now.  If you do anything for an extended period time, you get good at what you do, you perfect your craft and you notice themes and commonalities throughout.  For us Artoholik folks, we started to realize that we were consistently slaying them (translation: we were producing great results).

We noticed that our confidence in our abilities were rubbing off on our clients — good vibes are difficult to ignore — some of whom came to us during the infancy stages of their branding and others were well established. What we noticed was, our clients were being fueled by our excitement to dive into their brands and produce the results they sought us out for.
Not everyone gets the CLAV; but those clients who do, we manage them all around in their confidence, look, approach, and voice.  It’s like a full-service car wash, undercarriage, wheel shine, vacuum, and air freshener included. Lol. The CLAV method is a framework for building a strong brand.  These four components add up to a solid brand identity.  Every client that comes to us is different.  Undoubtedly there are many clients to whom we apply our handy dandy CLAV method but there is a small population of those who are already confident in their look, approach, and voice and exude confidence in their product.  The confidence these cocky brands flaunt is what we aim to equip others with when we slap them with the CLAV.

As I mentioned above, many walk in the place with CONFIDENCE but may lack in other areas, such as look, approach and voice.  This is where we come in.  A little swag can make all the difference in the world.  We take that confidence and apply it to the new look we create, the approach we plan out, and the voice we craft.  An example of a brand we’ve worked with that has extreme confidence is Scotch Porter, a men’s grooming product line.  When we began our relationship with Scotch Porter, they had confidence in their product and what they were on a mission to accomplish.  In crafting the perfect look, approach and voice to communicate the SP brand message, their confidence went through the roof, leaving very little to be desired.  Our work on their brand identity has made them whole by giving them a new tier of confidence, confidence in their look, confidence in the approach, and confidence in their voice, allowing them the space to flourish as a premier men’s grooming line.

Moving along to LOOK, this has proven to be a common struggle for a lot of brands.  Many struggle with creating a cohesive look that gives them the distinction they are seeking.  Leading up to a recent political election, we worked with a local politician, Councilman Jerry Guarino.  His look at the time he hired us left much to be desired.  There was no evidence of any effort put into the look of his brand (image), a critical component in solidifying his candidacy.  We took the time to craft a look that expressed the confidence he already had in his political platform.  Needless to say he won the election.  Afterall presentation is everything.  Although we don’t have a correlation analysis to prove it, we can say with great confidence that the look we equipped Councilman Guarino with played a large role in securing his seat at the table.  We gave him a look that matched his voice and confidence, something the people could believe in.

APPROACH is critical, it’s the plan.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  A brand can have confidence, a great look, and a voice that communicates the brand but all of these minus an approach that works is like having peanut butter and no jelly, bread and no butter, spring roll and no duck sauce (I like sauce), or all looks and no substance.  Venturez, a record label we’ve been CLAV-ing out, came to us with vision, an approach that just needed some finessing and of course some correlating C, L, and V.  Venturez had some knowledge on the direction they were going in and an idea of how to get there but just needed a comprehensive identity and some coaching surrounding their approach and how to mesh their approach with this new identity.

We recently finished a project,, a HYCIDE magazine project.  This project resulted in a resounding VOICE and overall confidence, culminated in the site we developed for them, showcasing the look and approach we meticulously crafted.  For a project like this, mission heavy and community oriented, their voice is essential, with this in mind, we made sure the voice we brought out hit every necessary pitch and frequency.

In the delivery of proposals and pitches, we developed and continue to develop looks that WOW, utilizing approaches that work.  Our style of active communication with our clients has resulted in strategic plans that lay out phases and actions that we get behind and our clients have no trouble believing in.  In developing an identity for their brands and an approach for delivery and engagement, our clients subsequently develop a brand voice that speaks in tandem with their newly crafted look and approach.  Kind of like the first day of school, you roll up in the place with your new outfit and fresh kicks, ready to flex on cats, that’s the swag our clients walk away with. So to recap, remember:

If a dope brand is what you desire…
Try spittin that CLAV Method fire.
Confidence in your Look, Approach and Voice
will make sure you never feel a void.

drops mic…