WHEN HIS AD AGENCY'S GROWTH REACHED AN INFLECTION POINT, FOUNDER BRUCE MCMEEKIN KEPT PACE BY EXPANDING HIS TEAM — WITH AN OUTSOURCED BOOKKEEPING PARTNER
By hiring Supporting Strategies to handle their bookkeeping and controller responsibilities, BKM Marketing keeps its focus where it belongs — on their clients' needs.
"Like most advertising agencies, we started by accident," Bruce McMeekin jokes. McMeekin was enjoying a successful career as a marketing professional when an abrupt corporate downsizing left him jobless in 2002. He launched BKM Marketing as an act of self-preservation, initially doing most of the work himself.
Over the course of "a lucky 13 years," McMeekin added eight employees and built a thriving business on Massachusetts' South Shore that still had room to grow. He realized, however, that he needed additional support to take that next step.
Don't Lose Those Keys
One key to McMeekin's success has been his unwavering belief in what he calls "Marketing's Bill of Rights: Put the right offer in front of the right audience, at the right time, with the right message." Another has been a stripped-down approach that focuses all his energy on crafting the right message for each client, promptly and with no wasted motion or expense. "When you own a business," McMeekin says, "you need to maximize the value of every hour."
In 2015, when McMeekin realized his busy days no longer included enough hours for him to devote to business development, he knew something had to give. Bookkeeping — no mention of that in Marketing's Bill of Rights — was an obvious choice.
Based on a referral from a connection in his business network, McMeekin reached out to Supporting Strategies | South Shore. "A lot of his motivation in coming to us was, 'How do I get this off my desk?'" says Director of Business Development Lori Coleman, co-owner of the South Shore office and three others in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
Improving on That Desktop
Straight-shooting marketer that he is, McMeekin was clear about what he was after: support with invoicing, reconciling accounts, running payroll and getting more timely reporting. He was immediately impressed with Supporting Strategies' accuracy and turnaround time, noting, "Sometimes they end up waiting for me."
McMeekin also recognized the time had come to move on from his legacy desktop bookkeeping system. When Supporting Strategies suggested migrating to the cloud, he readily agreed. "You can't be in marketing and not be familiar with technology," he says.
When you own a business, you need to maximize the value of every hour."
Security You Can Bank On
McMeekin wasn't the only one in favor of transitioning to outsourced bookkeeping and controller services that incorporated the latest technology. "The banks we work with love the fact that we use outsourced bookkeeping because there's an extra level of integrity there when looking at the numbers," he says.
He appreciates that extra level of security, too. "Unfortunately, there's a ton of fraud in the agency business," he notes. "I don't have to worry about that." Supporting Strategies addresses that issue by employing fraud-security best practices, including segregation of duties.
Yet another benefit of working with Supporting Strategies is receiving just the right level of support. McMeekin has retained certain responsibilities critical to BKM's agility, such as disbursements for direct mail campaigns. "We often have to get postage for immediate turnaround to the mail shop," he says. "So I have to be in the books every day to make payments that need to get made on short notice. That keeps my hands in it."
Maintaining that personal involvement is important. McMeekin takes a transparent, collaborative approach with his employees and clients. As the BKM Marketing website states, "We set out to be the type of marketing agency that clients view as an extension of their team and trust with their business."
Now, as a client himself, McMeekin sees Supporting Strategies as an extension of his team — one that he thoroughly trusts to help him reach his business goals. "I could not imagine a better team member," McMeekin says. "Supporting Strategies is in our partner hall of fame."