This year marks 18 years in business for Abel Communications. I wasn’t even thinking about it until I started getting “congratulations on your work anniversary” messages on LinkedIn last month.

But there’s a significance to the number 18 that I wanted to recognize. In Jewish tradition, the number 18 is signified by the word Chai, which translates to “To Life.” Throughout my life, I’ve been giving and receiving gifts in denominations of 18. So to recognize our 18th anniversary, I thought I’d share 18 tips, mantras, slogans, or words of wisdom that have guided me.

Where I recall, I’ve added a link to the person to whom I attribute the quote. I hope I got that part right! And so without further ado, here are 18 guideposts from 18 years of business:


Managing People

1.) Managing people does not have to be complicated. You have to do 3 key things. 1. Give employees a clear job description; 2. Provide them with the tools and training to do the job; 3. Hold them accountable (Ken Huber)

2.) When evaluating employees, ask yourself, ‘Do they treat it like a job or a responsibility? Are they someone who takes initiative without being asked? Would you hire them again?’ (Shawn Doyle)

3.) You can’t hold someone accountable for something you haven’t made them aware of (Ted Capshaw)

4.) Feedback is a gift and should be given and received as such. (Ted Capshaw)



5.) Leadership is action not position (David Sachs)

6.) Celebrate the wins.

7.) Encourage acceptable risk taking and experimentation. (Lately we’ve been saying, “You can scratch the car, just don’t total it.”)

8.) Do everything you’re supposed to do; and once in a while, stick your neck out, try something new to shake things up (Evan Deoul)

9.) I like our guys (Buck Showalter)


Client Service

10.) As an agency, make it a goal to be High Impact, Low Maintenance.

11.) Ask every client/prospect: If we look back in a year and you’re thrilled that you hired us, what happened? What does that look like in terms of deliverables and business impact? (Blair Enns)

12.) Create defensible scopes of work. (J. Mark Riggs)

13.) Don’t focus on deliverables for the sake of justifying your existence; focus on solving business problems or driving growth.


New Business / Bizdev

13.) The best way to get new work is to do great work (Doug Poretz)

14.) Take note of how you are treated during the new business process; it will likely mirror how you’re treated during the client-agency relationship.

15.) A great new business pipeline will solve almost every business problem (George Rosenberg)

16.) Treat yourself like your most important client. (Ken Jacobs, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP)

17.) If you’re not having fun when you’re pricing, you’re doing it wrong. (Blair Enns)

18.) If you’re not going to bill, you may as well not do anything. (my mom, Rita Abel)

The key to business is to bring in more than you spend (Richard Berkowitz)