Bob Gillespie is the CEO of Propr Design. Bob is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Bob provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Propr Design. Bob Gillespie joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Propr Design with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Bob join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Bob, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. Bob, please tell us about Propr Design.
Propr is a results agency. Since 2014 our team of branding, design, and marketing leaders have helped entrepreneurs answer the tough questions and leverage the creative industry to differentiate, build loyalty with current customers, win new customers, and move their business forward.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Propr Design?
I felt there was a better way to deliver creative results then what I was seeing out of most agencies. I’ve spent many years in the industry, rising to leadership roles both in-house and at agencies and was always frustrated by the lack of strategy, creative thinking, dedication, and service. So after nearly 15 years of working for the man, I said enough is enough and went all in and started my own business. Right out of the gate I had clients and opportunities. It wasn’t easy, still isn’t, but with a clear focus on building a great reputation for Propr solidified on the core foundation of relationships, education, knowledge, and collaboration, 5 years in our story remains consistent and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
3. What is the key to your company’s success?
A few things factor into our success. First it is passion. We love what we do and who we work with. Another is self improvement. A creative mind can bore easily, so we are always looking to learn and experience new things. Whether it is a book, a course, or an epic weekend adventure, we rely on fresh ideas and experiences to inspire one another, delight our clients, and enhance our creative processes.
4. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
If you’re not passionate and excited about it, do something else. No joke. If there aren’t parts of the venture that you would do as a hobby or for free (if you could) then it’s probably not right for you. News flash, no one really knows what they are doing. So don’t be afraid to try new things or fail. Finally, never stop learning, experiencing new things, asking for advice, and reading a lot of books.
5. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
Understanding what your brand is all about, what differentiates you, and why customers want to do business with you is critical. Having a peer group to talk through things with is a great idea. Their experiences can provide great advice on a variety of issues. Never forget why you started your business, and don’t spend too much of your time working IN your business, but work ON your business.
6. How do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
We are big on relationships and work very closely with our clients. We are not hired to always agree with the client or make things easy for them. Branding and devising a design and marketing strategy that wastes as little resources as possible is hard. But our dedication to our clients best interest ensures their success and we consistently get positive feedback and warm referrals.
7. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
A wise person knows what they do not know. With our constant pursuit of self improvement we are exposed to new technology, ideas, and trends all the time. In this business we are in the trenches quite often, but also keep that 10,000 foot perspective of the big picture. I’m also a part of a few chambers of commerce and other business leadership groups and organizations, which help keep me current on present and future business and technology developments.
8. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Propr Design?
Our Why is: we believe independent entrepreneurial thinking and the free transfer of knowledge and ideas drives positive innovation. We work with a very diverse range of clients and industries, we love learning about their business, industry, staff, and customers. We are curious people, so being able to work closely with bright people and learn new things daily while putting our collective problem solving skills and abilities to constant use is amazing.
9. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It is a “big history” book on us, human beings. It is a fascinating account of how humans have done what no other living creature in the history of the planet has done. But also a reminder that we are all one and our actions have big impacts.
10. What makes a great leader?
Great leaders put people in a position to be successful. They are dedicated to their people. Great leaders take the time to listen and understand their challenges. They empower their people and make them better. They act with integrity and empathy. Great leaders lead by example.
Bob Gillespie, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Propr Design, nothing but the best.