January 2019

It’s January, and the sports gods have blessed me with another year of Patriots magic. 17 years ago, I became a fan of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In the intervening years, I marvelled at their ability to sustain success in an era of unprecedented parity and move forward when key players have left. Hate them or love them, there may never be a team like this ever again.

For those of you that don’t know, the key to the Patriots’ success can be summed up in this quote from Rob Gronkowski this weekend:

“I've just been fighting all year long so when situations come like this I'm ready to go and ready to make some plays. So whatever coaches ask me to do I'm always down to try my best and give it my all."

The system that’s lead one team to nine Super Bowls in the last 17 years has a very particular understanding of talent and effort. It understands that each person can’t give their everything all the time, nor do they have skills for every situation or task. But for every person there’s a situation or a skill that, when they give it their all, they can achieve collective greatness.

Speaking of teams, as promised last month, I now have the opportunity to gush about mine. The cast of characters may have changed since my first season of entrepreneurship, and there are days I miss some of those people dearly, but I am always in awe of the brilliance that is Benficator’s greatest asset—its people.

I have the honour of being the face of our team’s success on many occasions and it’s an embarrassingly lucky privilege. 24 year old Ben gets more than his share of credit for starting Frontier. And while praise for achievement is great, especially if you’re type 3 in the enneagram, it crosses the line when the work of others is ignored or taken for granted. For every achievement we make in life there’s always a team.

If it weren’t for the sacrifices my mum made, I couldn’t possibly have finished my degree at 20.

If it weren’t for the trust that people like Don Manning, Genesa Greening or Chris Mah placed in me, Frontier wouldn’t have gotten off the ground.

If it weren’t for the risks that Heath Johns, Luke Taylor, Derek Weiss, Emily Cheevers and Blythe Kingcroft took in joining forces with me, Frontier would be a solo consulting business.

No one said it better than fellow 3 on the enneagram Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“So how can I ever claim to be self-made? To accept that mantle discounts every person and every piece of advice that got me here. And it gives the wrong impression — that you can do it alone.

I couldn’t. And odds are, you can’t either.”

There’s always a team.

Our 5 Ps, the management framework for annual planning begins with People. Examples of items within this pillar include defining the roles and responsibilities of team members, or hiring new talent. This framework ensures that people remain a top priority, along with Profit and Process, areas I’ve spoken about in the past, and Protectionism and Procreation, which I’ll speak on in the near future.

Recently, we’ve had the joy of celebrating two people that have worked for Frontier for four years now, Sophie Wooding and Nick Tassell. They’ve poured their vocational souls into the production efforts of Frontier’s fundraising machine and emerged as soft-spoken leaders.

I remember their initial interviews and months vividly and am honoured to have seen them grow to become the core of Frontier’s latest team.

Nick’s puns are just a small glimpse at his insightfulness. His skill at seeing improvements to production have led Frontier into a period of unprecedented production excellence.

And Sophie, the most efficient employee I’ve ever witnessed, contributes as a leader with quiet determination. She’s taken hold of Frontier’s print production with an open-mind to continuous learning that I hope forces Frontier to keep up with her voracious aptitude.

The least we can do is give these two an extra week off.

Meanwhile, we have what seems like a tie for rookie of the year. Matt “my work son” Hussey and Innes “the bloke from Bristol” Purdue have just completed a year’s employment and I haven’t seen better rookie seasons since we drafted Mariam Ghani in the spring of 2015.

Matt’s optimism and hustle, along with his organization and communication, make him one of Frontier’s luckiest hires ever.

I look forward to seeing the growth in him and, by extension, Frontier’s client success.

Innes joined last year to be a sidecar edition to Jonathan Horvatin’s then-solo ride at Charity Electric. It didn’t take long for Innes to grow out of his initial role and become the most insightful person I’ve ever worked with. I always look forward to my meetings with him, which I’ve dubbed Insights with Innes.

As our team is getting older and beginning to grow their own humans, we’re finally at a stage where we can support our team while they raise our future Good Marketer’s apprentices.

There’s been some mums and dads to work here, but none we want back more than Silvana Allendes, our first-ever Good Marketer apprentice, now Digital Marketing Assistant at Frontier and soon-to-be proud mum.

All that to say, I’m happy to announce we have started a 10 month, $500 per month, parental leave stipend to pitch in while Silvana and future parents focus on what matters most.

Lastly, we’ve added another tier to our Health Spending Accounts for managers and turned it into a Health Wellness Account where they can not only pay to get their teeth polished, but also get dodgeball fees reimbursed as a taxable benefit. Dreams do come true.

If you know anything about small business and entrepreneurship, you know how good it feels to be able to add benefits like these. I feel so freaking lucky that we can continuously improve our ability to use capital to reinforce culture.