Strategic Bootstrapping: Daniel Hicks
Passionate about entrepreneurship, passionate about strategy, Tupelo native Daniel Hicks is guiding businesses and non-profits toward a better future from a small office in Fondren.
The Mississippi State University and Southeastern Seminary graduate runs Hicks Strategy, a consulting firm that helps clients see better engagement from their donors and customers.
A self-described “boot-strapper” whose earliest business venture was in junior high school, Hicks came to the area to work for Mabus Agency’s Jackson office before deciding on a different route.
“I couldn’t let my entrepreneurial itch go away and decided to go back on my own, something I had done for a number of years [before working for Mabus],” Hicks said. “It’s been a good transition [to Jackson] with my wife’s family here.”
Hicks sees his strong suit in working with non-profits, particularly faith-based ones. “For years, I did marketing for anyone and everyone — RealtorsÂ®, hospitals, retail and restaurants,” he said. “But if you are a jack of all trades, you are a master of none. I deeply understand marketing strategy, messaging strategy, and, for non-profits, the process of engaging donors.”
As platforms like Facebook, You Tube or even face-to face conversation change, Hicks said a marketing plan developed a year ago could already be out-of-date by time you work it in to next year’s budget. “Who knew Instagram live would be a thing in November 2016?” he quipped.
“Don’t waste time on a detailed marketing plan. Give yourself a destination of where you want to reach and the budget to get there. It’s why brand and messaging standards are so much more important. If you have those, it doesn’t matter where the audience shifts.”
In other words, be flexible. 1960’s communication theorist Marshall McLuhan once said “The medium is the message.”
“It’s more appropriate now than ever to understand the medium,” Hicks said, “whatever the medium may be.”
Hicks works from a shared desk at Christopher Lomax’s Mantle, a co-working space above Babalu in Duling School. With two small children, Hicks said working from home was impossible.
He found himself in coffee shops — anywhere with free WiFi — and did the math, deciding co-working made sense, especially when you add up those daily java purchases.
“It’s stressful to go somewhere different every day,” Hicks noted. “Mantle is a place you can come that’s yours – a community. I have the camaraderie of an office environment and friendly faces I recognize.
At Mantle almost four months, Hicks will soon move to a private office space, one of Mantle’s many tiers of membership. “I’m excited about people like Christopher who have the vision for a place like Mantle,” Hicks said. “There are people like me all over the area, in a cubicle, and it doesn’t matter how much they make. They may be unhappy with an idea in their brain for years. Mantle enables those people to see a vision through, to pull the trigger on that dream.
After years of searching for that avenue for himself, Hicks said professionally, those dreams are coming into focus. “I’m on the doorstep of thirty, realizing how everything in the last ten years of life is finally coming into alignment.”