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“We are all able and willing to challenge each other’s ideas…” – Jon Martin, re: company culture

Jon was influenced at an early by working for his father’s printing business. This early exposure to starting a business, as well as, the opportunity to work alongside his Dad, helped shape his entrepreneurial spirit.

Jon has gained knowledge in the printing and construction industries. But his heart and passion really come down to achieving a life of freedom and service; freedom and flexibility in his business and finances, in order to have the time and resources to serve his family. His generosity extends to Africa, with a strong desire and life mission, to aid in business/entrepreneurial development there. This ultimately led to Jon starting Invoq Marketing in Lancaster, PA.

Invoq Marketing, under Jon’s leadership, is an ever-evolving and forward-thinking marketing machine. Jon and his team develop strong relationships with businesses. They create unique strategies, based on the particular needs of each client they work with. We are super excited to feature Jon and his team here on Five Hundred Stories.

Age: 32
Company Name:
 Invoq Marketing
Title: CEO/Business Development/Marketing Strategist
Lancaster, PA
Married to my wife Sheila for 8 years with 3 kids; William, Pierre & Corlissa

My Story

What early experiences in life cultivated your entrepreneurial spirit?

Working with my father in his commercial printing business starting around the age of 12 was an excellent learning experience.

Why did you start your business(es)?

After spending more than eight months in various parts of Ghana, West Africa and Uganda, I wanted to start a business that would allow me to create enough income I could invest in MicroFinance for the entrepreneurs in Africa. I also have a passion for helping business owners grow their companies. Marketing seemed like a good place to start.

What entrepreneur has most inspired you?

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of my biggest inspirations. Also, I have been inspired by my Dad who started his own business and who I was able to work alongside for 15 years.

What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome thus far in business?

The challenge has been in transitioning from an entrepreneur working alone, to an owner of an agency with full-time employees; taking that leap of faith to hire three team members.

What have you learned from failure?

Three things come to mind. First, stay transparent with the people around you. Especially the ones that have been affected by the failure. The second thing I’m working at learning is that failure doesn’t define you. Learn what you can from your mistakes and keep going. Third, don’t make rash decisions based on how you feel immediately after a setback.

How does your leadership style foster your company’s culture?

I wear my heart on my sleeve. This brings a high level of transparency to our company. We are all able and willing to challenge each other’s ideas and call people out on their bull shit. It has also brought us incredibly close together as a team.

What are your top 3 responsibilities as a leader?

First, it’s my job to build and foster a company culture, attracting people and providing an excellent experience for clients. Second, to provide and communicate the vision for the future of Invoq Marketing. Third, I need to give my team the tools and freedom to do their best work for our clients.

What internal process do you use to guide your decision-making?

This is tough. The process is pretty fluid, but usually comes down to a few steps:                                                                                          — define the specific need (new employee, software is not working well, system is not efficient and/or broken, etc.)                             — identify the solutions available                                                                                                                                                                                 — get feedback from the parties that will be impacted                                                                                                                                           — weigh feedback                                                                                                                                                                                                          — pull the trigger on the option that feels best to me, based on gut instinct

How do you define success?

Success is building a company that gives me a flexible work schedule, and the financial freedom, to spend time with my family and contribute to my second love, which is the people of Africa.

Which book has inspired you? (or books)

The Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Evil Plans by Hugh MacLeod

Jab, Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Go Giver by Bob Burg

What do you think is the coolest technology out there, and why?

Hubspot and KIVA. Here’s why.

  • HubSpot’s sales and marketing automation platform (full disclosure: we are a Hubspot partner) takes tech and puts it into a system allowing businesses to measure and implement marketing and sales initiatives, and track the actual ROI of those initiatives. It helps businesses move from, guessing about what is working, to knowing what is working and how well it is working.

  • KIVA uses technology to make a dent in global poverty in a real and personal way. They use tech to connect the person loaning and the person borrowing in a great way that puts faces and names to actions.

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