We’re going to be introducing some fun new features to Club Haus over the next few weeks! While Club Haus will always be a platform for us to share weekly inspirations, intriguing design work and news, you’ll also see more original content in the form of interviews, design and business recommends, and one-on-ones with the faces of Block Club Creative.
But first, some introductions! This week, we’re checking in with Patrick, founder and principal of the company - a job that involves growing the company with new products, services, and of course, clients.
What inspired the company’s name?
Patrick: No matter city or suburbs, block clubs in residential communities come together for the greater good of the neighborhood. It’s about people working together to make something better. We took that idea and applied it to our business. That’s how we came up with the name.
How did you end up doing what you’re doing? Does it line up with what you had planned for yourself five years ago?
If you would have asked me five years ago what I’d be doing in five years, I wouldn’t have imagined this. Block Club has come together rather organically. I guess that I’m doing this now because I’ve been aware of opportunities that have presented themselves to me. I have an idea of where I’d like to be in five years, and where Block Club will be, but I know that the path we take will change quite often.
As an entrepreneur: Greatest challenge? Proudest moment?
The greatest challenge is figuring out how to squeeze as much out of a day as possible. Every minute is valuable to an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur who figures out how to fit an extra hour into a day will be a very wealthy person - some people will say it’s money, others will say it’s finding the right people, but it’s definitely having enough time. Because with a little extra time, you can usually solve your problem or figure it out.
I’m proudest when my team is working together in perfect harmony. It’s a culmination of dedication, idea generation, hard work, believing in the same goal, respecting each other, and wanting to make the finished product better than before and the best it can be. It’s truly exciting when everyone is creating. There’s an energy in the air. It’s easy to walk around the studio, take a deep breath, feel the energy, and feel proud of the team that’s working together. Sometimes I think to myself, “This is so right!” It’s a recharge for the entrepreneur’s soul.
It can be tough to jump between a business and creative mindset and find a successful balance. In growing a small company, you’ve presumably had to manage a movement between the two. How did you account for this in Block Club’s earlier stages, and what have you found most successful in managing this - personally and as a company - as you’ve expanded?
Staring out, you wear every hat. But when you start to grow, you quickly realize that it’s impossible and foolish to try to keep doing that. The biggest changes for Block Club happened when we grew from five to ten team members in less than 14 months. To make sure we kept confusion and overlap to a minimum we re-worked the organizational chart, re-assigning roles to make sure everyone is in a position to do their best every day. We implemented SOP’s (standard operating procedures) to keep mistakes and waste to a minimum. Most importantly, we started to look at ourselves differently. We’re still a very small company, but we’re organized, we have a plan, and we each have unique responsibilities to make sure Block Club is always working in the best possible way.
Today, my job is completely different than when we started almost five years ago. I used to work on a lot more graphic design projects, and now I’m primarily responsible for running the business and developing new business opportunities. To me, these are still challenges that require large amounts of creative energy. And as for the more traditionally creative jobs, like graphic design, writing, web design, we’ve got some of the most talented creatives I’ve met working here everyday. They’re infinitely better designers than I could ever be. When you’re growing it all comes down to knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and as a small and young company, that’s something that we did and recognized right away.
Where would one find you outside of the office?
I travel a lot and really enjoy seeing the world. In Buffalo, I’m usually at a café or restaurant, or cooking with friends at my place or theirs.
Morning or night?
Multiple choice or essay?
Preferred super power?
If Patrick Finan were a food, what type of food would it be?
I do love olives…
Share something that inspired you last week:
“Becoming very rich can show that you are a genius. But thinking you are a genius can turn out to be a very expensive folly.” - Floyd Norris, New York Times. I think this is a really important idea for all entrepreneurs to remember.
And: John Bohannon’s TEDxBrussels talk, “Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal.”