is the Managing Partner and CEO of Common Thread Collective
(CTC), a fully remote eCommerce growth agency. CTC is the growth arm for
clients that have product-market fit and are primed to scale thoughtfully
leveraging the agency’s suite of tools and tactics.
A core function of CTC is that they own and operate brands in-house,
enabling them to speak credibly to their clients about real-time best
practices. We spoke with Taylor at length about:
Scaling a business without compromising values
Why having a niche offering is better in the long run
Building a winning playbook for your client management
Train Good People and Get Out of Their Way
To grow a healthy business, Taylor believes that founders should separate
themselves from the service they're offering to clients. It can be easy for
founders to market themselves instead of their services or get involved with
different aspects of a project.
But this can impede growth. Focus first on empowering your team to operate
the systems and processes you've built, then get out of their
From Taylor’s hands-on experience growing brands, this is how you
“If you believe in me, you should trust my ability to teach, train, and
develop the people in my organization to develop an eCommerce strategy
tailored to your business.”
Guiding Principles: Honesty at the Core
Early on, CTC accepted any project they could to bring in revenue. Today,
Taylor and his team are transparent about where they add value and
They’ve discovered that developing a competitive advantage over other
agencies would be more operationally and financially sound for their
The model looks like this:
Provide a niche service to your clients
Repeat and refine that service for your clients
Understand the market demand based on your services
Offer new services when you've built system and resources around your
“When you introduce other services to clients, and you know you can't
deliver a quality experience for them, it sets both the client and your team
up for failure."
How to Build a Winning Client Playbook
CTC is thoughtful about the way they onboard their clients. Before they
work with any business, CTC completes a "scouting report," assessing the
company’s past and present business state.
They leverage those insights to create a growth roadmap, including a
revenue forecast for the following twelve months.
CTC manages all of this information inside their in-house tech stack – Statlas
– an admin containing channel-specific media strategies to match the
client’s marketing calendar.
So Good They Can't Get Rid of You
Taylor believes that CTC's work is so beneficial that brands can't replace
it with an internal hire.
The way they justify keeping clients long-term boils down to two
The Tech: CTC’s proprietary admin features forecasting, growth metrics,
and inventory data is so rich that few agencies or internal hires could
The People: The team of 150+ offers unique skill sets suited to eCom that
their clients could rarely source independently. Hiring the right people
makes all the difference.
“Our goal is to deliver so much value that my customers can't imagine their
life without us. We have so much to offer that an internal team could never
Clarifying Mission, Direction, and Leadership
Many founders lack clarity for their people. "It's a leader’s job to
clarify their company's mission and where their company is going," offers
And there's a difference between how clear you think you are and how your
people perceive that. Unless you’re exhausted by repeating the same mission
to your team, you're not clear enough.
While many companies view their employees based on how much money they cost
rather than how much value they'll add, Taylor contests that this thinking
Instead of offering those employees the least amount of money possible,
Taylor says to provide them with what they're worth. Those people will bring
their best selves to work, paying dividends in the long run.
Taylor’s Hiring Traps To Avoid
In addition to Taylor’s philosophy on how startups should compensate new
hires, he's also aware of the pitfalls of the hiring process.
Here are a few hiring blunders to avoid:
1. Hiring in Haste
Finding good people is the hardest part of running a service agency. No one
ever complained about hiring the right person too slow, but hiring the wrong
one too fast can be devastating.
2. A Company of Clones
Leveraging your network to find candidates is important, but it can also
cultivate an environment where everyone thinks the same. There is strength
in hiring diversity.
3. Doing Your Homework
Map out how a new hire will add value based on their skills and what you
ask them to do. If you skip this part, you're setting them up for
“Being thorough is being considerate; it's the best thing you can do for
your business. If you build the right foundation early, you don't have to
fix avoidable mistakes down the road when there's more at risk.”