Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dan Altenbernd | H2M Brand Haus | Business Challenges & Successes

In this exclusive interview series, host Jesse Samberg sits down with Dan Altenbernd, the owner of H2M Brand Haus, to discuss his journey in the marketing and advertising industry. From overcoming challenges with patience to navigating the ever-changing landscape of marketing trends, Dan shares valuable insights and lessons learned. Join us as we delve into Dan’s unforgettable client story, his plans for the future of his business, and the importance of company culture in sustaining success. Get ready for an engaging and enlightening conversation with a seasoned entrepreneur. Let’s dive in!

Interviewee Name: Dan Altenbernd

Company: H2M Brand Haus

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Dan Altenbernd : Great to meet you Jesse. I feel i’ve been fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do at a young age. I wanted to work in marketing/advertising. At first believing I’d accomplish that on the creative side, with a goal to be a creative director – couples with the desire to have my own business. I’ve gone through a series of start-ups, stumbles, but found myself finding my purpose in business development and growing relationships – all while staying within the advertising field. I’ve had my own creative studio, worked for large ad agencies, been involved with investor funded groups/buy outs. Now i’m on year 19 of H2M Brand Haus, which I own.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Dan Altenbernd : My greatest challenge has always been dealing with patience. I work at a fast pace, and for a long time I would become frustrated if pieces weren’t falling into place quick enough, or people working keeping up with me. Luckily I was able to work through that. I still work at a pretty quick pace, but I don’t have the expectations that everyone, everything, should be expected to move as quickly. Things happen on their own, eventually, when its the proper amount of time – for better or for worse. I’ve learned how to take a breath, deal with the information coming in when it eventually doe, and deal with the results the best that I can .

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Dan Altenbernd : The industry of marketing and advertising is changing constantly/consistently, now more than ever. What I can count on is the constant change – so we work to stay on top of the information, trends, efficiencies and threats. I deal with these changes (that at times can become overwhelming) by always reflecting on our companies mission and goals, then properly communicating them to the whole agency so that everyone is able to keep their focus and have pride in their work and accomplishments. By doing this – we are all able to continue moving forward. We’ve built a solid reputation by our approach, our process and our solid work.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Dan Altenbernd : This is kinda funny, but it’s something I just continue to talk about and share a laugh. I had just landed a new client, or so I thought. They were out of market, but one day I was surprised that the two primary decision makers walked into my office. It was a Friday, and 3/4 of my team were either out of office for a long summer weekend or in meetings, only a quarter of my staff were present.

We had a nice conversation in my office, I felt things were going well. They then asked me “Who’s your biggest competitor?” I was honest, told them the company and even let them know where their office was located, which wasn’t far from mine. Now mind you, this company – people wise – is four times larger than my shop. They literally walked out of my office, walked to my competitors joint, saw all the people and ended up deciding to not work with H2M Brand Haus and go with the competitor I recommended.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole situation. And i’ve reflect on it still to this day, and quite honestly I wouldn’t have done anything different. We presented well, we DID win them initially, and I was honest about everything. If I lost the opportunity due to a quick perception of a drop in – so bit it.

Maybe they weren’t going to be a good fit for us at the end of the day if the wind could swing them so quickly.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Dan Altenbernd : When I retire, oh man. When is that? (I’m kidding of course.). I’m always looking for opportunities for expansion, merging, partnerships that will strengthen the agency and allow me the proper succession. I hope the agency can continue for ages without me, and continue to make a mark in our region, if not nationwide. I haven’t found the solution yet, but i know it’s there – and I’ll discover it soon. We’re currently in a great growth mode, so i’m truly enjoying my current situation, but I’m also looking forward to stepping aside to let someone else, or a team continue this success.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Dan Altenbernd : That question immediately brings up the challenge of our agency navigating the pandemic. We had to be nimble, and we had to be very diligent on a daily basis. I had just taken over majority at that time, and making the right decisions were crucial. I was blessed to have the right people around me, and bring new faces to the agency.

From that situation, solidified what was already a core personal belief, which is that company culture needs to be a top priority. Toxic situations or people cannot be tolerated when building, growing, sustaining a business. If your culture aligns with your mission and goals, you have a decent shot at success. If your team aligned, solid work is produced, and solid work breeds more opportunities. I echo this message often, and it helps get me through some days when I may be questioning certain directions or decisions.

Be confident to turn to your team, have transparent conversations, and create an environment where everyone feels they are contributing to a common goal.

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Dan Altenbernd and “H2M Brand Haus” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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