Where do you begin when trying to describe the leader of one of the fastest growing marketing companies in the area, on whose business card and website his position description is listed as “Head Honcho.” It is all part of the disarmingly humorous and creative way Joshua Adams has built Rock, Paper, Simple (RPS) into a firm that was recently recognized by GrowFL as one of their prestigious Florida 2020 “Companies to Watch.”
Make no mistake, the boyish grin and quit wit is part of his pervasive personality that has transferred to a company spirit that also is laser focused and purpose and process-driven, while dancing on the leading edge of an ever-evolving market. In growth mode, RPS recently relocated into a new facility that includes a 500-square-foot video studio and expanded office and creative space for its 16 employees.
Adams began visiting the Space Coast with family years before he moved here. Each winter, after shutting down the family landscaping and lawn service company before the frigid western PA winters, they traveled south for the sun and surf. “It is hard to plant shrubbery in two feet of snow,” he said.
He began managing the nursery part of the business when he was 14 because of a family health crisis. One of his many ventures, Adams ran the nursery and also sold used Legos online and started learning coding and building websites.
Though Adams is an avid gamer – computer and board games – it was programing that fueled his imagination.
“I remember sneaking down to our computer at night, not to play games, but to code. My dad gave me a book on computer programing when I was 11 and it absolutely captivated me,” he said.
At 18, he made his last trip to Brevard, opting to remain here instead of heading back to the family business up north after the winter vacation was over. “I suppose the reason I have such a passion for this area is not only because of what this community is and has the potential to be, but I really discovered myself here, personally, professionally and spiritually,” he said.
His persistent approach and desire to deliver on expecta- tions caught the eye of a local marketing agency which he eventually joined as a partner. It was challenging, but also a critical learning experience, as the business was poorly managed and deeply in debt.
“I learned a great deal during that very trying time, a lot about the marketing world and branding, in addition to a lot about how to not run a company,” he said.
Adams started Rock, Paper, Simple in 2013, as a one-person web design business in his garage, with a few freelancers and a sprinkling of interns. Many of his clients came through chamber lead groups and networking functions.
Soon he was adding people to help with sales, design and administration. “When I went through Ignite 360 (a business mentoring program with WeVenture), they said, ‘You will hire an administrator and a salesperson.’ It was great advice, as I couldn’t sustain the pace I was moving at and effectively [scale my business]. Now, when certain good decisions are made and I don’t even know about it until later, I’m thrilled because that means my team is empowered to do their jobs,” he said.
RPS was thoughtful about its business model and considerate of (especially) smaller companies, essentially offering all the services of a marketing staff without the price of them on the company payroll. Adam’s team also built clear and simple processes for their services that outlined the steps necessary to meet client goals.
RPS also looks out for their clients by forfeiting industry standard commissions on ad spends. That way they are not investing in what’s lucrative for them, but they are focused on what’s most effective for their clients, he said.
It is a formula that is producing remarkable results for both the clients and the business model of Rock, Paper, Simple.
I suppose the reason I have such a passion for this area is not only because of what this community is and has the potential to be, but I really discovered myself here, personally, professionally and spiritually.