A Fond Farewell

Cliches often get a bad rap. They’re boring, overused and aren’t creative or imaginative in any way. However, they do have one redeeming quality and it is the quintessential reason cliches are so prevalent; they’re true.

Take the well-worn phrase, “All good things must come to an end.” It simply means that nothing lasts forever, especially good things, because if they did, they wouldn’t be special or memorable or particularly good anymore. They would just be normal. And it’s true. There’s no such thing as bottomless ice cream cones, amusement parks have a closing time and before you know it, vacations are done and you’re back at the office.

The reason I’m reflecting so heavily on this particular cliche is because it perfectly describes the situation Incline Marketing and myself have come to at the present.

In July, 2013, a little company focused on digital marketing for associations, nonprofits and small businesses was born. That company was Incline Marketing. Throughout the last three and a half years, I have worked hard to grow the company and achieve the goal of helping incredible organizations get the word out about how they could give a hand to hardworking people in making better careers and better lives through online marketing efforts. Like every new venture in life, there were ups and downs, but the highs drastically outweighed the tough times and we achieved what we set out to do.

What I never expected when I started Incline Marketing were the countless other blessings that starting and running a company in the association and non-profit industries would bring. I’ve met great mentors, been a part of countless special events and opportunities that have inspired me, had conversations with amazing, intelligent and dedicated individuals that have left me hungry for success and have worked with a number of organizations and individuals who are achieving unbelievably great things every single day. It’s been an honour.

This is when we come back to that old cliche about good things and their end. We’re a small business helping other small operations and we’ve always been proud of that. We’re not flashy, but we get the job done and we do it well, we do it consistently and we do it by getting to know each and every client individually and working with them to fit our services to their budget, resources and goals. However, small businesses aren’t always sustainable.

After months of struggling with this decisions, grappling with leaving behind my clients, all the work I’d done and the business I’d built up with nothing but a dream and my own two hands, I realized that to continue operating Incline Marketing would sooner or later mean the company would be unable to sustain itself and to achieve the high standards it has prided itself on and promised its clients for almost four years. The breaking point had been reached and the tough decision had to be made.

As of January 9, 2017, Incline Marketing will be suspending all operations indefinitely. There haven’t been many moments in my life that have been harder than typing that sentence. I should probably count myself extremely lucky for that fact, but it’s tough all the same.

It’s been an amazing experience and I could not have gone through it without a few key people. The first and foremost would be my wife, Kelsey, who has supported me through everything I’ve done with Incline, from the early mornings to the late nights, the business trips, the weekend meetings, the occasional emails and posts while on vacation and listening to me running through endless scenarios and ideas for bettering the business and my clients. Running your own business is unpredictable and rarely a stable endeavour, but the real credit goes to those who believe in entrepreneurs unconditionally, every step of the way, through the thick and thin. That was Kelsey and there are no words to thank her enough for being that person for me.

There are also my parents, who have always believed in me and especially my father, who introduced me to the wonders of the association business when I was still just a 20-year-old kid trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life. For that, I am forever indebted to him.

Lastly, I want to thank all my clients and everyone I have met in the association industry along the way, with a special mention to the people at the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Each and every person I have talked to and worked with has been incredible to me and not only because they wanted to see their organizations thrive or their bottom line boosted, but because they genuinely wanted both of us to succeed together, to see a young entrepreneur thrive and to create a bright future for the industry in collaboration with one another.

It’s been an incredible journey and it’s with no less than a heavy heart that I say a fond farewell to Incline Marketing. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, although I’m not entirely certain these are the last words you’ll hear about Incline and it’s services. It’s definitely not the last you’ll hear about me in the association industry as I certainly intend to stay active in this amazing space.

While it’s true that all good things but come to an end, I’d like to make one amendment to the cliche; all good things must come to an end so something better can begin.

Here’s to a bright future and to seeing every end as a beginning.

Stay social everyone.

Marc Cousineau

President, Incline Marketing

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