Juwan Platt, Keith Morgan and Donny Slater, partners in the content creation firm BCKYRD
415 W. Boundary St., Savannah, Ga. 31401.
What we do
Platt: We create all visuals that you use through social media. We do photography and video (including) short videos, usually one minute. Typically the social media platform requires short video, and people have a short attention span. Business owners … always want to shoot a movie. We say, “Let’s tone it down a bit. I don’t think your customers want (a long video) on your lawn care business.” It’s about communicating a message to your audience. … We train clients to use one message and be able to tell that message.
What each partner does
Platt handles sales, working with client relations and design, art director; Morgan does photography, sales; Slater is the creative director of BCKYRD, overseeing photography, videos and design and works weekly with Juwan on account management and strategy.
Years in business
Since June 21, 2016
Morgan: We’ve known each other forever.
Platt: We all started with creative endeavors. What one couldn’t do, the other could do. And we decided why not do it as a business. … So we tied the knot. …
Slater: We were hiring each other as freelancers for our own projects and we realized we were paying each other too much money. So we decided to start a company and put all the money in one pot.
Platt: I was born and raised in Savannah. I went to Johnson High School. I’m a Smasher (Sol C. Johnson High School). After a year of college at Armstrong, it was just kind of moving too slow for me. I didn’t have the patience for it. I didn’t have (a lot) of qualifications. I just had energy. I started working with the school district with the 21st Century Learning Centers (the school district’s after-school learning program.) We all actually worked there.
Slater: I’m from Savannah. I went to Windsor Forest High School (the Knights). I moved to Atlanta to intern at a video production company. I came back here with my girlfriend. I shot video at the 21st Century Learning Centers.
We made two grand starting the company. Our first project was a wedding. We did photography and video content.
Morgan: That was beautiful. I had fun at it. … We ended up with video that the bride and groom could see at their wedding. It showed the wedding process and getting ready. It was five minutes long. We projected it on a wall so everyone could see what took place an hour before. It looked cool. It took a lot of backflips (to do). A lot of mental gymnastics.
Two in Savannah and two in Atlanta. In Savannah, one videographer and video editor and one photographer. In Atlanta, one video editor and one videographer.
Why are you successful?
Platt: We have complete autonomy and freedom. We get to work with the people we want to — our friends. And it’s profitable. We don’t have debt. We don’t have a business loan. There are no investors. On the spiritual and emotional side, it’s freedom and autonomy. On the financial side, it’s all profit.
Platt: My top three are “Actions express priorities,” “All you need is less,” and three, “Don’t be complicit in things you say that you don’t want in life.” A lot of people say they don’t want to owe anybody — and then they take out a line of credit.
Morgan: One Bible reference and one rap quote — “Make it your aim to live quietly and mind your business.” That other: “Only in your hands does fate really rest but you could leave it to another man. Be my guest.”
Slater: “Hustle for your last name, not your first.” And “Obstacles are optical illusions.”
Best professional achievement
Slater: Staying in business.
Platt: We focus on being just better than we were the day before.
Best personal achievement
Platt: I’m not a big goal person. As long as I’m better than last year, I try to keep it like that.
Slater: I think being able to see the difference in my relationships. … Practicing empathy more.
Morgan: The fact that I get up in the morning and I don’t hate my job. … I’m enjoying work. Work isn’t work anymore. I have fun doing what I do.
Slater: For me it’s getting into business ventures that are rewarding for millennials that don’t contradict our principles. We may open up a car shop or open a pizza shop. … I like to eat and Keith likes working on cars. … The goal is to grow the business that coincides with what we enjoy.
Morgan: I would like to get into art. Galleries. Museums. Fine art in general.
Platt: I’d like to see Savannah grow their business community.
Slater: I want cash-flow positive business.
Platt: And I hope we help to drive that.
Tips for other businesses
Platt: Know what you’re doing. Doing it for fun? Doing it for money? Doing it for your ego?
Slater: Try to always quantify the emotional side (of a relationship). Count how many arguments you get into at home and at the office. … Sixteen? … Quantify your emotions so you can pick your battles.
Morgan: Really be self-aware of your relationships with people. … Not be overly friendly. Be aware of the human aspect of how you deal with people. They’re not just clients.
Things to avoid
Morgan: Growing too fast.
Platt: Don’t wait too long to start a business.
Slater: Don’t forget that business is about transactions. Like, your business is doing well and you forget that the business itself is a multiple transaction. Transactions have to happen every day. And you have to have sales and marketing.
Why does Savannah work for your business?
Platt: It’s a playground. There’s not too much competition here. There’s a lot of opportunity.
Slater: Being based in Savannah (is good), but you also have the internet. So you can have transactions in New York and Los Angeles and bring that money back to Savannah.
Morgan: The cost of living is lower here. … And making business in Savannah is relationships. It’s a lot easier here. … We can sit down and talk to a CEO. You can have lunch this week with anybody.
Slater: Don’t go broke. We say that every day.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (The partners say they don’t always pick up the phone.)
Website: www.the bckyrd.com. And on Facebook and Instagram.
A version of this story appeared in BiS: Savannah’s business monthly.