you and I have a common experience. We met at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program. You, um we both want a grant or scholarship and was was able to attend this. And the whole intent of that thing was to figure out a plan on how to scale what we were doing. Yeah, and so I don't know what your experience was, but I came back and implemented it, and we started to really explode. But what I wasn't prepared for, we're all the things that were coming my way. I think it's just as critical and dangerous in that next second stage you're in. Just as you get into a zone that's just as critical as a startup stage. And you're putting your company back at at significant risk because now you need to have what you were good at before. It means you need to have now. You need to have systems. You need to have processes. You need to have real declaration of what your brand is and what you stand for and what your culture is. That's a whole nother game. Yeah, and you need to be able to lead those things without doing those things. And I think that's that's one of the kind of mistakes that you see like early second stage companies make is that as they start to grow and they almost get back into this, like, startup risk stage, they start going back to the skills that made them successful as a startup. And that means me doing everything myself, right, Like getting your hands back. Oh, I can't. You know, the reason why this is failing is I'm not involved enough or whatever. Um, as opposed to thinking through like, Oh, no, I now need to kind of, you know, you hear the metaphor of, like being up on the balcony and kind of orchestrating it from above. It becomes, like such a different skill set and such different leadership capabilities such different systems, such different people, like everything that you need to be successful is so different than what you needed as a startup. But yeah, like the stakes are high because now you've got more people depending on you. You know more, more cash that you need, you know, each each day, each week each month. Um, you know more. You know, you're probably hiring higher caliber people with, you know who are commanding larger pay, you know, like everything just feels like, Oh, my gosh, Yeah, the stakes are getting higher, and I don't know if this is going well, yeah, because I think that you nailed it in your Some of your material that I was reading is that instead of leading a company or this great idea and this thing you enjoy all of a sudden, now you need to lead a team through change, and that's scary. And that takes a different You know how to take what's in this head and this brain of yours that makes total sense to you and package it in a way that people can see it and go, Oh, I get it. That makes sense. We're heading that direction, but it's not easy. You've got to do it both for your team internally to be able to rally them around the direction that this company is going. And then you also need to be able to do it externally to customers, clients who you know at one point you know, again and start up you're dealing more with, like your own network or people who you have personal relationships with. But as you scale, those degrees of separation become larger. And so how do you you know where again? It was people I knew, people who get me, people who get the brand and what I'm doing versus now. I need to be able to communicate with strangers quickly and efficiently and get them excited about the vision of this company. So it's It's both this kind of like two directional communication that you need to do what's going to rally my team and set them up to be able to execute for me. And then what's going to kind of rally the market? You know, these people who I'm the right fit for and who the product and the company is the right fit for, And how do I rally them, you know, to be able to understand who we are, what we're doing
So let's define those stages first. There's like there's an early struggle stage. That's the stage where you start a company and you don't even know if you're going to survive another month. You got an employee. Maybe you're focused on trying to get them paid, trying to figure out how to invoice people and collect and and testing, whether your product or service even works or even as a good idea. And then you start to figure it out, and then it starts to get a little bit fun, right? It's like, Oh, this is working. This is good. I'm having fun. We're going to hire some more people and I think we're going to get a higher caliber client. And then all of a sudden, things start to shake. The wheels start to come off. He was like, What happened? I thought we were doing good. Am I? Do I just suck? Yeah, right. And that's the Whitewater stage. Exactly. It feels so much like failure. You're like, Oh, my gosh, we you know, we were doing everything right. And it feels like, you know, I have I'm still doing the same thing. So why is it not working, you know, what am I missing? And I think that it's such a critical like emotional point for a business leader to get to that stage and to get through it because it's the time when you're like Oh, my gosh, yeah. Should I just get out of this business altogether? Why do I even do this? And and I think that you start to realize like, Oh, the reason why fun worked was that it was only, you know, maybe, you know, it's under 10 people, you know, maybe like 568 people and they were all really aligned around my vision, and it was really easy to delegate to them because they were, like, really good execute ear's. And, you know, I just told them what to do, and they did it. And then as soon as you try to put some process on that or, you know, you start to bring in more people who need more process, and that starts to fall apart, you start to delegate, you know we work and obviously, the branding and marketing space, and often times I talked with the owner founders and they're like, Oh, I can't delegate our brand. I can't delegate the marketing because every time I do anyone I give it to, it's not as good anymore. And, you know, again, I think that it becomes the like who you're delegating it to, you know? Are you delegating it to the person with the right skill set or you just delegating it to like anyone who says that they're, you know, like a kid who says like, Oh, yeah, I like marketing or like social media or whatever like you know, are they? They have the right skill set and then also, are you delegating it in a way that's clear? Are you delegating it in a way that, like you, can articulate it? Because often for owner founders, like we're so close to it that we can't describe what we do? We can't describe what we want because it's just like it is us, right? Um and so I think, you know, just thinking through, like, how do you delegate your Brandon? Marketing in this next stage becomes different
our guest today is Megan Lynch. Her company is six point creative works. It's a brand strategy agency, and we're learning about scaling. So, Megan, when did it become apparent to you that you had this problem in your own agency? And why is this so personal? And why have you planted your flag in this area? Mhm. Yeah, for me, it was kind of a couple turning points. One was, I started six point with two partners, and, um, about five or six years ago, they started talking about like, Oh, you know, they were older than I was. They were kind of, you know, at the tail end of their career. So they were starting to think about exiting the business, and I was starting to think about like Okay, well, if they leave, what is this company going to be for the next, you know, 10 years or 20 years when it's just me. They were such an integral part of of the company. So what do I want to make sure stays the same? And what maybe do I want to change to make sure that we can grow into the future and, um and so we had kind of like a business valuation done and got like, a report card on the company. And we were We were growing. We were doing well. And a report card was like red, red, red, red, red, red, red eye. And I was like, Wait, what? Like I thought that this was like, you know, a great company that I was excited about. Why is this telling me that everything's wrong and bad and, you know, I'm not, You know, I'm a high achiever. I don't like to get reds. I want to get green, green, green and green. And again, what was different for our company that we were running is different when you're valuing, are going to sell a company or kind of remove principles from a company. So again, like what I thought was a healthy, great company. As soon as we start to change the landscape, change the life stage, the more I was realizing like, Oh, this this is a company that does not set up for transition. So we started embarking on, you know, a mission to, like, prep the company for this kind of compelling event that we had coming up of my partners exiting the business. So it really made me kind of, like, step back and from, you know, like a less emotional point, you know, kind of look at the company on paper and realize what I needed to do. Um, so that was definitely, like a big turning point in and how how? I was thinking about it.
I think that you nailed it in your Some of your material that I was reading is that instead of leading a company or this great idea, this thing you enjoy all of a sudden, now you need to lead a team through change, and that's scary. And that takes a different. You know how to take what's in this head in this brain of yours that makes total sense to you and package it in a way that people can see it and go, Oh, I get it. That makes sense. We're heading that direction, but it's not easy. Yeah, and you've got to do it both for your team, you know, internally to be able to rally them around the direction that this company is going. And then you also need to be able to do it externally to customers, clients who you know at one point you know, again and start up you're dealing more with, like, your own network or people who you have personal relationships with. But as you scale, those degrees of separation become larger. And so how do you you know where again? It was people I knew, people who get me people who get the brand and what I'm doing versus now. I need to be able to communicate with strangers quickly and efficiently and get them excited about the vision of this company. So it's It's both this kind of like two directional communication that you need to do what's going to rally my team and set them up to be able to execute for me. And then what's going to kind of rally the market? You know, these people who I'm the right fit for and who the product and the company is the right fit for and how do I rally them, you know, to be able to understand who we are, what we're doing.
I think that there is, like, this fundamental question of like, what does it feel like from a second state? Like, what does success feel like in second stage? And I think that oftentimes we get so focused on, like the what's wrong and what's broken that, you know, kind of like to your point about kind of like being outcomes focused and being able to articulate what you are looking for versus what you aren't, I think is a really important thing. And for me, success in second stage and particularly in like positioning and branding and kind of like getting to that next stage, What it feels like is like putting on a suit. You know, putting like again thinking about the company is like a child. You've got this like middle, a middle school, Um, young man, who's like outgrowing all his clothes. And he's got some big important event coming up like maybe like a family wedding or something, and it's in six months, so you buy him like this great suit. It's just like a little bit too big for him. Like the cuffs are like, you know, kind of hanging over his arms and the legs are, you know, he's kind of stepping on the pants, But, you know, in six months this kid is going to have a growth spurt, and that thing is going to, like, fit beautifully and look great. And he's going to be like, super Sharp, and I think that that's like to me, that's what success feels like. And I think often times for leaders in second stage when they're going through the positioning and they're going through the rebrand and they're kind of re trying to figure out what this company is. They're looking for the suit that fits just right. They're looking for this, like, aha! Moment of like, yes, I love that. I feel great in it. That's not what you want because in six months, if everybody if you know, if you're doing your job well, that thing is going to be too small and you're gonna be doing this again and again and again. But instead, how do we just kind of like pick our heads up, see a little bit further down the field and create positioning that's still authentic? Is still going to, you know, fit you right but a little bit further down the road that you need to grow into, not grow out of? If that makes