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CEO Meghan Lynch on How To Drive Growth for Your Business: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 79

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Is your business going through a “Whitewater” stage that’s keeping you from leveling-up?

In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, CEO and advisor Meghan Lynch talks about how to use brand strategy to break to growth plateaus and challenge the big guys in your industry.

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Meghan is the president and CEO at Six-Point Creative–a brand strategy agency that will provide you with the experience and expertise to make smarter, faster, better positioning decisions that drive growth. She is an expert advisor, speaker, and entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working with "second-stage" businesses and solving complex brand and positioning challenges.

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As entrepreneurs, we sometimes assume that the brand strategy that got our company to where it is now will keep on working in the future, but this is actually false. You need to evolve and you can't afford to make a wrong move. Thankfully there are people like Meghan who can advise you to make better decisions and keep scaling.

Among other things, Meghan and Steve discussed:

  • What Six-Point Creative can do for your second-stage business
  • The different stages of companies 
  • The importance of being able to lead things without doing everything yourself
  • Being able to understand who you are and what you’re doing as a business
  • How to build a company that you’ll never want to sell
  • The fears that hold companies back from growth 
  • Applying your team’s skills more effectively
  • What success feels like in second-stage


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You can learn more about Meghan here:

Follow Meghan on LinkedIn 

Send Meghan an Email

Learn more about Six-Point Creative here:

https://sixpointcreative.com/

Read the books mentioned in this podcast:

The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown


Enroll in the QuickStart Academy today to learn how to develop and implement a proven growth strategy that grows your ROI, your business, and your confidence. Learn more HERE.

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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts

Meghan Lynch: 

To me, that's what success feels like and I think oftentimes, 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 going to 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 sense.

Steve Brown: 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown and this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Meghan Lynch, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast.

Meghan Lynch: 

Thanks so much for having me, Steve, glad to be here.

Steve Brown: 

Six Point Creative Works, a brand strategy agency, you guys, you help companies that reach a plateau when they've figured everything out in the first stage? It's a different game and the second stage, and that's what you guys do?

Meghan Lynch: 

Absolutely. Yeah, we really focus in on life stage of a company as being really important, because I think there's just a lot of fundamental things that shift when, you know, kind of like, What got you here won't get you there. And the behaviors and the skill sets and everything that you need to be successful in kind of startup or early stage companies is so different than what you need to be successful in the next stage that, yeah, we just realized that a lot of what we do is particularly powerful, and that also, coming to it from a place of empathy. And support becomes a really important piece of it of like, obviously, second stage companies are being served by a ton of agencies and people already, but I think that coming into it with just a sense of empathy for this life stage, and really crafting the experiences and our processes and our services to meet their needs specifically makes a huge difference in setting them up for success. And, and also as well, so.

Steve Brown: 

I think it's a trap I fell into, you know, I would do research, and I'd be reading books and stuff. But what I didn't, some of the advice that I was trying to take or implement was designed for companies in different stages than mine. And I it hit me one day, I read a book called predictable success by Les McCown and all of a sudden, I could go, Oh, I'm just like a kid that goes to stages, so does a company. And I realize, Oh, I need to make sure that the advice that I'm taking is designed for a company in my stage.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, exactly. So we're often working with companies in what would be like the whitewater stage of lessons work, you know, where they're just kind of like really not really sure, like, what happens next, and everything's being kind of like thrown up in the air. And if you know, you're working with a company in whitewater, you're gonna work with them really differently than if you're working with a company that's like in the fun stage, or the predictable success stage. Like those are the easier places to work with companies, we kind of particularly picked this harder stage because I think companies are often just kind of like miss serve, because people aren't doing it intentionally. And they don't even know who they are, what they are, you know, they're in that same boat that you described of, like, you know, I didn't even know I was in second stage. I didn't even know I was in whitewater. Yeah. So I think that makes a lot of sense.

Steve Brown: 

So let's define those stages. First, there's like, 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 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?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, absolutely.

Steve Brown: 

It's like, Oh, this is working. This is good. I'm having fun. We're gonna 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's like, what happened? I thought we were doing good. Am I do I just suck? Right? And that's the whitewater stage.

Meghan Lynch: 

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'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 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 5-6-8 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 orders. 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 start to bring in more people who need more process, and that starts to fall apart, you start to delegate, you know, we work in, obviously, the branding and marketing space, and oftentimes I talk with 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 are 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 I like social media or whatever, like, you know, do 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? And so I think, you know, just thinking through, like, how do you delegate your brand and marketing in this next stage becomes different?

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, let's talk about it. Because you and I have a common experience we met at Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program. We both won a grant or scholarship, and 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. 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, were all the things that were coming my way, I think it's just as critical and dangerous in that next second stage, you get into a zone, that's just as critical as a startup stage. You're putting your company back at significant risk because now you need to have what you were good at before, means 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.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yep. Yeah. And you need to be able to lead those things without doing those things. And I think 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 mean doing everything myself, right, like getting your hands like, Oh, I can't you know, the reason why this is failing is I'm not involved enough or whatever. 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 start up. But yeah, like the stakes are high because now you've got more people depending on you, you know, more cash that you need, you know, each each day each week, each month, you know more, you're probably hiring higher caliber people with, 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.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, because I think that you nailed it in your some of your, 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 diff, you got 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.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, 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, in startup, 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 when 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 those companies. So 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.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, you're listening or watching The ROI Online Podcast. Our guest today is Meghan Lynch. her company is Six Point Creative Works, it's a brand strategy agency and we're learning about scaling. So Meghan, 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?

Meghan Lynch: 

For me, it was kind of a couple turning points. One was I started six point with two partners. And 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 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 so we had kind of like a business valuation done and got like a report card on the company. And we were growing, we were doing well, and our report card was like, red, red, red, red, red, red, red. 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, green, green. And, again, what was different for a company that we were running is different when you're valuing or 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 started to change the landscape, change the life stage, the more I was, I was realizing, like, Oh, this, this is a company that is 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 partner's 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. So that was definitely like a big turning point in how I was thinking about it.

Steve Brown: 

Now, I've had guests on this podcast where we talked about preparing your company to be sold. And it's humbling and embarrassing, I think, for most business owners to realize, I don't have anything to sell. As soon as I leave this company, everything that's valuable in his company exits. And they darted off and really didn't consider it till the end of what they needed to put in place to make it valuable and sellable.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, yeah. And I think that that was one thing, like it hit me again, when we were in 10 Ksb. And they start we were doing like a case study of like, these two companies that are the same except like, one has a CEO who's like, you know, kind of like this hotshot who's you know, intimately involved in everything and they're big in their industry. And then the other one has this kind of like, melt toe CEO who's just really good at process and just everything really runs but they're just not a very compelling person. And it was like, What have these two companies would you want to buy? And the answer was so clear that it's like you want the company where you can just remove that CEO and the thing just hums, as opposed to the one that's like, so dependent on this individual. And it was one where I step back was like, Oh, my gosh, things that I think I'm doing to make us successful, are actually like hurting the value of this company. And it was just like this gut punch of like, oh, shoot, like, I'm still like, not yet. I'm still too in the weeds. This is not working. So yeah, that's where I kind of like double down on seeing us for what we were and figuring out like, how do I kind of build something to get myself out? How do I push my team forward? How do I surround myself with the right people? So that I'm not so important anymore? And, yeah, it's a really interesting thing when you think about, and I, I also think about it as like, how do I build a company that I would never want to sell? Yeah, because, it just runs, I don't have to do a lot with it. Like, I can just kind of like, sit back and, you know, steer it, do the things that I love, but not everything else. And I think that's also like a really important headset to get into is, yeah, how do I build that company that I would just never want to let go of?

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, so we'll visit what some of the things that you need to audit and begin maybe the top three things, but at first, I wanted to discuss how scary it is when you sit and say, Okay, I'm going to design a company now that doesn't need me so much. Okay. But you realize that the folks that started the company with you are probably not going to like this new company, or this upgrade that you're going to do, they're probably going to exit. And it's like, you have this, I did, I had some loyalty to the people that were like dumb enough to trust me in the first place. Right? You know, and here we were, we were doing great, but what we were creating was a little bit of a lifestyle company. And the truth is, their lifestyles are going to change and they're going to exit anyway.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Steve Brown: 

But it's like realizing maybe you're in a relationship or marriage that maybe doesn't have legs here, you know, and but you like, there's nothing wrong with them in a way?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, well, I think that again, like, most companies, most of the business owners, the business leaders that I meet and I work with, are just like, really great people who absolutely love and are passionate about whatever it is they do. And they're just trying to build some, you know, create some good jobs for people do the thing that they love. And so they are the kind of people who get very, you know, it's not an unemotional thing for them to think about, like, Oh, this employee who's worked with me for maybe 10 years to build this company is not going to be the employee who's going to be with me for the next 10 years, who has the skill set that I need to kind of like grow to this next stage. And they feel this loyalty of like, you know, you want to dance with the one that brung you, and so you stick with kind of the, maybe the wrong people or the wrong, you know, to talk about, like the right people, right seats, you know, as the seats change, you're going to need new people to fill those. And I think that sometimes there's opportunities for, you know, people to kind of grow with the company, that their skill sets kind of grow alongside you. And then there's definitely, you know, points where the people who got you to where you are not going to be the people who get you to where you want to go. And I think particularly around like expertise, it's much easier in the early stages, like you want generalists, you want people who you can plug and play into almost any position in the company, and they're going to do a pretty good job. Like, they're smart, they're flexible, they're like little Swiss Army knives. And then you get to the point where like, Oh, now I actually need experts, like I need people who have done this before, been here before, aren't figuring out processes, but have successfully created processes that other companies that we can use, so we don't have to like build all of this from scratch. And so yeah, I think it's a really interesting point. And, you know, we developed our kind of salt for wide brand process with a lot of these kind of like pain points in mind that you are going to have when you're going through a shift in the company, you're going to have points where internal communication, collaboration and alignment become even more critical than necessarily like the creative work or they'll strategy work or whatever that's being done. Alignment becomes critical clarity and consistency become critical. And if you overlook that, then you're going to miss a huge point in the process.

Steve Brown: 

Let's talk about some of the fears that are holding high potential companies back from growth. What? So one fear, I'll just say, Okay, I knew I needed someone to come in that had been there done some of that, right? cBut the mistake I made, I picked someone that wasn't a culture fit. And they they were looking at here, we are a small, scrappy company, they're coming from a big company. And I didn't have all the resources that they naturally default and expect. So you can make a big costly mistake, which I did. So how do we avoid that? Because that can be a critical company ending mistake?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it's one of the reasons why I think CMOS often really have a really short tenure at companies is because oftentimes, you see, you know, you were the, let's say, like VP of Marketing at some really large corporation, and then your cmo opportunity is that like, the small Second Stage Company, and you're not used, you're used to having this whole team or multiple teams, you know, specialists, teams that you can just deploy and lots of resources. And then instead, now you're at this smaller company with more limited resources, where you actually have to, like, be doing a lot of stuff yourself, be able to execute. And so I think, number one, really understanding and being crystal clear about what are the skill sets that you need, and then also really understand yourself and your company and the life stage that it's in and being crystal clear about the culture, you know, if you expect people to roll up their sleeves, then you got to say that, you know, right from from the get go. And I think, you know, you talk with any culture expert or hiring expert, I think that that's gonna be a lot of the advice that you're getting for the second stage is like, you know, you don't be fooled by the kind of, like, shinyness of working with somebody who's worked at a big corporation be really clear about who you are, and that there's going to be a right fit for everybody, but not everybody is going to be the right fit for your company, so.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, that really, it reveals this need for a little outside help, because think about where you are, right, you generally a family owned business that I was shocked at how high percentage of the businesses out there are family owned. And then here you are, you're needing someone with a little horsepower, that's got some experience, but they're usually coming from a bigger agnostic, like company, like you said, with all these resources and, and delegation, and now you're expecting them to fit into a family, like, at least feels like a family. Right? And here, they're supposed to come in and have a little more understanding of the culture and how things are, it's a little more touchy feely than it was where you came from, and it can be very destructive. So what are like, what's some good books? Or what's the process that you could go to, like, position someone to ask better questions, so that they get a better fit?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, I mean, I think one of the big things that, you know, we do is really focus on company values. And I think that can sometimes just feel like over use fluff of, like, oh our values are just, you know, like, you know, it's an exercise that we did once, but there's a big difference between just kind of like, saying that your company has some values and having it be kind of more like fluffy, you know, kind of external marketing stuff, versus something that's, like, really, truly, like, captures the DNA of your company. And so, like, for example, we have like, five core values, and we, you know, stringently that potential hires to those values, were asking questions were like really pushing to see if we can kind of like break them in any of those values, like, almost try to actively disqualify people from working with us. And then, also, like, once you're in the company, we're also you know, our performance reviews are around values and value fit our, you know, our celebrations around around values, like we really really make those I've truly important part of being a regular member of the company, because I usually find that anytime there's something that's like, not quite right, like you know, in your gut that somebody is not a great fit, but they might be a great performer like they might be really technically good at their job. But it's just not working like something's broken, it always comes back to values like you can always find, you know that root cause in value fit. So we take that really seriously, we use the entrepreneurial operating system in our company, we also kind of like fold in some of the Less MacAllan stuff. But I think that there is lots of ways that you can kind of build that into it, Robert Glazer and his work, he has a book called Friday, a newsletter called Friday Forward and has a bunch of books about this, but he's all about kind of value lead culture. I think there's a lot that kind of second stage companies need to really focus on that and make sure that their values are strong, their values are real. And they're about like who we are right now. They are not aspirational, but they are real.

Steve Brown: 

Hey, I wanted to pause right here and tell you about a book that you need to get today. It's the funniest book on marketing, it's called The Golden Toilet, stop flushing your marketing budget into your website and build a system that grows your business. And guess who wrote it? That's right. I wrote it. And I wrote it just for you because I want to help you get past the last hurdles of setting up your business and getting it squared away. I wrote it so that you can avoid wasting time, wasting money, wasting frustration, get the book on Audible, you can get it on Kindle, you can get it on Amazon, but get the book, take advantage of the insights in there and let me know what you think. And now back to this excellent episode. One of the books I read that helped me with that is Vivid Vision, is you know, you think about the energies that people bring. And you know, that time you said, I don't understand why you, I thought I told you, that's where we're going, right? It's like, what, but you have to tell people like seven times before they hear it, but unless you write it down, and again, the biggest challenge of a leader is to get what's in their head, and help other people see it. And so that vivid vision really helped me understand a great way to draw a picture or a story and what the company looks like in three years, then the energies in the brains of the folks that are bought into this, they start to help it come to fruition. The other one really helped me is called Built to Sell.

Meghan Lynch: 

Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's a great one. Yeah.

Steve Brown: 

And that started to get that really Alright, so number one, I felt like I gotta get vision super clear. Then processes and procedures have to be the know the next thing that's a big investment. But I can see it, but I don't like putting it together. And you need your team that kind of put it together to put it because they do it. Right. So that takes again, some leadership and some vision of what you want them to build what you'll be better than if you did, yeah, there's a lot of leadership requirement in that from just going Hey, I'm kind of good to helping entrepreneurs get their act together here, right?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah. Yeah, and one of the things that I found, like, for example, I have an employee who's absolutely fabulous with creating processes, so like creating something from nothing. And so there was a period in our company where like, she was using that skill all the time. But what then we realized was, she wasn't great at like stewarding them once they'd already been created or honing them. And so we need a different skill set of somebody who is really great at taking an existing process and didn't want to recreate it, but could fine tune it and make it smarter, faster, better, you know, as they went along. And so, I think that again, the job of the leader becomes a little bit more about like, paying really, really close attention to what people's strengths are and when and where you need it and almost like deploying them at the right moment at the right time, so that they're set up for success. Because I think again, like everybody has value and things that they're good at, but they need to be you know, using those skills in the right place at the right time in order to be successful, otherwise, you have the person who's great at creating processes, trying you know, really struggling to keep things consistent. And you have the person who's you know, really great at making things consistent trying to create processes which they're not good at you know, so I think even use again when you're in second stage, you start to need like specialists within a specialty you know like I don't just need a process person I need a process creation person I don't just need a process person I need a process, yeah, you know consistency person, or fine tuning person. And yeah, everybody's just a little bit different. So identifying those skills and deploying people, for me kind of becomes some of the fun, like nuance work that you start to be able to work on as a leader.

Steve Brown: 

You almost have to see employees or team members, in the same way that you look at companies and what stages they're in, right? And so when you realize, like, you could have been real disappointed with the person that created the processes and systems and feel like, well you're failing me, because you're not implementing these and keeping them on track. But that's an unrealistic expectation for them. And that's on you, not them to recognize that

Meghan Lynch: 

Exactly, yeah, yeah. And so I think like, now my process creation person is now kind of like my special projects person. So she's sort of like deployed anytime we have something like new that we're testing because she's great at that stuff. But now I've got for our regular processes, I've got folks who are just excellent at making those hum. So I think again, like, you know, you seeing that and setting somebody up for success, like on both sides for the employee, it makes them so much happier at what they do that they're being recognized for the value that they actually bring, not what they could or should bring. And for you, it kind of like, takes away the frustration of just asking somebody to do something that they are just not suited to do.

Steve Brown: 

So part of this, when you start to reposition, and as a second stage company, you recognize, oh, this is what I need to be doing. And when you start to reposition yourself as a leader, moving from just having fun creating something to now figuring out how to scale it. But there's almost a rebrand that has to come into question there. And what are some of the common mistakes that companies make when they rebrand?

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, well, I think when companies are looking at kind of like rebranding and repositioning, I think, number one, they tend to think about a rebrand as always, like, I need a new logo, or, you know, I need new colors, or I need a new website, they're thinking about very, like surface things that need to change. And I think there is sometimes like, again, like you look at really mature companies, and sometimes that is what they need, they just need to kind of make their logo work better on social media, they don't really need to fundamentally change who they are reposition who they are. For second stage companies, this is a much deeper process. And oftentimes, I think, again, if these companies are going out and saying to, you know, a design company, hey, I need a rebrand, they're going to get a fancy new logo, because that's what those companies are built to do. But I think, usually what they need is really more like help with articulating this vision of who we want to be, and also starting to sift through the brand assets that they've already had. Because these companies have built something like they are successful for a reason. And they've been successful, maybe for 10, for 20, you know, in some cases for 50 years. And so they have something of value, that they also need to be really careful that they don't lose, and that sometimes when you do like a surface rebrand, you can totally miss the fact that Oh, there's brand equity in our logo or name or something core that we've built. And so a lot of our job goes in is almost like detective work to kind of look carefully at the different assets of a company, talk to them carefully about where they want to go, talk to their current customers talk to their current employees talk to their future customers, and who they want to be, you know, reaching with, and basically look for, like, what are the through lines that we can identify to help make sure that we find a few things that like, you know, I'll refer to is like the DNA like the do not alter of this company, like if you change these core things, something fundamental changes and is lost, versus, you know, and then how do we position them for like the future growth, so it becomes like a very fine line to walk of like, you don't want to change too much, because then you lose kind of what made this company successful in the first place. But you don't want to be fearful of change, because then you lose that opportunity for like to articulate the future vision. So it's not just describing who we are now, but it's who we are now, and how does that relate to who we want to be, if that makes sense?

Steve Brown: 

makes total sense. There's so much risk. It's so important that you get this right and that's why it's why great companies are so valuable or great managers are so bad. Because they navigate through this gauntlet that every company faces at some point, assuming they make it to this point, right. So there was a stat I learned that like 1 out of 40 startups will, that remain in business, will ever even make a million dollars in revenue in one year, 1 out of 40. And so what you're talking about is so important, because it is a major competitive advantage that can help you navigate. That's why one out of 40 make it because it's so dangerous. There's so many risks.

Meghan Lynch: 

Well, and also, like, the companies that we're working with other companies that have made this first round of cuts, right. So like, we have to be extra good stewards of what they've built so far, and not just come in and be like, Oh, you need a new logo, here's a new logo, you know, I think that there's like a humbleness that you need to come in to those engagements with and really understand carefully, like, you know, listen to the conversation that's happening before you walked into the room. And really, yeah, just come in with a sense of like, okay, something really special is going on here, that allowed this company to survive this far. And it's our job number one, not to lose what made them great to this point. But also to help them figure out kind of like, what is the next great iteration of what they're making, one of the metaphors that I like to use is, like, you know, you got kids, and then you know, you kind of like watch them grow up, you can't kind of see going forward, who they're going to be like, right now, like, my son's five is kind of like a blank slate of like, what he's going to be when he grows up and stuff like that. But I know, when he's 30, I'm going to be able to look back and go, Oh, yeah, you were always interested in music, you know, it kind of makes sense that you did this, or Oh, you were always creative, or Oh, you were always like really good at math, or you loved reading or whatever it is, you can kind of see the through line going back, but you can't see it in them going forward. Like you can't predict what it's going to be. And I think that that's oftentimes where the like, founders or leadership teams of these companies are is like, they know who they are, but they can't quite see like the next step, like who they're going to be when they grow up. And it's our job to kind of like, give them some potential futures and say, like, which one of these feels the best to you. And also almost to, like, take their brand off to college, and like, separate it a little bit from them, and, you know, take good care of it, and then kind of bring it back to them on the other side is like a more fully formed kind of like future version of themselves. And that it's, it takes a lot of trust and it's a really emotional process. And I think, you know, one of the things that we've gotten good at is just like, really recognizing that, in a way, the job is not marketing or branding, or like the strategy piece of it. Like, that's the easy part, when you're looking at somebody else's company, and making decisions for them. Everything is so easy to see, I could solve all your problems, you know, tomorrow. But if I've got to solve my own problems, like that is so harder, you cannot read the label on your own bottle. So just understanding like the fundamental tension that these companies are experiencing, I think helps you approach it in a way that's a lot more empathetic. And if you design the process to really work with that, instead of working against it. We're set up for better success, and the client is setup for better success, as opposed to just like kind of coming in almost at tension from the get go, which is I think a lot of what the second stage companies experience with really great talented subject matter experts, but who just aren't set up for success in this life stage.

Steve Brown: 

You're listening in on a great conversation with Meghan Lynch. Her company is Six Point Creative Works, it's a brand strategy agency. We're discussing about all the dangers of navigating your company into the second stage growth stage. Meghan, what's like one question you never get to answer that you'd love to talk about.

Meghan Lynch: 

Oh, I think that there is like this fundamental question of, what does it feel like from a second state? Like what does success feel like in second stage? And I think that oftentimes, like 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 putting on a suit, you know, if again, thinking about the company as like a child, you've got this, like, middle school 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, there's just like, a little bit too big for him, like the coughs are like, you know, kind of hanging over his 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 oftentimes, 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 going to 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 still authentic, is still gonna, 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 sense?

Steve Brown: 

Yeah, totally. So Meghan, you know, this is such a, to pick the right person to help you through this is really critical. There's a lot of value in this should you do it right. How can people, and here's the problem, is that people, so many agencies out there, like you said, the entrepreneur will come in and say, I think I need to redo my website but they may be saying, I think it's now time to adjust our brand. Because we're preparing this. And if someone's just willing to sell them a quick review on their website, they've failed this person.

Meghan Lynch: 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And they've, like, both the company is going to be frustrated with what they get, because it's not going to be really effective. They're not asking for the right thing. And then also, to be honest, like the agency that has to execute on this with a really unclear vision, or really unclear, you know, metric of success, no clear articulation of who we are, who we serve, what we do, why we're here, like, nobody is going to be happy in that relationship. And I talked to so many, just Uber talented design companies who can do amazing work like absolutely gorgeous work. But they get so frustrated with second stage companies, because they're constantly kicking it back. They don't know what they want, they're rejecting all this really, you know, great stuff that, you know, this design company feels like is right on target, they're going way over budget, they can't be, you know, the design company can't be profitable. On the other side, the second stager is like, they're not listening to me at all, they don't know what I want, you know, like, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, this isn't working. Both sides are really set up for failure. And it's not again, it's not that either one of them is doing anything wrong, the design company is doing their gorgeous design, the second stage company is trying to do their best to articulate who they are. And I think that that was kind of the gap that we saw in the marketplace was basically how do we set up second stage companies to use the expertise that's out there, you know, to be able to like, we don't need to create this, like, you know, major design department or this, you know, really expert, search engine marketing company, or SEO company or anything like that, like those already exist. We basically need to take our clients and get them ready to be able to use that expertise and be clear about what they want. And we need to manage those projects. And we need to kind of like bridge that gap between second stagers need expertise, they just don't know how to buy it or use it and the experts can really help second stage companies, but they can't do it if they're not clear about what they want and can't clearly articulate what success looks like and so if, you know, our team can kind of bridge that gap, I see us bringing real value to both sides of the equation, right. And I think it's, you know, becomes a win win and for a second stage companies who are in this kind of like precarious spot where they'd like made the first round of cuts, and there's about to be another, like they're gonna need to grow or evolve in order to stay relevant for the next 10, 20, 30 years. So, you know, again, they're sort of in this point where we can be of tremendous value from, you know, helping these companies be successful in the future, create more jobs in the future, become legacy meaningful brands for the next generation. So it's fun work when we can kind of like dig in there and help do that.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah. So if someone needs a new suit, that's going to fit them just right, in six months, how do they reach out to you Meghan?

Meghan Lynch: 

Sure, I am pretty active on LinkedIn, so can certainly follow me there. And my email address is mlynch@sixpointcreative.com. So S I X P O I N T creative.com. And we've got lots of blog articles and tools and stuff on our website if you're kind of you think you might be in second stage, but you're not quite sure and you want to go check that out. Definitely plenty of stuff there, too, to help you kind of navigate that journey.

Steve Brown: 

All right, awesome. Meghan, you made a great guest and we're just like two geeks enjoying talking about stuff they love to do. Thanks so much for being a great guest on The ROI Online Podcast.

Meghan Lynch: 

Thanks so much for having me, Steve. It was really fun.

Steve Brown: 

All right, and that's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of The ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden Toilet at surprise, thetgoldentoilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of The ROI Online Podcast.