Celebrating Two Years at The Business Growers

Written by: Laura Johns
By: Laura Johns Two years ago, I started The Business Growers. It has been an incredible journey so far, and as we celebrate our birthday on June 1st, I want to reflect on our progress, successes, and challenges over the last two years. Truthfully, I never set a goal to become an entrepreneur. My decision to start the business was a combined result of a need I saw in the industry paired with my increased desire for flexibility as a working mom. And the more conversations I have with other entrepreneurs, specifically women, I realize that, often, entrepreneurship is something that “happens” to those of us who are destined for it.  Fulfilling Real Marketing Needs for Lean B2B Tech Companies When I started The Business Growers, I had experienced challenges for years as a solo marketer for a number of startups. The same issue always bubbled to the top – should we hire a full-time marketing team or hire an agency?  Here’s the scenario. An organization needs marketing help in several different areas – SEO, Google ads, website development and graphic design. The help they need would require four to five different skill sets, but they don’t have the budget to hire four or five different people. The CEO doesn’t have the bandwidth to be involved in every marketing detail but is very interested in the outcomes. The organization needs someone who can make the right strategic decisions but can also manage work across a broad range of functions (WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, budgeting, Google Analytics, organic and paid social…the list goes on). We like to call this a marketing unicorn. At The Business Growers, we’re built to fill the role of that unicorn. Startups and technology companies are very unique, and their marketing needs are no different. With The Business Growers, I wanted to create a model that gives a growing company all the “people” they need on their team without requiring them to hire them all individually. With our powerhouse team of 10 amazing women, we can help any organization experience what it’s like to find unicorn – a fractional chief marketing officer and implementation team at their fingertips. While technology companies and startups do have unique marketing needs, I lead our team with a few things things top of mind. These are the three things we prioritize, and I believe these are the three things all marketing teams at fast-paced, founder-led companies need to do to be successful. 1. Uncover strategies that tie directly to ROI: One of my primary goals was to develop and implement marketing strategies that directly correlated with return on investment (ROI) for B2B startups and technology companies. I understood the significance of limited resources for lean startups, and I wanted to ensure that every marketing effort they pursued would yield tangible results. I aimed to uncover innovative strategies that could maximize their ROI, whether it was through targeted Search Engine Marketing (SEM), data-driven campaigns, or conversion optimization techniques. By focusing on strategies with a clear connection to ROI, I knew we could build an agency that provides our clients with the best possible chance of growth and success. 2. Know how to pivot quickly: I know that for B2B tech companies, the ability to adapt and pivot quickly is essential. I recognized the need for agility and responsiveness to changing market dynamics, and I wanted to establish a culture within my agency that embraced flexibility and encouraged continuous learning.  By staying attuned to the needs of the company, its leadership, industry trends and emerging technologies, we can identify shifts early on. This allows us to guide clients through necessary strategic pivots, whether it involved refining their target audience, adjusting their product positioning, or exploring new marketing channels. By being proactive and nimble, we help our clients capitalize on every opportunity. 3. Have the flexiblity to serve CEOs: Founders and CEOs are busy. And I had worked for many agencies who would sit and wait for instruction. No founder-led organization has time to do their own strategizing or be the one to initiate the to-do list. I wanted The Business Growers to be more than a regular marketing agency. I wanted it to be a trusted partner that offered comprehensive support to CEOs. Recognizing that each CEO has different goals, priorities, and preferences, I aimed to provide a more personalized approach. This meant being flexible in our service offerings, communication styles, and strategic planning processes. Whether a CEO required hands-on involvement or preferred a more hands-off approach, I aimed to adapt our services to accommodate their preferences. By offering this flexibility, we’ve been able to build strong relationships with CEOs, fostering a deep level of trust and collaboration. This has proven to be our sweet spot. What I’ve Learned Over the past two years, I’ve learned some valuable leadership lessons. The two most notable are:
  1. Hard conversations are just conversations. As we grow and stretch as a business, we also grow and stretch as individuals. It’s okay to have difficult conversations, as long as we approach them with kindness and empathy.
  2. Clear is kind. Whether it’s clients, team members, or partners, I believe in the power of clear and kind communication, and it serves as a cornerstone of our company culture. It’s something I’ve learned from Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead, and it’s a principle that we’ll continue to apply in our work. I aim to build a team and work environment that fosters trust, openness and empathy, and we actively integrate this into our work every day.
What’s Next for The Business Growers In the past two years, we’ve grown to serve 40 clients in 23 states. We’ve helped brands start from the ground up. We’ve helped brands reposition themselves in new markets, and we’ve helped brands execute an entirely new vision for their company.  Even had The Business Growers failed, I would have considered it a success because I’m proud to say I took a leap of faith as a mom of two very young children. But every day, every new team member, every milestone and every new client has been a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Perhaps one of the greatest blessings through it all is the gift of a supportive husband who didn’t sign up for this November 15, 2013, but he’s showing up every day to serve as my hype man.  Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue growing and serving our clients. We’re not stopping anytime soon. Thank you for being a part of our journey, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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