From Start-Up to Scale Up

April 8, 2019

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are – C.G. Jung

 

We were treated to a surprise visit from our friends at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon when we learned of our selection as one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in Kansas City. The tweet-a-palooza, confetti, and champagne were pretty awesome, and we’re thrilled to be in the company of the other Top 10:

Agforce Transport Services, Leawood 

Charlie Hustle, Kansas City

IBC Inc., Kansas City

KC Bier Co., Kansas City  

Lever1, Kansas City

RFP360, Kansas City

Ripple Glass, Kansas City

Trekk Design Group LLC, Kansas City  

VeriShip Inc., Kansas City 

While we will enjoy the next six weeks of festivities leading up to the awards luncheon, we have already taken this recognition as an achievement, and we’re honored to be in the running for the Mr. K Award. The award submittal process has also been an opportunity to document how far we’ve come already in these first three years, as well as to define where we are going now that we have a foothold on the business. This celebration continues the work we began last fall in the ScaleUP! program, and this process of reflecting, gathering feedback, refining, and adjusting our processes is something we will continue to implement both in our work and in the strategic growth of our business and people.

The ScaleUP! Kansas City experience is a four-month intensive training program for firm leadership, which uses the #KauffmanFastTracGrowthVenture curriculum. During the fall of 2018, Amy dedicated significant time each week, working through ideas, analysis, and training to look at the firm in a different way. The most impactful takeaways are bringing Odimo into our next phase as a business, where we are focused on growing strategically and sustainably.

A mindset shift from Small Business Owner to CEO. We don’t think of ourselves as small. Our goal is for greater impact. In order to lead and meet that goal, we are shifting our structure to allow Amy more space for strategy, leading and mentoring our team, and making it rain. We now have a business development specialist and an accounts manager to support her on the business side of things. This allows us to focus on what we do best – deliver great design for our clients – while creating leadership opportunities for all within the firm to grow in design and project management.

Processes in Place to Scale. This program came at a critical time in our growth – in August, we were 5 employees, and by December, we were 12. As our studio has broken down into multiple project teams, we have found the need to standardize some of our basic processes and to create systems to meet quality and design goals. We’re starting with checklists, standardizing our templates, and leaving room for creativity customized for each client approach.

Focus + Pace. As we grow, we are continuing our approach of client service and advocacy in all of our projects. We are able to do that with a clear focus of expertise in higher education, affordable housing, and creative office. Our plan is to maintain our current size for 2019, work to get our standards and processes in place and continue this growth trajectory after laying the foundation for a client-focused practice.

In other words, we have our charted our course for 2019. Thank you to the Chamber for their recognition, for ScaleUP as a guide, and to our clients for supporting us in our work each and every day. Cheers to what’s next!

-AJS