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Inc5000 Entrepreneur on Managing Rapid Growth

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Brian Walker Inc5000 Entrepreneur on the Brand Lab Series™ Ep 35

Recently named Inc5000 Entrepreneur, Goldman Sachs 10K Alum, and Forbes Agency Council Member, Brian Walker sits down for a Brand Lab Series™ 1-1.

The AE Marketing Group, CEO shares his journey managing rapid growth and the chaotic life of an entrepreneur with Natalie.

3 Success Factors

Beyond grit and a bit of luck, Brian attributes the company’s rapid growth to 3 primary factors – Vision, purpose, and speed.

On the vision – we believe that together we can build better brands. That means looking beyond just traditional marketing and seeing a brand as a business function that must transcend every aspect of the organization as well as external forces – the consumer.

Purpose – We believe doing good for the community makes good business. Since 2011, we have helped close to 30 non-profits in Chicago, around the country, even in Central America and Africa. It keeps us grounded.

Speed – Moving fast is just what the market demands today – competition is too fierce, consumers’ attention spans too short and while moving fast can occasionally be bumpy – it keeps us focused.

“Always On” Entrepreneur

With success comes, challenges.  Natalie asks Brian about his biggest challenge.  “I have a hard time turning my business brain off.” Brian adds, “It’s not been easy.”  He talks about missing moments in his children’s’ lives, losing himself and how he copes.

Constant Fear

Brian admits several fears. Perhaps the biggest is that “anyone can start a business, but can they stay in business?”  Coming off 22 consecutive quarters of profitability, Brian talks about why traction is everything.  He and Natalie discuss venture funding, debt, and why it always comes back to traction.

Another fear is that growth and scale aren’t the same and managing talent in a hyper-fast world isn’t easy. One of Brian’s greatest failures was sourcing talent early on in the company’s lifecycle. This resulted in a strain of personal and business relationships.

Brand Growth

Natalie asks Brian his top recommendations on how other companies can fuel brand growth.

    1. “Always remember the problem your company is trying to solve,” keep brand focus on that and driving market value.

      1. Keep it simple. “I know it sounds easy, and it’s not, but companies are made up of people and we tend to overcomplicate things.”
      2. Rather than trying to navigate every tactic in the Omni-channel marketing world, “focus on 2-3 channels that those impacted most by the problem your business solves engages with and build relationships there.”
      3. When you do execute marketing creative, “don’t make it look like everyone else.” It’s so easy to fall into this trap, especially in select industries – like healthcare.

      Speed Round

      Natalie finally gets her wish, to put her co-host in the hot seat for a series of rapid-fire questions.  You won’t want to miss Brian’s answers.

      We hope you enjoyed this episode of the Brand Lab Series™. To listen to other episodes visit here or iTunes.

      Tags: B2B, Entrepreneurship

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