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From left: Ashlee Colliver, SVP of global sales; Nathan Adams, president/CEO; Mary Busch, EVP of integrated marketing services; and Brian Johnson, CFO
Tawnie Wilson | SBJ
From left: Ashlee Colliver, SVP of global sales; Nathan Adams, president/CEO; Mary Busch, EVP of integrated marketing services; and Brian Johnson, CFO

2024 Dynamic Dozen No. 11: Epic Strategies LLC

Posted online

SBJ: What has your recent growth enabled you to accomplish?
Nathan Adams: It has allowed us to capture a name-recognizable client list. I think any technology, marketing or advertising firm would kill to have the name-brand clients that we have. When you receive the awards that we’ve gotten, you certainly catch people’s attention, so from that standpoint it’s been helpful, but it’s not easy to manage.

SBJ: Are there any unique challenges to having such a high-profile client portfolio?
Adams: We have a great small-business practice, but a lot of small-business leaders find out who our clients are and wonder if they can afford Epic Strategies. When you have a client like Apple, it’s almost like you’ve got the biggest reference you could possibly have, but then people wonder if they can afford you, so we’ve had to figure out how to talk about that.

SBJ: A lot of your growth has been through acquisitions. What unique challenges does this strategy pose?
Adams: Acquisitions should be a part of any CEO’s strategy. Sometimes you get presented an opportunity, and maybe it wasn’t in your plan until Step 4, but you move it to Step 1 because the opportunity existed. That’s something we’re continuously talking about. There are significant challenges in trying to bring our team together and create a culture. It’s something that takes up more of my time now than it has in the past. We have folks sitting in Kyiv, Ukraine; in Poland; in Bucharest, Romania. One of the first things I read about every morning is Ukraine. We have a workforce that possibly could be conscripted at any moment, so how do we ensure that we continue to perform for our clients no matter what happens there. Also doing a companywide call has gotten a lot harder these days.

SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Adams: Yes, and I think at times we’ve certainly done it. You can think you know what something is going to look like and when you get to it, it’s completely different. There are new learning experiences, and it makes for uneasy discussions at times. You’ve got to be collaborative. But there have definitely been times when we’ve gone, “How did we miss this? We shouldn’t have missed this.” The answer existed and we didn’t know about it.

SBJ: What would you consider to be the tipping point between sustainable growth and growing too fast?
Adams: When you get into something and realize that the resources that are needed to provide a solution are not within the company is usually the first sign you’ve got a significant problem on your hands.

SBJ: This is Epic Strategy’s second year on the Dynamic Dozen. How are things different this time around?
Adams: My phone calls seem to get returned quicker, and my inbox is a lot more full these days. I still make sure that the policies that worked for us in the past still work for us today. We really try to stay focused on what we do and not buy into our own press releases, but it’s pretty cool to show that a Springfield company is getting national and international awards. There are others who have come before us in Springfield, and it’s pretty cool to be part of that success to some degree.

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