A Partner to Help Navigate Complex Decisions
THE CHALLENGE OF UNEXPECTED GROWTH. THE NEED FOR AN EXPERIENCED ADVISOR.
When Geoff Karcher started his web development firm, TKG, more than 20 years ago, he was its sole employee. It was the mid-1990s, and the online industry was still in its infancy: the first web browser had been released just a few years earlier.
The gold rush that followed created an industry completely made up of startups with little or no business experience, Karcher says. “In those early days, if you had a laptop and could spell the word ‘internet,’ just about anyone could sell a website.”
And Karcher sold a lot of them — something that would prove to be both a blessing and curse, he says. With no staff, no infrastructure and no longterm plan, his business model was unsustainable.
“Our original vision was just to sell a handful of websites and broker out the work to friends who worked in the space,” he says. “We thought we could solve any problem by just generating more revenue. But that quickly turned into a whole lot of customers, and it was really hard to keep up."
He added services. He added people. “And that created some real business challenges we didn’t As a fast-growing start-up in the digital space, we didn’t have the staff or infrastructure to deal with business challenges early on. We leaned on 415 Group for strategy and advice, and transitioned the company from a mom-and-pop shop to a sophisticated operation. know how to deal with,” Karcher says. “It became clear that my background wasn’t going to get us to where we needed to go as a company. We needed strategy and guidance and planning.”
A PARTNER TO HELP NAVIGATE COMPLEX DECISIONS
Karcher says he relied heavily on 415 Group to guide his firm through the growing pains and challenges he faced during the transition from a “mom-and-pop” shop to a larger and more sophisticated organization.
“As our business grew, our needs became bigger. 415 Group was the strategic partner we needed to help us understand our finances and our direction as a company — and to help us create a plan for getting there,” Karcher says. “They helped us put the right systems in place to ensure that, as we were making moves, they played out well for our clients and for our people.”
Those moves included 415 Group’s assistance in evaluating and executing strategic acquisitions in the Canton, Ohio, area that added several key lines of business to TKG’s offerings. “We’ve gone from doing just web development and website hosting, to full-service digital marketing,” an area that’s rapidly growing.
The acquisitions also brought the area’s top talent into the TKG fold — from designers and developers to writers and social media experts. The agency today has 40 employees and just opened an office in Columbia, S.C., its first on the East Coast.
A MUTUAL BELIEF IN LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS
Having recently marked TKG’s 20th year, Karcher says business has never been better, and his partnership with 415 Group never more important.
“I think the reason we work so well with 415 Group is that we’re very much alike in how we work with clients,” he says. “TKG has to be a true strategic partner with its clients to succeed. We’re not a project shop — we’re an organization a company will hire for five to ten years, or more. We help them set goals, measure against them, achieve them. That’s what 415 Group does for us.”