Want to grow your small business? Acquisitions can help you effectively enter new markets, expand your customer base, and increase your offerings without creating them yourself. This helps diversify your product or service portfolio, which reduces risk and helps your business better withstand economic uncertainty.
But there are also risks. There may not be a cultural fit between the two companies. The due diligence process may not reveal potential issues, including legal, regulatory compliance and financial issues. The acquisition can be poorly executed, leading to operational problems and the loss of key personnel. The purchase can be expensive, leaving the buyer with excessive debt.
Robyn Streisand, CEO of The Mixx, a strategic creative agency, began to grow by acquiring complementary businesses. She reduced her risk by buying companies she had worked with for years. Creative Captain Group was its second acquisition.
Version 1.0 of The Mixx: a strategic creative agency is born and focuses on DEI
In 1997, long before others realized that a strategic creative agency could build a business by strategically connecting brands to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Streisand did it. Interest in DEI grew, as did The Mixx.
Interestingly, Streisand believed that certification as a woman-owned business was for office furniture and IT staff businesses, not creative businesses. “[Back then,] there weren’t many companies that knew what certification was or meant, especially in the area of marketing media and communications,” she said. But her client, Greta Davis of Time Warner, for whom she was developing her very first supplier-diversity program, asked her to get certified, which she did.
Version 2.0 of The Mixx: growth thanks to WBENC and NGLCC certifications
Since then, she has become a big proponent of certification. You have to show up to the table to be considered for a contract with a big company, and that just doesn’t happen enough for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more (LGBTQIA+ )-, minority- and women-owned businesses. American businesses and the government have an important role to play in helping underrepresented entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Growth Through Certification became Streisand’s The Mixx version 2.0.
“Mixx’s core competency is serving underrepresented communities, whether it’s women, LGBTQ, African American, Asian, Hispanic,” Streisand said. Campaigns can be aimed at internal or external audiences. The Mixx bridges the gap between brand and target market by diving deep into research to reveal new insights into what and how to communicate. The Mixx then quantifies the return on investment (ROI) of the campaign.
Version 3.0 of The Mixx: Growth through strategic alliances
In 2014, Streisand launched the first-ever collective of certified LGBTQ, minority, and women-owned businesses called Titanium Worldwide. Titanium was created as a growth strategy for The Mixx. “We were asked to compete for RFP opportunities and we were knocked out in the first round because we were too small,” Streisand said. The collective was version 3.0 of The Mixx.
Agencies are certified diverse with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), or the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and any spend counts toward supplier diversity goals from a company. Capabilities include consulting, strategy, marketing, communications, creative, execution, media, engagement, technology and analytics. Each agency operates with a shared mindset and a common way of working together.
“For the first three or four years, we were the shining toy,” Streisand said. “Tenders were coming in left and right.” Brands focused on multicultural marketing. Before you knew it, Titanium had 23 agencies under its umbrella that are all independently owned and operated. A few years later, Titanium won its first record agency (AOR).
Now companies want their agencies to be streamlined, more cost effective, nimble and nimble. From an operations perspective, doing this with independent companies was a lot of work. Streisand began to understand why creative agencies were buying other agencies.
Version 4.0 of The Mixx: growth by acquisition
The Mixx and Captain Creative Group were doing a ton of work together. “We’re two agencies that put relationships first,” Streisand said. “For 26 years, The Mixx has worked to help create the world we want to live in – to help brands realize that DEI is not just a moment in time, but a movement. Captain Creative Founder and CEO , Lisa Foti, and I have been longtime friends and collaborators in inclusivity and creativity.”
Captain Creative brings industry experience in experiential events, marketing communications and production design for life sciences, technology and consumer brands. Both agencies take an audience-centric, human-centric approach to marketing.
Streisand is the visionary. His talent is to see what happens on the road. Foti’s core competencies are operations, resourcing, team building and scaling. “We worked together so much, and it became the natural evolution of our relationship.”
“Robyn came to me at the end of last year and said it made sense for us to work more closely together,” Foti said. “I was basically working part-time for my company and part-time for Titanium and The Mixx. This is an opportunity to work together to create something bigger.”
“I love working with the Mixx team and the members of Titanium,” said Foti. “It’s a match made in heaven.” They each do what they love to do and do well. And the icing on the cake is that it’s an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people, people you know and trust. “I trusted to bring my clients and my team to the Mixx,” she said.
Integrating the systems and technology of two different companies takes work. But they are not even six months away from the merger and are about 85% there.
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