The Influence of Scaling Up for Acorn Sign Graphics
Many companies in today’s corporate world are searching for methods to grow and scale their business, but struggle to implement the strategies needed to effectively do so. While many may strategize endless ideas on how to grow their business, bridging those ideas with corporate culture and habits can be a struggle.
T.J. Daly has been the President of Acorn Sign Graphics for the last five years, and when he joined the team, he brought a diverse set of experiences starting and leading various companies. T.J. has experienced not only various managing styles, but also raising venture capital and building companies from inception.
T.J. has worked in a variety of industries, including holding positions as a commercial lender, a technology investment banker, and a CFO for an Inc. 500 video production company. He also has experience in raising venture capital to begin both a software company and a timber frame home company. When he came upon the opportunity to become the President of Acorn, he seized the opportunity with energy and enthusiasm.
Because of his wide variety of experiences, T.J. has always been fascinated by management styles and strategies. One company that he was on the board of was experiencing significant growth over a relatively short amount of time, so he initiated a conversation with the founder of that company to understand how they were experience such fast growth. The founder immediately responded that it was due to the “One-Page Strategic Plan” (OPSP) by the Growth Institute (https://blog.growthinstitute.com/scale-up-blueprint/opsp-one-page-strategic-plan).
Intrigued by this idea, T.J. discussed the program with a peer who was a Scaling Up coach, and decided that he needed to research the program. He found free resources online from the Growth Institute, and realized he needed to read their Scaling Up book. The book inspired him, which led him to buy the book for his entire team here at Acorn.
Over the course of about six months, T.J. and his team decided they needed to reestablish their company values, realign their mission, and shift Acorn’s company culture. While reflecting on this experience, T.J. recalls, “The time was right, because there were a lot of people inside the organization that I think really didn’t feel like we were living the values. Some of that was internal culture, some of it was because the values were 15 years old and created by a different leadership team. So as a team, we went through the entire exercise.”
After carefully designing and outlining their new company values, they dove into the next phase of the Scaling Up methodology, which was the Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends (SWT) and seven strata outlined in the book. Even though they were excited and motivated to initiate this next phase, they struggled with certain aspects of the process in relation to Acorn.
From this point, T.J. decided that it was time to look externally for coaching and insight, so he registered for the Scaling Up Master Business Course provided by the Growth Institute. While reflecting on this time of the process, T.J. said, “I knew that I needed a catalyst to complete the one-page strategic plan. I needed that combination of a catalyst, coach and someone to really hold me accountable to get it done.”
T.J.’s experience with this 3 month online course provided new light to his business experiences and helped him to understand how to apply the strategies to Acorn in order to scale quickly and effectively. Not only did he learn from the course itself, but he also enjoyed the support and accountability of coaching sessions and a mastermind circle of other business leaders. T.J. found new perspectives especially in the mastermind group since they could discuss topics in-depth and work through issues together. This experience also helped him learn how to take these ideas to his team and implement them effectively.
Through his experiences with the Scaling Up Master Business Course, T.J. focused on shifting the company culture at Acorn and building stronger communication skills throughout his team. They adopted daily huddles to discuss what was happening throughout the company and to address progress or issues, which dramatically improved communication at Acorn and improved their company culture as a whole. (https://blog.growthinstitute.com/scale-up-blueprint/daily-huddle)
Now that the Acorn team has been successfully implementing these ideas and scaling the company, T.J. comments, “After working on the values and the foundation at the beginning, we transitioned into focusing on the huddles. Now that we have that meeting rhythm, we’re moving towards a Kaizen kind of problem-solving solution. One of the first things that we looked at was the cash chapter, just to get that mindset around cash conversion cycles and brainstorming ways to shorten those cash conversion cycles.”
Even though the Scaling Up methodology will look different for every company, it helped T.J. and our entire Acorn team align our mission and determine our purpose as a company. Our goal is to provide our clients with signage that will help them be seen, found and remembered. Not only are we passionate about the signage we create for our clients, we strive to create unique experiences with places and help individuals of all ages and ability levels navigate their built environment.
Our environments help us connect not only to the places we go, but to each other. Here at Acorn, we are dedicated to designing spaces that are creative, sustainable, and help our clients make an impact. T.J.’s experience with the Scaling Up program allowed us to define our mission and translate it into every aspect of our company. It has allowed us to grow and scale our company as we move into the future of Acorn Sign Graphics.