OLD TOWN MEDIA has developed an amazing reputation in northern Colorado. They’re a creative and thorough marketing agency based in Fort Collins. With a love for office dogs!

Every time I hear someone mention this business, the same words keep popping up:

  • Small and personal
  • Amazing expertise

When I had the chance to chat with CEO and Founder Miles Kailburn recently. We talked about the phases they’ve gone through since starting the company in 2007.

Miles and his wife Vallene started Old Town Media as a website building business, riding the wave of website development sweeping the country and our community.

And it was a fine business, quite successful.

But they felt the need to grow into something which developed deeper, more meaningful connections with their customers. It wasn’t primarily about loyalty and repeat business, although they’ve achieved that too.

It was about serving clients with a deep, even visceral understanding of their business, and developing rich person-to-person relationships.

In this kind of business model, that customer intimacy is impossible to retain if you grow too large. So they’ve created a cap on the company size: 16 employees. With a current size of 12, they have a little room for growth, but they’re going to be extraordinarily picky.

The concept of “the right size for a company” is quite counter-cultural. In fact, many will say that “you’re either growing or dying,” a concept that comes from giving continuous returns to stockholders of a publicly held company.

Or, leaders will design around the goal of becoming as large as their revenue will allow them to get. This also assumes that more revenue and more employees is always good.

In a services-led business, though, growth can mean a reduction of the deep value which originally made you successful. There are some economies of scale, sure, but not like if you had machines pounding out a thousand widgets an hour.

So Old Town Media has set a cap on growth. They’ve designed their organization around that size and character, which means they have to have a healthy diversity of employees’ skills and clients. They focus on taking on projects where they can add deep and lasting value, which means they’re quite selective. It’s about finding the right blend of customers and employees.

They develop the depth of relationships where their customers and employees are touched deeply and powerfully.

Their philosophy is, “when you work with us, your goals become our goals. We become a team and that is when the magic happens.”

The result? Enviable loyalty and reputation.