Pillars | August Spark

Pillars

Key Pillars - How We Work

We have extensive experience in all stages of a company lifecycle–from ideation to incubation, investment to growth and, ultimately, to exiting. While organizations have many critical functions, the following four guiding principles on ones that we focus on and prioritize. 

Culture and Talent

The separation between work and home is not what it used to be, making it critical for your 40+ hour weeks to be filled with purpose and enjoyment. We believe nothing is more important than the people on your team and the culture they create and nurture.

Employees want to be motivated and challenged. They need to be surrounded by collegial and supportive colleagues while knowing they have lots of opportunity for career advancement.

Every single hire should be better than the last. We seek colleagues who have different backgrounds and perspectives, share their honest opinions, are committed to excellence, and recognize that the team comes before the individual. We believe in behavioral based interviewing for skills and culture fit, homework assignments and testing to ‘confirm what we have seen,’ and real reference checks. Our approach to recruiting has allowed us to build strong teams and outperform the competition.

Teams need and deserve your investment. Training and development ensures loyalty while giving staff the tools they need to perform and progress. Through mentoring programs and job shadowing, exposure to outside speakers and industry leaders, along with continuing education, we have seen firsthand the motivating and positive performance impact this can have.   

Work environments have to be fun. We believe in making your company a place candidates are dying to work for and employees can’t imagine leaving.   

Mike’s company, Undertone, was featured as a Best Place To Work more than 10+ times by numerous industry publications.

Strategy (aka Prioritization)

Among middle-market businesses, strategic planning is a luxury few enjoy. When you’re busy running your organization, it’s difficult to step back and regularly assess the market, your position, and the opportunity at hand.

Strategy means prioritization and saying no. It means allocating resources effectively so you have the best chance to win and keep winning.

Strategy is a living and breathing approach. You don’t develop once a year and revisit 12-months later. Rather, you constantly review and tinker as your market evolves, all while using a blueprint for internal communication and employee engagement.

Stephen has spent the majority of his career advising middle-market and Fortune 500 companies on planning and executing growth strategies. He has developed a formula and approach that works.

Sales and Marketing

What is your brand identity? Is it clear? Does it accurately describe your business today as well as the business you plan to be tomorrow?

Marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Branding and direct response are critical functions that fill your sales funnel and get your customers thinking about your products the way you want–not how others define them.

Sales is part art, part science. Too few companies get either right, let alone both. Through the development of a comprehensive go-to-market strategy, middle-market companies can effectively compete with the Fortune 500 and “punch above their weight.” This means investing in personnel, systems, and tools that drive business success.  

Marketing efforts require more. Many companies rely on word of mouth and owner-led sales efforts to drive revenue. While these tactics can be effective, building a sales organization requires repeatable systems and processes as well as the tools and training for excellence.

Mike’s former company was recognized by Selling Power Magazine multiple times for being a great sales organization to work for.  

Digitization

The internet has transformed everything–from communication and employee engagement to project management and storage. As digital natives, Mike and Steve drive digitization to accomplish at least one of 3 things:

  1. Productivity
  2. Collaboration
  3. Revenue

Digitization can be complicated and all-encompassing. What is your company’s cloud or storage strategy? How are you using mobile to empower workers and engage customers? Did you launch a social media presence and wonder why it hasn’t driven material business results?

We have the experiences to cut through the clutter.

Stephen was a member of the first graduating class of Cornell Technology in NYC. He started his own app company and has advised numerous firms on product  and software development.

Mike’s former company was in digital media, helping large enterprises leverage new tools and techniques to market their message and engage customers.