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Behind the Scenes: How K2 Became an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company

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Many PR people, myself included, hate promoting themselves. We are in the communication/promotion business but when it comes down to us, we often suck at it.

Publicists are not conditioned to make it about us. We CAN sell our successes and ourselves to potential clients but promoting the agency to grow the business?

We need a goose, a push, a nutchkie….

In fact, if Darren, asked permission to submit K2 to the fourth annual Inc. Magazine 5000 fastest growing companies competition (an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies), I would have said no. It was hard enough to want to share our successes and business metrics to qualify for industry awards but open us up as a company? No.

Darren knew that. He turned to our Accounting Manager and accountant and they worked behind the scenes. Never said a word to me. Until we made the list.

At first, I was shocked. How were we even considered? I was in disbelief and the cynical media person in me kicked into gear.

“We had to pay them right? We bought it?” No, he said.

“So it’s a bunch of unknowns on the list.” Nope, Pandora and 7-Eleven and Brooklyn Brewery are some of the names that have made it.

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“Okay, we’re last. We’re number 4999.” No. But what if we were? Do you tell your clients, ‘Amazing news: You’re on The Today Show, too bad it’s at the end of the show?’

“Hmmm, true… so, we really ranked” Yes! Building and growing an agency like K2 is about more than raw numbers. In a time when others laid off staff or closed their doors, K2 maintained and expanded our services and our team.

He then explained the importance in showcasing the agency’s success. Ah, self-promotion… my blind spot – see my opening point.

Now, I was excited, especially for the party in DC. Black tie. We hopped a train and then the cynic in me kicked in again: 5000 companies? That’s more people than a Tony Robbins event. Would we even get acknowledged? The answer was a big YES.

But the moment I understood what it all meant was not when we got on stage or posed for the photos. The moment came when the master of ceremonies asked how many of the entrepreneurs in the audience were with their spouses? “All of you,” he said. “Are the ones behind the people who make it happen and put up with it all and nurture their desire.” He then asked them to stand up.

K2 has been mine from the beginning but without thinking, I stood up.

“What are you doing?” Darren said laughing.

But we were there because Darren pushed me – helped change the way K2 does things, build a fabulous team, and put the agency out there in new and exciting ways. He had done for K2 what the agency does for our clients. More than me, this was about a business and the people who work here.

And that’s worth standing up for any time you can.