The Common Sense Approach to Maximizing Growth and Exit Value for Your Firm


Welcome to the show Jim Barnish!  

Jim Barnish has spent the last two decades growing tech companies as an entrepreneur, operator and consultant. Jim now runs Orchid Black, a growth services firm complete with growth experts just like Jim that share an incredible track record maximizing growth and exit value for founder-led tech companies with at least $3M ARR that are “in the black” (profitable). If you’re wondering how to make your business worth SO MUCH MORE on the path towards acquisition, Jim & the Orchid Black team are a must.

The Necessity of a Re-Brand

In 2020, at the beginning of quarantine, Jim was well underway with his firm and began the process of re-branding his business to Orchid Black. Jim took the time throughout the lockdown to get in touch with his ideal customer profile (ICP). He found that he was gaining momentum in working with founder-led innovator companies, however, the current branding of his business at the time was not matching up with this buyer persona. 

“It was hard at first. We had built this brand that had a great reputation in Tampa and other areas and markets. But it became a necessary evil to work through and do a strategic rebrand that would align us with our ICP. […] After getting some customer feedback and some feedback from the market on how the new brand was resonating compared to the old story brand, it was a no brainer.” 


Finding Your Buyer Persona

Throughout the process of this re-brand, one of the first things Jim did – and the essential first step in understanding your business performance – was hone in on an ideal client and figure out how to speak to them.

Jim’s top three recommendations to get closer to understanding who your ideal buyer persona is:

  1. Talk to your customers – the ones that love you – and figure out why they love you!
  2. Next, figure out not just why they love you, but also why they are willing to pay you so much? Figure out what is happening in that particular customer journey to make it work so well and then double down on it.
  3. Ask for feedback from people who are not customers, as well. Customers know a lot about you and they see a lot of how you work, but there is value in getting a more objective opinion as well.

Scaling with a Growth Mentality

For Jim, finding people for your business who think differently than you and amplifying their strengths and ideas, while painful at times, is how you effectively execute a growth mentality for your company in order to scale.

“When you bring different minds to the table you can build on ideas. It doesn’t mean they are going to have a better idea than you, it means that they will have a different take on your idea and you will have a different take on their ideas and this will lead to evolution. This is what high-performing teams are; actually being a team.”


It’s Just Common Sense!

For Jim, so much of these growth and business sustainability pursuits can be boiled down to common sense. So why do so many people get it wrong?

“Because it’s simple. All the things that are simple in this world are the things that people complicate which makes everyone get it wrong […] It really boils down to common sense at the end of the day.”


Fast Five Favourites

At Common Sense Professional, we like to ask our guests a rapid-fire round of five questions to get to know their favourite things in the tech space right now. 

  1. Favourite tech or business tool you are using today? A CRM tool like HubSpot or Project Management tool like Monday, because they’re built for scale and built for growing companies. 
  2. Who is a company/person that does marketing fantastically? Hubspot 
  3. Favourite recent read? Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler, and anything by Strategyzer 
  4. Favourite sales strategy: BDR (business development representative) or SDR (sales development representative), as well as leveraging channel partners 
  5. Most important business result you measure your success by? Two things: happy customers and happy employees (these go hand in hand), as well as the value of the data that his business is getting. 


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