Here’s the thing about going on a journey: You never know exactly how long it’ll take to get to your destination. Steve Martin and John Candy rode planes, trains and automobiles to make it home. Dorothy eased on down the Yellow Brick Road to get to Oz. The Griswolds drove the family truckster to Walley World. And every one of them dealt with unexpected challenges – and pleasant surprises – along the way that impacted the speed with which they traveled.
Add Bellmont Partners to the list. While we started our journey 27 years ago at a fairly leisurely pace, we’ve been on a particularly healthy growth track since the pandemic. And now we can finally see why the soles of our shoes are smoking: We’ve been recognized on this year’s MSPBJ Fast 50 list as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Twin Cities.
It’s the first time we’ve been named to the list; we found out we ranked 35th at a fabulous event at U.S. Bank Stadium last night. Our whole team has been keenly aware of how our recent growth spurt has impacted the agency, and the award is a tangible reminder of why everything has felt accelerated lately. Life in the fast lane has taken some getting used to, but the ride is starting to feel less bumpy.
Our mantra since we opened our doors in 1996 has been “measured growth,” and for most of our run we’ve strolled down that fairly comfortable path. We’ve tried to look before we leaped and have taken great pains to store nuts for the winter (or, as it turned out, the pandemic). Over the past nearly three decades, we’ve been fortunate not to have to lay anyone off, and we’ve always been profitable – although sometimes, in the early and middle years, just barely.
But the pandemic was an inflection point for us. Like nearly every other business, we took some painful blows when COVID hit: Six clients peeled off over those first frightening days. But the ship eventually righted itself, due mostly to our ability to pivot by providing our clients with the deep, senior communications counsel their businesses needed to navigate the pandemic, as well as the strong relationships we’ve forged along the way. Suddenly, all the years of building an incredibly talented team, forging relationships in the industries we serve, expanding our capabilities and delivering award-winning work intersected with a new and exciting set of opportunities on the horizon. We decided to leap.
And we’re glad we did. Since the pandemic, we’ve felt a wind at our backs. What prospects, clients and job hunters are seeking now aligns more than ever with who we are and what we do: help innovative, growth-focused organizations leverage communications strategy to solve their most complex business challenges. Today, we’re collaborating with organizations from Mall of America to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, DigiKey to the City of Duluth, and more medical device and med-tech clients than ever. We’ve nearly doubled in size since 2020, from 15 to 28 people and counting, not to mention a deep bench of partner agencies and independent specialists. We’ll likely cross the line into a $5 million agency next year. We have more resources, more opportunities and more excitement around what the future may hold.
I wholeheartedly believe our people-focused approach is what’s gotten us this far, and has allowed us to continue to thrive during this sometimes stressful period of fast growth. Our team has built, honed and maintained a strong culture over the years, and it continues to pay off every day. Our turnover rate is mind-blowingly low, particularly in our industry. We’ve won nine best workplaces awards over the past five years, including multiple Best Places to Work from the Mpls./St. Paul Business Journal and multiple national Best Workplaces by Inc. Magazine, all based on feedback from our team.
You’ve likely heard the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Especially lately, we’ve definitely gone fast, but our focus has always been to go far – and to accomplish that, we’ve done it together. I can’t think of a group of people I’d rather be on this journey with – no matter how fast we go.