Cindy Marion has been a Houston entrepreneur for more than thirty years, founding MMI Agency in 1986 with two of her colleagues. During that time, the Houston economy was not great, but that’s exactly what gave Cindy the courage to set out on her own venture to start with.
She knew that if this new business failed, they could blame it on the economy. However, if they started their own deal and succeeded throughout those hard times, then they could surely make it through anything.
For thirty-two years, Cindy has worked to build Houston’s third-largest marketing and advertising agency, which she recently sold in 2018. While she is no longer affiliated with the firm, she laid the groundwork for this reputable and trusted agency to carry on without her.
Her story is an excellent example of how MGA can step in to help business owners make the complex simple—from managing rapid growth to preparing for the complex sales process.
The Values Cindy Instilled in MMI Agency from Day One
Cindy says their goal and objective from the start of this entrepreneurial venture was to represent clients who had a great product and cared about their customers.
She believes that you can do all the marketing and advertising that you want, but if you don’t honestly meet the needs of your customers, you’re not going to be a successful business owner. Because of that, MMI Agency began to choose their customers very carefully by partnering with businesses that really do enhance the wellbeing of their customers.
That was the groundwork that Cindy and her colleagues laid for MMI. They’ve always focused on providing unquestionable value for their clients by delivering real, documented results.
How MGA Supported Cindy and MMI Agency Through Rapid Growth and a Successful Sales Process
When MMI Agency grew too large for the CPA firm they were using, they began to look elsewhere for accounting services. Cindy was recommended to Brian Miller, Partner at MGA, and ultimately decided it was a good fit.
They understood the issues that Cindy and her business were facing, as MMI was in a very high growth mode at the time. There were a lot of moving pieces and a lot of fast-paced kind of decisions that needed to be made. Cindy tells us that she felt very supported through that process with Brian and the MGA team.
In 2014 when MMI started looking at their five-year plan, Cindy knew those five years needed to include an exit strategy for her. Her two business partners had sold out of the business years before, and with the many changes in the market place and industry, she felt it was time for her to do the same.
From there, MMI turned their focus toward building on the technology, talent, and clients that would appeal to potential buyers—always looking for a win for employees, clients, and the buyer. Presenting the financial history of the company in ways that were easy to understand and appealing to the needs in creating a win/win/win involved and required expertise from those who had been through this before. That’s why MGA was the selected partner. They set specific goals for their leadership team and focused on establishing a clear path for the next phase ahead. Cindy describes to us how challenging it was, stating that change is hard for everyone—even leadership teams.
MGA was there to support Cindy with the complex sales process, helping to make sure the agency was properly poised to be bought by a bigger entity. “There were a lot of moving pieces, and MGA worked with me to help me understand the pros and cons of each deal point and what was in my best financial interest. Ultimately, some decisions had to be made, and MGA gave me the tools and insight to make the decisions that I felt were best.”
Cindy tells us that the MGA team was very instrumental in helping make sure the agency was appropriately structured for the sale. And as the deal took place, MGA was right there as Cindy needed resources, support, or knowledge.
“Firms like MGA are very personal and passionate about their clients, and I think that's something that can be missing in service businesses. I never felt uncomfortable admitting what I didn't know or challenging what I did know with the team. I feel very good about what MGA is doing here, related to building a firm that cares about its clients.” — Cindy Marion
MGA Can Make the Complex Simple for You Too
Just like Cindy, we are here for our clients no matter what challenges they are currently facing in their business. We can quickly come on board and help manage rapid growth. We are also able to support business owners as they plan to sell their great companies.
Whatever situations you are facing, we have likely coached another client through it or walked through it ourselves here at MGA. And if we don’t have the answers, we promise that we will find it for you. We are your partners and trusted advisors, working to solve your complex needs as they arise.
If you are going through some business changes yourself and are looking for someone to call for support, we are here and ready when you are.