Kansas City, Mo. – One area startup has found a way to topple the barriers holding back small businesses in Kansas City, and now it’s rising to meet demand, with new hires, key promotions, an expanded office and the launching of a sister company.
Crux KC (Crux) merges executive-level marketing and business strategy to provide a simple, smart and affordable marketing solution for clients. Since launching in 2016, Crux has grown from just two clients and one full-time employee to 15 clients and a team of nine (6 FTEs and 3 part-time contractors). The company observed a 660% growth over 2016 revenue in 2017, an additional 42% growth over 2017 revenue in 2018, and on track to realize another 40% growth in 2019.
To meet that surge of growth, Crux has transformed its team structure this year with two key hires and a pivotal promotion:
- Ryan Hembree joins Crux as VP of Client & Creative Development. With more than 20 years of professional experience, Ryan will continue to grow Crux’s book of business through client development and creative leadership. Prior to joining the Crux team, Hembree built, operated and sold Indicia Design, Inc., a successful brand and marketing firm of 16 years, working with more than a hundred clients throughout the Kansas City region and beyond.
- Matt Smithmier was promoted to VP of Content Development, ensuring the consistent and exceptional communication synonymous with Crux’s brand for all of its clients. With a background in journalism, Smithmier has led internal public relations and marketing teams, worked with outside vendors to build brands, and served as managing editor for a publishing company, leading writers, editors and designers in the creation of nationally distributed magazine titles and online content.
Founder and CEO Melea McRae said she created Crux’s hybrid model of outsourcing based on the premise that there had to be a better way to service the marketing needs of small-to-mid-sized businesses. The fractional model has resonated with business leaders, who realize they no longer need to invest in pricey full-time talent and traditional ad agencies, and McRae is determined to replicate this success on the sales side with Crux’s sister company Crux-Xcelerate.
Crux-Xcelerate provides fractional chief sales officer (CSO) services to emerging and small businesses seeking sales leadership, strategy and execution. The company, founded in January 2019, is the brainchild of McRae and Rick Kahle, former president of Lockton’s Kansas City Employee Benefits Office. Clients will also have the opportunity to bundle their sales and marketing to amortize cost and reduce risk, instantly doubling their value.
With all of these changes internally, McRae has doubled the Crux office in the Crossroads, adding conference meeting spaces, a lounge area and additional work stations.
“Our growth and restructuring are a direct result of our successful fractional model and our thriving culture, which revolves around our clients and the work product we create,” McRae said. “Our core values as a team center around trust, accountability, collaboration, respect and an unrelenting spirit. With these core values as our true north, Crux will continue to prosper.”
About Crux KC
Founded in 2016, Crux KC is Kansas City’s “un-agency,” merging executive-level marketing and business strategy to provide a simple, smart and affordable marketing solution for our clients. Because when you’re a business leader looking for growth, you’d rather just get to the point. Crux is your in-house marketing department—outsourced. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Learn more at cruxkc.com.
Founded in January 2019, Crux-Xcelerate provides a different approach to sales, delivering fractional chief sales officer (CSO) services to emerging and small businesses seeking sales leadership, strategy and execution. Moving forward requires a little speed, and smart business leaders know when to put the pedal down. Learn more at crux-xcelerate.com.