By Eve Gumpel, California Business Journal
“A great brand works to create a natural barrier to competition. I spend my days working with clients to bring strategy and creativity together to bridge the gap between the logic and the magic.” — Alisa Marie Beyer
That philosophy is what prompted Alisa Marie Beyer to start her year-old company, LemonTree Partners, which helps her clients build high-performance brands and the teams that deliver the brand.
Beyer knows a thing or two about building high-performance brand and marketing teams. She’s built and sold five companies in her years as an entrepreneur. LemonTree Partners is her sixth company, and it capitalizes on everything she’s learned during what she describes as “a ride of tears, tantrums, troubles, successes, failures and good memories.”
Beyer’s previous five businesses:
When Coastal Salt & Soul was about to be acquired, Beyer gave serious thought to what came next. “I really took some time and thought about what has been best about the past. I decided it was all about my team.
“I wanted a company whose main service was a solution we provide to help other companies do what I’ve done in the past, which is to help clients to create brands that are irreplaceable in the hearts of consumers and help them build the teams to do it. At the end of the day, business is so much more than the sales and the products. It’s the people,” she says.
Reflecting on her own experience, she says, “I never would have built these companies without these incredible people. The goal is to get the right people on the bus – and then you have to figure out where everyone is supposed to sit.”
Beyer learned this lesson 12 years ago, while building her third company. “To say it was a hot mess is an understatement,” she says of AXM Swimwear, a designer swimwear company. “Employees were leaving, we were losing money. Everything that could go wrong went wrong.”
Baffled, she sought help.
The problem was that AMX had a broader range of employees than Beyer was used to, and she didn’t know how to work with them.
“I had very different people on the bus. I had factory workers, pattern makers, designers, creatives – and I was trying to manage them like I managed my ‘McKinsey’ kind of people,” she adds, referring to the global management consulting company.
With new insight, Beyer turned AXM Swimwear around. Some were asked to leave the bus. New people were added. Some people moved to different seats.
Bottom line, Beyer says, “I learned how to better manage all those people – to understand them better. And 18 months later we sold the company.”
Now Beyer helps other companies achieve the same results. Her promise to clients: “I will help you increase productivity, hire the right staff, reduce stress and increase workplace teamwork – in 30 days. Your brand managers will know and love their brand like never before!”
In order to work well together, brand and marketing teams have to understand the goal, Beyer says. “When you know what you’re supposed to achieve and get what your priorities are, then we can figure out if you’ve got all the right people on the team, managing and marketing your brand.”
Central to the philosophy is helping people determine what they are really good at. “Our mission is to motivate our clients to figure out who they are at their natural best. What are you good at? What’s important to you?” she says.
Jane Barwis has a longstanding relationship with Beyer. When she heard about LemonTree, she opted to take the company’s Cognitive Chemistry assessment. She was newly energized by the results.
“It reaffirmed that I’m doing what I should be doing. The environment, the type of work I do – being a consultant, working with clients and being a team builder – are right in my lane,” she says.
“The cool thing is the different experiences she’s bringing together,” Barwis says, from branding and marketing to building and leading teams. “Alisa has done it all. She’s been in the same seat as the clients she’s working with.”
According to Beyer, there are 25 core life and work skills. Among them are conflict management, negotiation and interpersonal communication. You can’t be good at more than 10 of them – and those top 10 things are what you should spend 80 percent of your day on.
The bottom five? “Please don’t do a job that requires them,” she says.
Beyer walks her own talk. She tells her staff, “If you’re not spending 80 percent of your day doing what you’re best at, then you need to march yourself into my office and have a conversation.”
Marina Randolph, Chief Operating Officer at 310 Nutrition and another longtime colleague, praises Beyer’s “get-it-done” attitude. “She can read a room very quickly, understand what’s going on and get to the meat – the source – of a branding or marketing problem,” providing tactics and execution to resolve the issue.
Randolph appreciates Beyer’s life lessons on prioritizing tasks to achieve work-life balance, having learned to delegate items of lesser importance so she can concentrate on life’s bigger, more complicated tasks.
Beyer starts an engagement by working with a company’s leadership and brand management teams. A team workshop follows, so members of the team understand one another. Then comes job benchmarking. She conducts assessments of the top people in a job category in order to create a benchmark. That benchmark is then used to rank prospective employees.
Her results are strong. Seventy-two percent of clients surveyed felt that workplace relationships improved after they went through Beyer’s process.
Beyer swears LemonTree is her final company. “Then I’m done – I’ll just play tennis all day,” she says with a laugh.
What Beyer loves most about her work life is watching her staff grow as people and set off on their own. “A lot of people who’ve worked for me now have their own companies, and that’s awesome.”
Beyer’s top three business tips:
Alisa Marie Beyer
4010 Sorrento Valley Blvd. #400
San Diego, CA 92121