Progress Report: Getting Back to the Core Business

How Platinum is growing a company’s top-line revenues after it hit a plateau.

Situation

A custom sign manufacturer had experienced five years of non-revenue growth and a slowly shrinking workforce. Owned by the founder, his two sons and one non-family member, the business was operating at near break even with available financial resources, but desperately needed top-line revenue growth. Its traditional business, architectural signage, had been largely ignored in favor of running after industry trends that faded all too quickly.

Challenges

  • Owners are operational people with limited marketing or sales expertise.
  • The one outside salesperson had minimal direction, no sales strategy, and poor collateral materials.
  • There were no business or financial plans nor agreement on strategy.

Solution

Platinum was named CEO and defined roles and accountabilities for each of the owners. After a brief due diligence process, it was apparent the owners knew the manufacturing side of the business well and provided “high touch” to their customers. The owners were guided into focusing sales on high payback areas and expanding the company’s presence in its core business. This prompted greater targeting of customers — architects who specify custom signage for their client projects. Platinum brought a strong marketing/sales approach into a well-established customer service culture. To market the company’s key points of differentiation — the ability to take signage from concept to design, production and installation — a more sophisticated selling package was developed to show off expertise, experience and areas of distinction. An inside salesperson was moved to outside sales to double the efforts in building relationships with architects.

Results

Four months into the new sales strategy, the company’s name recognition was rising and new marketing materials were playing well with architects, who were now specifying the company in their new bid proposals. The owners have readily accepted new roles, and their interpersonal relationships have improved dramatically. Next steps included establishing a more detailed business plan and financial model. With top-line revenues to grow by 30 percent in the following year, the company was getting set to quintuple revenues in three years.

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