Finding Where Goals and Resources Intersect | Non-Profit Case Study

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”  ~ Japanese proverb In business, as in life, resources are limited; and few organizations feel the squeeze of resources quite like non-profits and associations. Unfortunately, the vision and goals of such organizations are often developed in strategic planning processes without ever considering the biggest barrier to success: the available resources in which to achieve these goals. If you don’t heavily consider resources when making plans, you risk having your visions defeated by resource reality. It is a very common tale. 97% of companies say they are not successful at implementing and executing their … [Read more...]

Reducing Employee Turnover in a Digital Marketing (SEO) Agency

Employee retention rate is a critical measure in any business. While turnover is normal, there comes a point where losing too much of your talent to other companies should cause concern. Furthermore, even if you realize that your retention rate is far lower than it should be, how do you go about fixing it? Diagnosing what is causing your turnover is no easy feat. Challenge: George and Taylor are partners running a small digital marketing & SEO agency, Digital Third Coast. They realized that their employee turnover was too high and it was costing them. George and Taylor would attract talent and begin to build a strong team with excellent training in digital skills. But just a … [Read more...]

Pushing Past Stagnation and Improving Revenue | Commercial Food Supply Case Study

“It’s been a loooong year.” As a business owner, does that sound like you? You’ve probably thought this after you realize that you’re ending the year exactly where you started. No matter what you try in order to grow your business, improve operations, or engage your team - everything goes wrong and your situation goes from bad to worse. What’s more, you don’t know why whatever you touch has the opposite effect of your goal. You focus on sales and then lose your current client roster. A new operations plan wreaks havoc on production. Nothing you think of works. What then? No matter what you try, your business operations just can’t thrive. You’re exhausted. You’re employees are … [Read more...]

Managing the chaos of growth | Marketing Agency Case Study

You’ve achieved almost everything you dreamed of... Things have really taken off in your business. You land new clients regularly, referrals are coming in, and your revenue is increasing. You’re able to hire and you lead a small team of talent to help manage your growing client base. Everything should be great! But reality sets in. Despite the increase in clients, your profit margins aren’t matching. You can’t afford to bring on more talent to help with the extra workload, but you can’t put it all on the team you have. So you work longer and longer days; twelve hours at the office have become your norm, six, even seven days a week. With each new client, that workload increases, and … [Read more...]

Updating Marketing Strategies and Turning Around a Team | Leadership Transition Case Study

When the digital marketing age is moving faster than you and your team can adapt, how do you know what needs change in order to remain competitive? Paul Metz, Executive Vice President and Partner of C+R Research knew that their marketing strategy needed drastic updates as bigger and better projects were seemingly out of grasp. He knew they were missing critical pieces of the digital marketing puzzle that could take the firm to the next level, but wasn’t sure where to start. Challenge: Because C+R Research had earned a great reputation over its 50 year history they had survived and grown through just referrals and reputation. Yet the partners were worried; progress and growth was not … [Read more...]

Helping a Youth Organization Mature through Strategic Planning | Not-for-Profit Strategic Planning Case Study

The DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau (YSB) is a nonprofit 501 c3 organization that has provided counseling, groups, and other supportive services to adolescents and their families for more than 40 years. Its clientele have been identified as at-risk and typically are from low-income households. Challenge YSB's story was typical of so many nonprofits out there - they were trying to fulfill a great need for service with limited funding. For 42 years, the organization managed to keep up with a growing number of clients (a 325 percent increase during a 10-year period) until the economy crashed in 2008. Jason Nicol, Executive Director, explained, "At that point, we lost 25 percent of … [Read more...]

Establishing a Reusable Sales Process | Sales Process Case Study

Recycling Services (RSI) develops, implements and services office paper recycling programs in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Capitalized with $10,000 in 1984, David Levinson and Michael Finn formed the company to respond to the growing solid waste problem in Illinois by making recycling services available to businesses and the general public. Now in its 25th year, Recycling Services operates a 40,000 square-foot recycling plant located on the southwest side of Chicago, where it processes over 9,000 tons of secondary fiber per month. The company employs 50 people. Challenge Since opening RSI in 1984, Levinson and Finn grew their company organically and through strategic … [Read more...]

Plan Provides ‘Safe Haven’ For Organization

RefugeeOne (formerly Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries, or IRIM) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that provides a full range of services to refugees and immigrants resettling in the Chicago metropolitan area. Every year, RefugeeOne assists more than 3,000 refugees (approximately 600 are new each year) and immigrants from around the world to find housing, learn English, acclimate to American culture, develop computer and other employable skills, find jobs, obtain medical and other care, access the public school system for their children, apply for citizenship, and obtain care for elderly family members. RefugeeOne's programs are made possible through the dedicated efforts … [Read more...]

Moving In The ‘Write’ Direction

Write On Command is a writing, editing and project management business based in Springfield, Illinois. Owner Bridget Ingebrigtsen leads a team of writers, editors and VAs who assist small-business owners with their projects. Challenge In 1998, Bridget Ingebrigtsen started working as a freelance writer and editor after leaving her full-time job as an editor in the not-for-profit industry. With a newborn daughter at home, Bridget needed more flexibility and felt she could make a good living as a freelancer. "I had jobs coming in here and there; nothing consistent, but the jobs were coming in," Bridget said. "I made money, but I never thought it could sustain me or provide a lasting and … [Read more...]

Breeding A Healthy Business

AnimalSense is a Chicago-based dog training and behavior company. The company offers group classes, private lessons, behavioral consultations, an academy to teach dog training, as well as a host of special educational and dog-centered programs to enhance the lives of people and their pets. Challenge As the owner of a dog-training and behavior company, Jamie Damato was doing what she loved to do - work with animals and with fellow dog-lovers. But, her job wasn't all fun and games. There was the not-so-fun part - the business side - that was dragging her down. Her entrepreneurial mind was always going, making her venture into new territory without first thinking it through thoroughly. "I … [Read more...]