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Small Business Success Stories – Bay Area

Visions to Excellence helps small professional firm in San Jose solve cash flow & employee retention problems, and hit sales targets
Our client was struggling to survive, but determined to do so, so they contacted us for help.

Problem:

  • Poor cash flow was delaying orders and payments.
  • High employee turnover was costing the company a lot of money and keeping the company from delivering on its promises to customers.
  • Sales were sluggish; competitors were eating the business’ lunch.

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

The business consulting process began with gaining an in-depth understanding of what was causing the problems. As part of this discovery process, we explored with the business owner the fit between his values and his goals to be sure they were in sync.

The cash flow problem was identified and we helped the business owner identify the changes that were needed to get the cash flowing again. Result: The solution was implemented, and within two weeks, cash flow started to improve significantly.

What was causing the employee turnover was two-fold: culture and pay structure. We guided the business owner in creating a new compensation plan that would motivate and reward employees for their performance; key employees’ compensation was tied to the growth and health of the company. Steps were also taken to foster a culture of team work and support. Result: Within six weeks, turnover was no longer a problem and employee morale improved. People were enjoying work again.

To get the sales engine going, we helped the business develop a challenging yet achievable growth plan with clear milestones. The new pay structure was designed in such a way as to motivate and reward the sales people. The plan included adding staff at the appropriate time to sustain growth. Result: The growth plan timeline was exceeded once the team was cohesive, and the firm moved into a larger facility to support their growth on time.

Business owner in Santa Cruz is finally able to achieve a healthy life-work balance—and increase sales!

This client is a business owner who runs a sales office staffed by two part-time outside consultants.

Problem:

  • Work was taking over his life; he was spending 50-65 hours per week working. He was feeling tired and frustrated by having little time and energy for anything else.
  • Despite the long hours, his operation wasn’t producing the sales he was looking for; close ratio was low

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

  • As we analyzed the strengths and weakness of the business, we saw that a very fundamental aspect was missing: our client didn’t have a clear vision for what he wanted from his business. We helped him create a mission and vision for the business that fit with his personal values (a lack of synchronicity will prevent a business from achieving its full potential). The vision included a clear statement of goals including sales targets and a plan to get there.

When we looked at the nitty-gritty of the business operation, we identified a great deal of inefficiency. We recommended a number of changes to streamline operations. We worked as a team with the owner to build and implement new systems and processes that automated time-consuming tasks:

  • Built a customer portal to gather client information needed to complete a sales transaction including a customer self-directed process for due diligence. This eliminated the need for personnel to hound the client for their documents and cut payroll expenses.
  • Eliminated an outside service and replaced it with a custom-designed process to fulfill the service purchased by the client.
  • Reduced the time spent on recruitment of contractors: developed a test for applicants who had to meet certain requirements before they were eligible for an interview.

Results:

  • The business owner gained a new lease on life. He was able to cut his work week to 40 hours and reduce operating expenses. The number of sales closed increased, boosting his annual income significantly to $400,000 per year. We call this worker smarter, not harder!

Business consulting helps healthcare provider to feel empowered and grow practice

Our client worked alone in her practice and was aware she needed office support.

Problem:

  • Cash flow poor
  • Lack of feeling empowered in the practice, office support needed
  • Client attrition

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

We worked with our client to clarify her values and vision for the practice. They were not in total alignment, which was holding her back from achieving more success in her practice and greater personal satisfaction. Through a series of conversations we were able to help her gain new insight into her values and practice.

We helped her create a detailed profile of the support person needed in the office and we coached her on how to interview. Result: She hired an employee who is meeting or exceeding all performance expectations and contributing to a positive environment in the office. Our client now feels supported and empowered in her practice.

We collaborated with the client on the development of marketing plan to attract new clients. Result: Attrition is down due to the support provided by the new office employee, and new client acquisition has increased along with annual income.

To cover the cost of training of the employee (a new expense), we found unique ways to lower overhead that included ____________________________________________. Result: An important process was developed and instituted within the practice providing on-going utility with no increase in budget.

East Bay contractor builds the right foundation for his business to reach $1M sales target

Our client, who employs eight full time employees, knew that in order to grow he needed to get his own house in order. With the economy strong in the Bay area, he saw a lot of opportunity for growth.

Problem:

  • Lack of basic systems to support business activities and employees, and support growth
  • Frontend of the business wasn’t getting the necessary support from the backend
  • Reliant on outside accounting service
  • More effective sales and training systems to increase client satisfaction

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

We began by helping the business owner shift his mindset shift from seeing himself as a builder to seeing himself as a business owner, business builder, and business leader.

To help build cohesion and morale among employees, we advised our client on holding team-building events to increase cohesion and morale among employees.

We worked closely with the business owner to develop and implement many new systems:

  • Established policies and procedures to ensure smooth operations
  • In four months, we trained an accounting function within the business, and cancelled outside service
  • Optimized cost accounting for jobs
  • Established an employee training and development plan
  • The identification and installation of a plug and play estimation system for the bid process

Results: 

The new systems increased the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. It is expected that business will be able to reach its sales goal of $1M in 2015 and that client satisfaction with the process and the completed product will be increased.

Visions to Excellence enables Santa Cruz insurance agency to revive

Our client was about to close his insurance agency with three employees.

Problem:

  • Lack of sales in 30-day period

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

Since I was their last ditch effort to save the situation, the timing was critical. We needed to generate improvement fast! We identified the issue that was the primary cause of the sales slump (WHAT WAS IT?) and proposed a rather drastic solution to turn the situation around.

Results:

It worked! Closing ratios increased from 2% to 10% within a couple of weeks and continued to rise to 25%-30% within 2 months.The doors are still open!

Interior decorator in Dublin recreates her business with our support

Our client suffered a devastating personal loss and had to pick up the pieces of the business.

Problem:

  • Rebuild the business while undergoing emotional stress

The Visions to Excellence Solution:

As we put plans in place to rebuild the business, our client became very excited and more confident as positive results were generated. However, the more we spent time together, the more it became apparent that our client’s emotional state needed to be addressed or the business goals that were being set could not be met.

Since Visions to Excellence is founded in the value of integrity, we were compelled to reach out and encourage our client to turn her focus to healing the loss that she and her entire family were still suffering from. We assured her that this would help her business in the long run, and that when she was ready, her business would flourish again. The healing process reuniting the family in a unique way; they moving out of state together and re-built their lives in a new environment. This business consulting experience was one of our most rewarding and we love to hear from our client who is enjoying her work again.