Results

5 Chaos Factors That Destroy Business Growth

Our clients achieve the results they want quickly and effectively

Working with the Ellen Dorian Group, Business owners and executives with a broad range of expertise and experience have addressed growth challenges, launched new divisions and lines of business, expanded services offerings and/or shifted their focus to higher revenue generating offerings.

Here are some of our success stories:

Case Studies:

General Contractor: Eastern Massachusetts

This general contractor had been in business 10 years and had built up to annual revenues consistently in the range of $1M to 1.5M, with little growth. The owner had hired a full time sales manager/project manager to meet with clients, assess their projects and deliver proposals.   The sales manager developed great relationships with prospects, but only closed 15-20% of the deals he proposed. He also tended to bring in many smaller projects instead of a few high-value ones, creating more work for the field team.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Grow the business revenues to meet the full capacity of the field team.
  • Determine how to increase the sales manager’s “close rate” and implement an action plan.
  • Improve the time management skills of both the owner and the sales manager
  • Increase market awareness of the company’s services
  • Create marketing communications to emphasize the firm’s work quality and professionalism

Coaching Plan:

  • Implemented full team sales training to improve both technique and results.
  • Developed the owner’s leadership skills to help him hold his team accountable for results.
  • Generated ideal project criteria to help focus the sales effort.
  • Put in place both systems and practices to improve efficiency.
  • Develop a long term hiring plan to support growth
  • Create a marketing program to emphasize the firm’s work quality and professionalism

Results:

  • Improved close rate from 20% to 45% of all proposals submitted
  • Reduced response time for proposals from average 4-5 weeks to new rate of 2 to 2 ½ weeks.
  • Increased value of contracts from the previous $60-120K to higher $125-400K projects
  • Updated the company website to showcase high-end completed projects.
  • Created print materials and a marketing kit for in person meetings.

New England Civil/Industrial General Contractor

This general contractor had embarked on a new line of business and created a new division. The company hired a former independent business owner to head up the new corporate division. This new division manager had extensive technical knowledge and experience. But, he was not functioning well as part of a larger team. He was outspoken, negative, and non-compliant, creating conflict and resentment throughout the organization. He was extremely intelligent and well-read, using intellectual sparring to deflect his manager’s attempts to help him fit in with the company culture. The division had lackluster revenues in its first year, and looked flat for the upcoming year.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Grow the division to self-sustaining levels within 12-18 months.
  • Make a decision about whether to invest in the person or terminate him.
  • Correct the negative behavior and attitude to end the disruption to other staff.
  • Help the manager understand and take advantage of the benefits of a team environment
  • Mentor the division manager to work with other key departments, such as accounting, contracts management, equipment management and safety.

Coaching Plan:

  • Find and address the underlying issues that were creating the manager’s negativity.
  • Ensure the manager understands that the company leaders valued his expertise and experience.
  • Focus the manager on company goals and resources to improve effectiveness
  • Find the most profitable and effective use of the manager’s strengths
  • Set the division up to be sustainable and profitable independent of the one division manager

Results:

  • Division revenues grew from $800K to $8 million in 18 months with a higher than expected profit margin.
  • We identified and improved the underlying assumptions that had led to the manager’s negative attitude and behaviors. Determined that these could not be corrected completely, but long-term executive coaching kept them in check.
  • We coached the manager on communication skills and interpersonal skills to better address challenges.
  • The manager integrated division business systems with the overall corporate processes and practices.
  • The corporate leaders reorganized the division to capitalize on the division manager’s technical strengths and training abilities.
  • The company hired a manager to oversee the business and personnel functions
  • The ongoing coaching engagement facilitated the division manager to document and transfer knowledge to others to ensure the continuity of the division for the long term.
  • The division manager voluntarily left the company 2 years later for another opportunity, but the division continued to prosper and deliver revenues through the management transition.

Construction Specialty Subcontractor

The owner of this subcontractor firm had been in the business his whole life, and had owned his own business for 12 years. He became successful very quickly early on, growing annual revenues to $5 million, but his business had stagnated in the previous 3 years before engaging a coach. This owner had been the one doing everything, making every decision, reviewing every proposal, solving every problem, for years. He was burned out and had become disengaged from the business. He was looking for a way to become energized again. He wanted a more dynamic company with more opportunity. He wanted his team to have a greater sense of accountability. He wanted to build the company to be self-sufficient, so that he could take time off when he wanted to without the business falling apart in his absence.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Create a sustainable business, with steady long term growth and an engaged team.
  • Find the right roles for existing family members in the business, while bringing in more dynamic outsider managers.
  • Develop a marketing strategy for the service division.
  • Foster a work environment that would increase loyalty and reduce turnover in the field.
  • Embrace a leadership role, find the passion to expand business opportunities, and become a thought leader in the industry.

Coaching Plan:

  • Get to the heart of the problems leading to the owner’s disengagement and resolve them. Review all business processes and systems to understand strengths and weaknesses.
  • Determine the best roles for family members in the business.
  • Create new roles for managers from outside the company to come in with new ideas and energy.
  • Focus marketing efforts on creating a steady pipeline of business for the service division.

Results:

  • Business owner achieved his goal of having time for outside interests, including civic activities and volunteer work… and golf.
  • Confronted the brutal facts of long-standing organizational problems and owner disengagement, including employee fraud and general complacency.
  • Headed off revenue decline and stabilized revenues.
  • Restructured the management team, limiting family members to their strongest roles.
  • Preserved family ties without sacrificing business growth/stability.
  • Created new, non-traditional management roles and brought in outside managers to fill them.
  • Instituted weekly management team meetings to increase accountability and engagement. This increased efficiency, close rates and lead generation.
  • Implemented new systems for job costing and project review. Discovered several “hidden” areas in which the company was consistently losing money, and corrected these.
  • Made marketing and business development a strategic focus for all coaching sessions, creating a consistent long term plan and implementation. This increased the pipeline for service work, increased the market awareness of the company, and put the owner in a more influential position within the industry.

Quotes:

“We all know that small business owners are our own worst enemies. Ellen is my coach because of her ability to straddle the line between personal counselor and business coach. Ellen helps me tackle the things I’d rather ignore (i.e. personnel issues), and keeps me focused on the strategic long-term goals. She has facilitated company meetings with great results during difficult times. She respects my somewhat unorthodox goals and methodologies. She facilitates my approach, offering advice and constructive criticism without pushing her own agenda. I highly recommend Ellen to any business person constantly struggling to find time for the big picture strategic focus that will propel them and their companies forward for the long-term.” – Greg Antonioli, CEO, Out of the Woods Construction, Inc.

“Ellen’s coaching has been nothing short of fantastic. She is always available to discuss issues that pop up, and helps keep us focused on growing our business. She does not impose her agenda. Instead, she listens to what our goals are, and advises us on how to reach them. A great trait for a business coach. Ellen has inspired us, kept us calm and focused during busy times and the results are showing. We have grown our business with the help of her coaching skills, and has been a big part of our success.” – Paul Yeaton, President, Hype Lab Marketing Consulting

“Ellen has an unbelievable number of creative marketing angles and program ideas for growing my business. She is extremely supportive and works with me from right where I am, to coax and inspire me to take risks. I have greatly professionalized my operation, expanded to include contracted assistants, and created several successful new programs. My business is far more than it might have been without Ellen in my corner.” – Anne Goodwin, President, Visible Results Home Staging and Organizing