Case Studies
Secrets of America’s Most Successful Companies benefits all types of businesses.
Consulting Firm

The Company
Tom and Ed had worked together at a well known national firm. They became good friends and a natural team. Tom was a great sales guy and Ed a well respected industry expert. So when they quit to start their own firm no one was surprised.

After a rough couple of months they landed a flagship client and were off to a strong start. Within a year they were making more money than they ever had before and started to expand by bringing on some former colleagues and friends. New office space soon followed.

The Hidden Barrier

It started to become clear that Ed, although a seasoned industry veteran, was not very good at follow-up. Soon a critical deadline was missed. And folks who reported to Ed began to complain about being "micro-managed."

To make matters worse, margins were shrinking, and the financial statements always seemed to have "surprises." The worst of these was a cash shortage that forced the partners to use their credit cards to cover a payroll.

Things came to a head one Friday afternoon when Tom got a call from their flagship client. They were pulling the account.

Once they started implementing the Secrets of America's Most Successful Companies things began to change quickly. Factor 4: "Manage the Process and Outcomes" was the first to be addressed. Factor 3: "Focus on Financials" was next.

Within six months it felt like a completely different place. Responsibilities were reassigned, and key outcomes were monitored and posted each week. Profitability was the highest it had ever been (up over 50%) and financials were on time and accurate.

Probably the best thing was the impact on the partners. Ed was free to be the "guru" and his reputation was growing each month. Tom no longer worried that if he sold an account it might be mishandled. And the sweetest part was that they got their flagship client back.

Remodeling company
The Company
Curt started his business out of necessity. After being laid off for the third time he felt that he could no longer rely on other people. So he printed a business card and got a sign for his pick up. He was in business.

It took a couple of years, but business started to pick up. Susan, Curt's wife, did the books and took the calls. He hired a friend and then another and soon he had three crews working.

The Hidden Barrier
"We have no life." That’s now Curt described it. He and Susan felt like they were prisoners of their own business. Every waking moment was consumed with details and problems, customers and paperwork, issues and complaints.

The hardest part seemed to be getting good employees. The competition was fierce and quality mediocre. They were afraid to let anyone go for fear of being unable to replace them.

Sometimes Curt felt like it had been a mistake to start the business in the first place. Does it have to be so hard?

"I wish I had done it years ago," Curt lamented. "I guess I felt that I would be admitting failure. Boy was that a mistake."

Within three months of starting the Secrets of America’s Most Successful Companies Curt had in place a new approach to managing projects. Within six months the average size of new projects had increased by 93%. Profitability was up by almost 70%.

The biggest difference though was in Curt’s outlook. "My company used to feel like a weight pressing down on me. "Now," he smiles, "it’s fun again."
It started out as a part time effort. Acquire a few properties, rehab them, and then rent them out. Alan and Tim first kept their daytime jobs. They were busy but having a blast.

Over time it began to take on a life of its own. A few friends wanted to invest. The projects became larger. The "day jobs" became a distraction.

The first few years went very well. It was busy but manageable. Over time their reputation began to grow, and more deals came their way. The development and property management firms split into separate entities.

The Hidden Barrier
The problems weren't apparent at first. Everyone seemed to be doing their job well. Then one day it broke.

Edith, the accountant had been stuffing invoices in a drawer. The calls from vendors had been juggled or ignored. That it could have gone on for so long was almost beyond belief. But it had.

Was she embezzling? After weeks of investigation the outside accountant thought not. But the damage was done. It would take months to clean up the mess.

The Secrets of America’s Most Successful Companies had a dramatic impact. Within a couple of months the whole tone of management meetings changed. Rather than reviewing individual properties and their issues the team was now looking at overall trends. Managers were taking real responsibility for identifying and resolving issues on their own and not just "doing what they were told."

Results were tracked in real time and posted for everyone to see. The impact on financial performance was dramatic. After six months, revenue was up over 15% and expenses down by 5%. The result was a 109% increase in profitability. And cash was also flowing in much faster as well.

Not too surprising, the owners were thrilled. They were no longer afraid of "nasty surprises." And while they were putting in fewer hours they felt more in control.
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