Our client approached us with a common problem. They had grown fast over the last few years and had admittedly promoted employees to management and assigned responsibilities out of necessity and in haste vs. in a well thought out and controlled manner. Most departments were working well enough to get by but one in particular had multiple issues including a huge accounts receivable and a 37% application error rate.
Capacity interviewed employees and managers, reviewed polices and procedures, and applied problem solving methodologies to determine the cause of the problem and a potential solution. Of course part of our assignment was to fix the problems and keep the manager since he was well respected by the owners.
Our findings revealed the manager was capable but simply being asked to focus on too many priorities. We quickly identified a new procedure and identified an employee who knew the most about the application process and had management potential. We re-organized the department by creating separate applications and accounts receivable departments. The new manager was given management training and the original manager was left to focus on accounts receivable.
After only one month, the error rate was reduced to 0% where it remained. The new manager thrived in her new role and became a valuable asset to the company. The old manager was okay with the change and successfully got the accounts receivable into line. The elimination of fines generated by the erroneous applications and the improved collections more than paid for the new manager’s salary. Increased customer and vendor satisfaction increased improved profits even more.
A brilliant entrepreneur wanted to start a contractor/homeowner matching website where homeowners could find contractors that had been back ground checked as part of their membership. Never having built or worked in the web space, he needed help with every aspect of his idea.
Capacity was engaged to do a full feasibility study, business plan, and marketing plan. The feasibility study turned up a few important issues. There were some big competitors but the addressable market was so large there was room for dozens more. There was exit potential with many companies scooping up anyone who got any traction in this space. We learned it was a very tough business and would rely on a call center dedicated solely to enticing contractors to join.
Understanding the others were successful with call centers, the entrepreneur decided to try and build a site that would be more appetizing to contractors and only need some normal marketing. After building a beautiful website and doing some test marketing it was clear the call center was indeed needed.
Despite needing one million dollars and knowing lack of sales would be a tough road, we were asked to create “pitch” materials for presentations to venture capital companies and angel investors.
Armed with these the entrepreneur got the man who built the competitors most profitable center on his team. He got the best venture capital law firm to represent him. He got friends and family to invest. But the classic catch 22 of needing money for sales people and no one giving it to you until you have sales… had its way.
We always preach to “trust the plan” but sometimes entrepreneurial spirit just can’t be held down or reasoned with. The site is still live and when the economy improves the entrepreneur plans to have another attempt at it. We wish him the best of luck and know he has the materials to pull it off!