CLIENT: COMMERCIAL GENERAL CONTRACTOR
ANNUAL SALES (2014): $4.8MM
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 15
Located near Atlanta, Georgia, the client had done excellent work and built a solid reputation over the past decade. But ownership was looking for increased growth and greater efficiency… and it wasn’t happening.
The client’s future growth was hampered by a limited client base: 90% of all projects and revenues were coming from the University of Georgia (UGA). In addition, there were few standard company policies and procedures in place, and their financial strategy needed an overhaul. Finally, the clients basic two-page website did nothing to enhance the company profile.
In 2015, this client engaged Ascent Consulting on a complex, three-phase project to solve these challenges and put the client on a firmer footing for expansion. Working closely with the client, Ascent’s efforts delivered powerful results in three project areas:
• Business Development
• Internal Operations
• Financial Controls
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS AND RESULTS
Broadening the company’s client base beyond UGA was imperative for growth.
I. Expanding the Base
STEP 1: Research
Ascent researched and developed extensive contact information for two vertical markets: Education and Restaurant-Retail. Education: Ascent researched all school districts, school boards and educational groups.
Education: Ascent researched all school districts, school boards and educational groups within an 80 mile radius of Athens. A strategic marketing list was developed with contact names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and key personnel from every pre-school, pubic school, private school and higher education facility.
Restaurant-Retail: Ascent identified contacts at property and retail development companies within a 100 mile area around Atlanta, home to many corporations. A strategic marketing list was developed with contact names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and key personnel in the retail-restaurant vertical market.
STEP 2: Marketing Materials
Ascent created a broad array of marketing materials, both hard copy and digital, to support initial contact and continued follow-up with prospective clients. These included slick sheets designed specifically for each of the vertical markets, as well as Request for Proposal (RFP) templates and a professional presentation folder.
As part of the overall marketing campaign, Ascent was also closely involved with sales coaching, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, blogs and more.
STEP 3: Website
Ascent designed and developed a full-featured website, complete with a project portfolio, testimonials and client interviews. Today, a prospective client of the company can view the website and enjoy a wide range of photos and detailed descriptions of the completed projects for all verticals. What was once a very limited site is now eye-catching, informative and easy to navigate.
Step 4: Results
Sales – The client’s gross sales were 40% higher in 2015 over 2014. It is projected that 2016 gross sales will exceed 2015 by at least 20%.
Contacts – The client enjoyed a massive increase in contacts. Ascent generated over 50 educational contacts within the geographic area. On the commercial side, Ascent delivered information and contacts for over 40 architects and property developers that work in the restaurant and retail sector.
“They helped us develop a modern looking and useable website, and a solid marketing and business development strategy utilizing the most up to date tactics.”
II. Developing and Formalizing Internal Operations
Formalizing internal processes was critical to increasing efficiency and productivity within the clients company.
The client was lacking a standard operating manual, so Ascent stepped in and created a comprehensive manual with instructions on how to perform key processes at the company.
Ascent designed financial procedures with built-in checks and balances to protect the company from fraud. Midway through this internal operations process, the client switched from Foundation software to Sage 300. Ascent played a key role in this conversion.
Ascent was closely involved in developing all hardcopy and electronic versions of policies, procedures and operation manuals, as well as a structured training and implementation program.
Step 3: Results
Productivity and efficiency increased significantly by bringing all team members into the process. As an outcome of this project, formalized policies and procedures resulted in a 40%+ increase in the workload capacity that could be effectively managed by the existing staff.
III. Company Financials
(Cost Control Strategies)
A critical need existed for CFO-style assistance with company financials.
Ascent performed a complete audit of existing financial positions, documents and reports, including an analysis of current and prior year operating budgets and expenses.
Ascent provided strategies to the client for financial cost reductions. These included selecting new vendors and setting up vendor accounts instead of using credit cards. Ascent recommended revolving credit strategies for better payment terms and lower interest rates. Ascent also helped the client research and select several new service providers.
Step 3: Results
Strategy recommendations from Ascent were designed to cut the client’s annual operating costs and overhead budget by over 10 percent.
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This three-part project was scheduled to be completed in a year; it took nine months.
“As construction industry experts, we found Ascent’s ability to focus on core issues of each project, collect and organize supporting information, and steer us in the right direction to be invaluable in helping us upgrade our operations.”