CLIENT: E-TEC COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR
OWNER/PRESIDENT: BJ THOMAS
ANNUAL REVENUE(2017): $1.2 MILLION
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 11
Located in East Point, GA, E-TEC had earned an excellent reputation as a commercial electrical contractor. However, by 2015 growth had slowed and the business was at a critical juncture.
After growing E-TEC to $800,000 in revenues by 2015, Owner BJ Thomas was feeling seriously overwhelmed. Swamped by an endless array of details and unwilling to delegate, he was quickly losing passion for his business. Employee morale was plummeting and finding quality time for family was getting tougher every day. BJ was thinking of getting out.
ASCENT STEPS IN
In early 2016, BJ enrolled in Ascent’s Executive Coaching Program. “Ascent came to my office, we talked, and I thought, ‘This program can help me,’” BJ recalled. And it did. He and Adam Cooper, President of Ascent, met twice a month for eight months. The results exceeded BJ’s expectations.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS AND RESULTS
FIXING A STRUGGLING BUSINESS
Ascent’s coaching program focuses on personal development for leaders which ultimately benefits the individual as well as the organization.
STEP 1: Hire An Administrator
It was obvious to Ascent that E-TEC needed an administrator to handle the tasks that were stealing his time. At first BJ was reluctant. “I can’t afford to add an administrator.” But through a series of exercises, Ascent showed him that he couldn’t grow without adding more resources, and it made sound financial sense.
Ascent helped BJ recruit, interview and hire the right administrator, and also recommended new operational software which further increased capacity and allowed BJ to delegate.
STEP 2: Learn to Delegate
For a hands-on manager like BJ, letting go of tasks was tough, but Ascent guided him through. They examined and determined which tasks BJ should handle and which to delegate. It wasn’t easy for BJ: “I kept thinking, ‘Can I trust anybody else with that job or task?’” Ascent’s philosophy was simple – if you train your people properly and they’re competent, leave them to it and monitor their performance.
STEP 3: Management Turnaround
With Ascent’s coaching, BJ’s management style did a 180. Previously he looked at his people simply as workers and didn’t enjoy ‘dealing’ with them and their personal problems. “Ascent taught me how to communicate with them as a leader, and showed me that we were on the same team,” he recalled.
STEP 4: Listening to His Team
Armed with a new attitude and tools for communication, BJ began listening to his team members. He quickly realized they also wanted the company to expand, but he had been the bottleneck to growth. His employees told him, “You want to do everything yourself! Let us help you.”
STEP 5: Taking Ownership
This new leadership style and operational method have produced stunning results. Both sales and profits have increased, employees are happier, morale is soaring and everybody is taking ownership. It’s a new day at E-TEC, and people who don’t buy in, don’t last long.
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Ascent’s Executive Coaching Program helped deliver results across the board at E-TEC:
- Increased sales: Sales in 2016 jumped to $1.2 million after averaging between $600,000- $800,000 for several years.
- Greater profitability: Net profits at E-TEC increased ~10% for 2016.
- Expanded client base: BJ reported that E-TEC’s existing customer base grew by over 25%. In addition, the company is targeting major projects that BJ previously did not feel comfortable handling. For example, he recently took on a quarter million dollar Walmart remodel that he would not have considered before Ascent’s program. “I would have found all kinds of reasons and excuses to avoid this project – but no more.”
- Improved employee morale: “Internal communications are very strong today,” said BJ. “We have open lines of communications, and there are no longer any assumptions. Everything is transparent between me and my staff.”
- Enhanced family time: “I used to work every weekend,” BJ explained. “But that’s a rarity now.”
Looking back on the experience, BJ Thomas says, “If anyone feels stuck in their business and doesn’t know how to move forward, Ascent’s program will help you get there, if you’re willing to do the work and take the coaching. It worked for me.”