How I helped a group of 5 small businesses achieve an overall 30% increase in growth in 1 year.
(Back row, left to right: Nancy Wibben, Peter Hendrick, Cindy Hendrick, Helaine, and Wendy Walter. Front Row, left to right, Jane Erlich, Mary Ann Kristiansen (HGM Executive Director), Jennifer Runyon, and L P Runyon)
The Voice Of Clay
That Soap Guy
L P Runyon Company
HGM Development, Inc. commonly known as Hannah Grimes Marketplace, opened in 1997 in Keene NH to assist NH crafters, artisans and agricultural producers with their business and product development. They do this by providing workshops, seminars, one-on-one technical assistance and a retail store classroom to their over 275 members.
Their members range from successful manufacturers with national and international markets like Harrisville Designs and W.S. Badger Co., to a retired farmer making dovetailed jewelry boxes from lumber he harvests on his farm
In working with these businesses they have found that, for those most determined to grow, they need more specialized technical assistance than HGM-D has traditionally been able to provide. They need a higher level of more focused, in-depth assistance to help them solve increasingly more complex problems that are preventing them from expanding their businesses.
That’s where Path of Purpose Coaching comes in. Helaine was hired by HGM in the winter of 2005 to work with five pre selected, promising business owners to help them achieve success.
Client Goals and Challenges:
Each small business had been in operation anywhere from 1-4 years upon entry into the program. They all had experienced some level of success yet had many of the challenges common to entrepreneurs. In addition, each owner had it’s own personal life situations unique to them to be brought to the table.
At the end of twelve months, it was our goal that these five businesses had:
- Successfully identified and addressed at least three problems or opportunity areas
- Increased their sales at least 10% from the same time period for the previous year
- Created or retained an average of one additional job per business
- Increased the number of markets they are in
- Increased their profitability
What We Did:
Over the twelve months, Helaine met with the participants as a group once a month. Foundational business curriculum was covered such as business and marketing plans, financial analysis, time management, employees, operations, and leadership. There were group problem solving sessions as well with each business utilizing the collective wisdom and experience around the table to brainstorm and implement solutions.
In addition, each owner had four private coaching sessions each month with Helaine to implement action plans, and move through the challenges and wins that come up.
The highlights are:
- An average of 30% increase in sales
- 5 new jobs created
- Use of financial statements to guide in decision making
- Budgeting and strategic planning
- Business and Marketing Plans in use
- Increase in productivity
- Less stress and more satisfaction
Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the program:
“I went from having an out of control hobby, to being a business owner. One of the biggest problems with being a sole proprietor and only employee of my business is that there’s no one handy to bounce ideas and information off of. I don’t always have time for networking or appointments with experts. A huge advantage to coaching is having a person who sees the big picture.” Nancy Wibben, That Soap Guy
“My biggest issue until now has been disorganization. The weekly meetings and the group meetings have helped me create new systems and get organized. The results have been: I now have clearer vision at ALL times, I know what I need to maintain to reach my goals, I’m no longer disorganized, Problems still come up but I can identify them faster and build systems to deal with them.” Jennifer Runyon, Runyon Company
“The coaching provided accountability and support to follow through with necessary tasks, where I couldn’t before. The group meetings were powerful to witness because other businesses got coached on problems that are universal, so I benefited also. …Just by speaking out loud my thoughts, with someone engaged with me, helped me find my own solutions that were elusive before.” Wendy Walter, The Voice of Clay