A 34-year-old wife and mother, working from her home, founded this Company in 2004. Her husband was transferred to Houston having been originally from Connecticut. She could not find catering or rental services to provide original decorative table linen, for her personal use, under $300. An idea was born. With her sewing machine, she decided to try to build a limited inventory of linens to rent for party tables and chairs. By using word of mouth and making cold-call contacts with catering firms and hotels, it became a business.
Four years later, the Owner's business had grown to $700,000 in annual revenues, and they had moved to a 3500+ sq. ft. office/warehouse complex. In 2009, the Owner had "maxed out" and was rushing to find larger space. The Owner did not understand the warehouse market, and did not now specific requirements or size needed for the new facility. This is when a Silver Fox Advisor was called.
SILVER FOX ADVISOR INVOLVEMENT
The Silver Fox Advisor was engaged in April 2009 and performed a current Company assessment. From data available, a projection was made, concluding with 5-year requirements. It was determined that a minimum of 9,000 sq. ft. to 11,000 sq. ft. of space was required. Because the business was growing fast, one requirement was to increase the capacity and speed of the laundry processing within the existing facility. This was resolved by establishing two 8-hour shifts during peak months of May-June, and November-December. In addition, the development of a product flow chart helped define space allocations for specific job requirements. Available facilities were located nearby and a move was executed in June of 2009. Simultaneously, efforts to project staffing, inventory, and machinery requirements were underway to provide a clear business plan for growth through 2014.
In September 2009, it was time for the Owner to execute the new business plan without close guidance. By December 2010, the business had grown to $2,000,000 in annualized revenues, with another level of growth to contemplate. The Silver Fox Advisor re-entered to assist with engineering methods to expand into national sales. Plans have now been formulated and are being executed for a 2011 result of $2,500,000. A revised business plan now targets $10,000,000 in 5 years.
Building a senior management team is underway. The Silver Fox Advisor's role during this phase is to be a sounding board by challenging thoughts and processes before action is taken, review the results after action, and provide management training when and where needed. The Silver Fox Advisor was working with an exceptional Owner and Leader. The Silver Fox Advisor played a supporting role and will help make the Owner's goals achievable.
This Case Study confirms an important lesson:
A good Mentor must permit the Entrepreneur to fly "solo," while monitoring his/her progress. The opportunity for the Entrepreneur to learn from his/her mistakes, and then working through those situations, builds self-confidence.
This company is one example of what an Entrepreneur can do starting with a piece of cloth.