History: Husband and wife team started Dovetail Coffee Roasters in 2008 for their passion for coffee. By 2016 they could no longer keep the doors open, unable to earn more than a couple hundred thousand in annual revenue. The roastery assets were purchased by café owner, Adam Reid, summer of 2016. Ben Edtl became CEO in January, 2017 to lead the turnaround.
The Problems: Fundamentally, the company lacked distinctive identity, purpose and competitive position. As a result, its product was outdated and there was little market demand for the brand. There was no operational structure, very little business intelligence and, overall, lacked a cohesive expansion plan.
Background: The new owner wanted to keep the name but understood the need for Identity Transformation.
Identity: The new brand was structured around the qualities of the dovetail joint in construction. Those qualities (craftmanship, ingenuity, simplicity and strength of connection), along with story-telling, became the pillars of the Dovetail Coffee identity. The brand concept, using the dove (the “Messenger”) with it’s tail shaped like a dovetail joint, was created by Sparktank along with the slogan “A Coffee Joint” (representing strength in connection using, slang double entendre, to represent our cafes, as well as, our creative and playful personality).
Culture: Post brand integration and a few serendipitous connections, the company began to attract highly skilled coffee people. The culture now reflects the very audience the company is targeting: creative leaders with game changing ambitions who like to have fun and enjoy fulfilling work that makes a positive impact on the lives of others.
Quality: Craftmanship, ingenuity and simplicity represent Dovetail Coffee’s product creation standards. The company moved away from the traditional, over-roasted (burnt) flavor profiles towards the “third wave” coffee roasting style. The company developed three branded (flagship) blends that reflect intrinsic organizational values and speak to the three major flavor profile segments: Classic, Modern and Unique.
Intelligence: At the outset, accounting systems where all but non-existent. The owner used a bookkeeper to track P&L’s, but they were disorganized and dysfunctional, reporting inaccurate information. So, for the greater part of 2017 the company worked with Impact CFO’s to separate personal and business expenses and work through the financial complexities of the business. As small as the business was, it was operating three different businesses: Manufacturing (supply chain, production, etc.), channel wholesale and retail (café operations). We got rid of isolated systems POS, manufacturing software, accounting software, etc. and developed a website with Cascade Web Development that began to centralize our business, making way to track Key Performance Indicators and measure impact from business activities, accurately, across the board.
Scale: First we cleaned out all facilities, leaving only what was necessary. Then we began to document and structure repeatable processes, forming policies (around lessons learned) and executed the transition from owner operations to company operations. This allowed the owner to free himself from the business to focus on what he does best. Today, the company has a scalable operation in which all critical functions – sales, marketing, production, fulfillment and accounting – are fully automated from the C-Level perspective.
Results: In 2017 the company grew from $150K in annual revenue to nearly $500K in annual revenue. Today it is growing at a fast rate, tracking to reach the $1M run-rate in 2018. The company is planning to open two new cafes this year and is entering into retail grocery in the Pacific Northwest Region. It currently sustains 15 jobs, with three employees becoming first time home owners in the past 12 months.
Overview: Flat Environmental Services Company, struggling for competitive advantage, sought Incite for help.
Background: In the heavily regulated and highly competitive world of Environmental Services, it’s hard to differentiate from the pack. Sales were driven by availability, rather than loyalty and market entry by multiple opportune specialists flattened sales.
The Market Change Opportunity: We learned that the market had a negative view of the industry and its service providers in general. Changing the perception of the industry could change the perception of the company to foster loyalty and growth.
The Highest Organizational Purpose: We discovered the staff at this company had a higher purpose: they were hard-working stewards of the urban environment.
The Vision: Design a new brand for the company that reflected its highest organizational purpose with a focus on showing the hard work, machinery and human grit required of competent environmental service. But to demonstrate authenticity, the company needed to back up its words with community programs and partnerships that supported its ultimate mission.
Results (the Market Transformation): The rebrand changed the perception of the company, elevating it away from its competition and distinguishing it as the clear leader. As a result, its competitors attempted to copy its community programs and messaging to remain competitive.
Conclusion: The Company grew by 56% within 6 months of implementation and made the Portland Business Journal’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies List within the year.
Overview: The number of handball athletes was shrinking dramatically and the market was dying, equipment hasn’t evolved in years. The sport (and its financial resources) was controlled by old fuddy-duddies that resisted innovation and fought to maintain power. These fuddy-duddies manufactured the equipment and forced players to use it in competition.
Background: The market was divided by indoor (small ball) players and outdoor (bigball) players. The establishment was alienating itself and new grass roots organizations were popping up to fill the void, further dividing the base.
The Market Change Opportunity: The market was hungry for a brand that represented the attitude of its athletes and modernized its gear.
The Highest Organizational Purpose: Grow the sport by attracting outside athletes to the game.
The Vision: Create an authentic brand that captured the hard-core street mentality of handball athletes and the highly competitive, bad-ass nature of the sport. Revolutionize the gear by modernizing materials and leverage thoughtful design that improved athlete performance by solving experiential problems.
Results (the Market Transformation): Edtl Handball took more than 60% of the international market, emerging as the leading global brand within 24 months of launch. The company forced the competition to copy its design styles and features and sell at a lower price, just to remain competitive.
Overview: In the mid 2000’s the restaurant industry used archaic paper based training manuals to manage and communicate its training information. At the time, E-Learning had emerged in other industries but the LMS platforms were static, hugely expensive and didn’t address the management of dynamic training information required by restaurants.
Background: Large restaurant chains understood the cost of training and began investing in interactive LMS’s for static training information, but couldn’t utilize the technology for product training. Product training is the most time consuming training to execute, but drives ticket averages and, ultimately, gross revenue.
The Market Change Opportunity: There needed to be a technology, accessible to the masses, which streamlined the collection, management and communication of training information for the restaurant industry.
The Highest Organizational Purpose: The Highest Organizational Purpose of the company is to simply training.
The Vision: Waitrainer was the restaurant industry’s first web-based training information management platform. Its job is to collect training content from recognized providers including training experts and product manufactures, enable customers to manage their proprietary content and provide key statistics that measure their staffs’ training progress. It also solved a secondary opportunity of allowing product manufacturers (beers, wines, spirits, etc.) to train influencers (restaurant service staff) in the market.
Results (Market Transformation): The Waitrainer LMS technology transformed the market by shifting the standard of paper based training information management to cloud based training information management.
Conclusion: As first to change the market, Waitrainer continues to lead at the forefront of mainstreaming the platform as the standard operating procedure. Competition has entered the market, but still playing catch up as Waitrainer acquires complimenting companies towards its goal of a public exit.
Overview: Local graphic design studio couldn’t break the $500K annual sales ceiling, turned to Incite for solutions.
Background: Known for its branding of high-profile local businesses, the studio was dependent on a single client for 90% of its revenue. Its operation was designed to serve the big client, yet its growth strategy was focused on selling brand work to small businesses. They were stuck operating as two different businesses, just to keep the lights on. They needed to choose one direction or another before they went bankrupt.
The Market Change Opportunity: Large corporations need design support but most graphic art firms want to do the “sexy” work of branding. The change opportunity was to create a new segment of graphic services called “production design services” that aimed to add bandwidth to design teams at large corps.
The Highest Organizational Purpose: The Company’s core competency was delivering fast-turn projects to big businesses. It specialized in doing the work internal design teams didn’t have bandwidth for. The longer they worked in an organization, the better their work and the more dependent large organizations become on the agency.
The Vision: Position the company as a production design firm specializing in meeting the bandwidth needs of large organizations. Focus on creating a new competency of outside and inside sales process to diversify client portfolio and maximize project mining out of current accounts.
Results (the Market Transformation): HUB transformed the market by creating a new competitive segment, establishing authenticity and honing their sales process. The Company continues to lead its regional market today.
Conclusion: After 18 months of implementation the company broke through its revenue ceiling growing more than 150% YoY.