Going from Crisis to Success

Jul 24, 2023 | Case Studies

This case study explores how strategy plays a critical role in going from crisis to success.

Regaining Lost Ground

President John Johnson was proud of the company he created and its first 6 years of growth when he was pulled away from Creative Spaces Remodeling to handle a family emergency across the country. In his absence, the employee in charge falsified documents, signed bad deals, and lost hundreds of thousands. “By the time I realized what was happening, we were so far upside down, I wasn’t sure there was any coming back,” John explains.

Growth Team Strategies (GTS) President & Senior Consultant Doug Howard came in to stop the bleeding. He put monitors in place to track every dollar. Then, he used his relationships and credibility with the banks to advocate for John, procuring crisis financing. Doug helped Creative Spaces structure the loans and pay off debt. It took 18 months, but order was restored.

John Johnson, President of Creative Spaces Remodeling

Getting Proactive

To ward against future catastrophe, Doug and John overhauled the company culture. They toughened up John’s management style and put processes in place to hold all employees accountable. With newfound trust in the team, John transitioned from working in the business to working on the business – doing the long-term, strategic planning that builds company value.

Doug coached John to master the focus funnel. He went from feeling he had to do everything himself to eliminating unimportant tasks, automating and delegating what was left. Now, John spends his time doing what he does best. His primary role in the business is sales. Of course, he meets with and manages his team. But the rest of his time is devoted to growing his company.

Marketing Magic

Builder reveals have always been Creative Spaces’ go-to marketing move. The team loves throwing big parties to show off their work. When John and Doug started brainstorming ideas to augment existing marketing tactics, they came up with an innovation tailored to the company’s clientele, most of whom own waterfront properties; John started exhibiting at boat shows. He’s also growing his reputation as an industry thought leader, writing articles for Annapolis Home Magazine and Chesapeake Bay Magazine. From billboards to social media, GTS continues collaborating with Creative Spaces to improve and expand its messaging.

Hiring Help

Most small businesses wish they had more HR expertise and time to recruit and vet new hires. Creative Spaces rebounded from financial catastrophe just in time for the pandemic remodeling boom. They needed to staff up, and GTS shepherded them through that process from beginning to end.
First, Doug and John conducted a SWOT analysis to determine areas of greatest need and decided to hire an HR professional, 2 project managers, and a kitchen designer. Doug worked with existing staff to create the job descriptions. He then led the hiring charge, placing the ads and making initial contact with qualified candidates.

“Doug ran the process. My team and I made the decisions, but he gave us the tools and insights to accurately compare candidates to each other and to the positions we needed filled,” John explains. Doug also administered DiSC profile tests to final candidates. These assessments tell supervisors how their new hires best learn, how they like to be managed, and how they deal with stress. John took the test himself and was impressed with its accuracy. It’s easy to make smart hiring decisions when you have your own personal HR professional furnishing you with all the options and info you need.

A Productive Partnership

Six years on, John still considers Doug’s counsel as invaluable as it was back in those dark days of financial crisis. They have a standing weekly 1-on-1, and Doug meets with the Creative Spaces team monthly.
“I’m never letting Doug go. He’s the brutally honest guy I want by my side as we grow this company from $3 million a year to $20 million,” John asserts. “Between my optimism and his candor, we make an unstoppable team!”