Back in December, I asked you to tell me about your own business (Can We Talk?). The result was a great conversation with lots of information that was enormously helpful to me and I hope to others.
Today, I have a similar request—except this time, instead of telling us about your business, I’d like you to tell us about a business that most of us probably haven’t heard of but that has impressed you. Tell us in the Comment section below the name of the business, where it’s located, and what it does. But most important, tell us what it has done that might be an example for the rest of us.
I'd tip my hat to Ken Tomita at https://grovemade.com/ . There are many reasons "why Ken?" First, he had a huge hit when he was first to market with bamboo phone cases. But, this model had an expiration date and he knew it. That story alone is pretty cool. After pivoting the first time, he shifted to a full embrace of American design and manufacturing - specifically around making a beautiful, functional desk environment. Which gets me to the second cool story: he did all of this pre-covid. As you can imagine, the pandemic has made his business run like a dragster on high-octane. But, what's REALLY compelling is that he sees the writing on the wall from his phone days: EVERYONE is getting into his little niche market. Will he survive? What's the next pivot?
A great story for businesses who want to understand how to make shifts, but also the importance of thinking about the shift when you are winning (not when the house is on fire).
Ken would be delighted to chat, I'm sure. He's a great person and doing good work with in the community.
So many. Here are 2 fantastic companies. (Full disclosure, they are both clients)
1) E.L. Productions. https://www.elproductionsltd.com/ They are going through a rebrand right now. They do high end productions for events for large corporations and organizations. When COVID hit, that industry dried up. The owner, having been very diligent in management and culture building, did not layoff anyone. The whole team did a massive readjustment (I don't love "pivot") and they are now leaders in the creative, impactful deployment of virtual and hybrid events. They do so much more than "understand the technology"; they've cracked the code on creating engaging experiences that develop relationship through creative use of various tools as well as understanding the "emotional journey" of attendees. In addition, they are driven by a set of values that aren't window dressing but guide and inform their actions, their decisions and their relationships.
2) Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. https://www.naturalplaygrounds.ca/ They aren't just manufacturers and distributors of natural playgrounds and outdoor classrooms. They are passionate advocates for connecting children to nature. On pretty much any metric of success for children - academic, social, emotional well-being - natural playgrounds and outdoor classrooms dramatically outperform traditional ones. The entire management team of this organization is passionately driven more by the desire to bring these benefits to children than by dollars. COVID presented both challenges and opportunities as school boards and daycares shut down, but also realized that outdoor classrooms are a brilliant alternative to help reduce disease transmission. Rather than just focus on sales and logistics, the leadership made a powerful commitment to drive values and behaviours associated with them through the organization, leading to a stronger team, greater commitment, shared responsibility and enhanced agility. They also dedicate many resources and dollars to education and not just to sales. If you have kids in school, you'd do well to introduce the school to this brilliant company.
Hi Loren - Happy New Year! I have two... my friend's business Get Maine Lobster-Their motto is Dock to Doorstep! Delivering live lobster and other fresh seafood to your home. https://getmainelobster.com 2020 was an incredible growth year. It has been exciting to watch Mark grow his business, manage culture, hire, and customer satisfaction as demand continues to go up. I have also to highlight our client Anchor Harvey, a 100-Year-Old aluminum forging company. They have embraced the digital transformation of their sales (revenue generation system) process and really invested in their positioning, which allowed them to expand into the essential markets quickly, resulting in 25%+ revenue growth in 2020. They are a high-performing employee-driven culture, so they were able to scale-up operations as demand grew. President and CEO Tom Lefaivre provides some specifics that contributed to this growth in this manufacturing podcast episode:
I feel like many people know this business - Barstool Sports - but what their founder has been doing in response to the struggles small businesses have faced is really inspiring. It's not just emotionally inspiring. Sure, the videos of small businesses receiving funds make me cry ... every.single.time., but it's more about the reminder that as entrepreneurs and founders, we get to pivot our businesses when we see a different need for our audience/customer. It reminds me to continue to ask myself, "how can I better serve our teens?" The things we did a year ago may not be the things our customer needs today. It also has shown me once again the power of story. Whenever they post a video, donations increase. People really want to feel connected to the "why". As a result, we have started sharing more videos of our teens talking about what being part of WIT means to them.
https://www.blinkfitness.com/ Blink Fitness. This is my gym in New York City, which has locations in many states. They've done a phenomenal job ensuring members feel safe by cleaning the equipment after each use, developing an app so you can schedule workouts, and training their staff to remain upbeat and positive. It's one of the few indoor non-retail places I can even visit right now, and they make each session feel more like a temporary escape.
These guys: https://wyrmwoodgaming.com/. They are the best marketers I have ever seen. I'm so impressed that I'm writing a book about them.
LEXAGENE / Beverly Mass. On the forefront of pathogen detection PRIOR to pandemic has stepped up research and technology with scientific breakthroughs and poised to be a leader in the industry
Amplified/Telamon Insurance in Westwood, Massachusetts. It is an insurance agency that has both a retail and wholesale division. What they have done incredibly well is commit to building an amazing culture and a team who has an ownership mindset at all levels of the agency. While they are under fifty employees, they have a full-time Chief Culture Officer, extensive training in both soft skills and technical skills and everyone in the organization gets ongoing coaching/mentoring support. A lot of companies talk about culture and how important their employees are, this agency demonstrates it every day in their actions and the commitment they make to their core values a reality.