E Group was a fast-growing company which anticipated continued increasing demand for its product. Sales had increased by 400% in 2011 and the company’s full production for 2012 was already sold out by September. However, in past years the market had been very volatile, which made predicting the future difficult and uncertain. The owners had concerns that some predictions were “too good to be true.” They had invested a significant portion of their personal financial assets in the company; they wanted to protect their investment and to maintain sufficient personal resources to meet their family’s needs. Key issues included:
- How should the company expand?
- How can production be made more efficient to keep up with demand?
- What kind of outside investment should be sought?
- How and when can the company pay the owners back?
A consultant from Gail Golden Consulting facilitated a day-long strategic planning retreat. The goals of the day were to evaluate the company’s risks and opportunities and to make plans for both short- and long-term strategy. The leaders had previously engaged in a similar exercise with another consultant, but they wanted to take a second look at their strategic issues. Participants included the President and Founder; the head of Business Development; the newly-hired Controller; the Director of Operations; and an owner of the company who was not employed there. The consultant provided a framework for strategic analysis and led the E Group leaders through a series of exercises to address their key issues. The consultant also offered some thought leadership on how to implement change. Following the retreat, she provided a written summary of the meeting.
By the end of the day, the leaders had created a vision of the company in 2016. They had identified two potential strategic alternatives and a list of key questions that would help them choose between the alternatives. In addition, they had outlined key next steps, designated the responsible person for each step, and set deadlines for completion.
As of 2013, the company leaders had committed to one of the strategies and the company had continued to grow at breakneck pace.