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Case Studies

Remodeling Firm Reorganization

  A successful, family owned residential remodeling and construction firm was having problems with an unproductive business division. While this division was unprofitable and generated a relatively small, and decreasing, share of total company revenue, customers loved their products and services, and the owners were very attached to the division’s manager, who had been with the company for over 25 years. The owners were torn – should they shut it down, keep it but scale back on personnel and space, or go the other way and try to grow it? If they decided to grow the division, would they have to hire new people right away, or was there some way to reallocate management and staff from other parts of the company without hurting the

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Helped Beverage Startup Go to Market

An aspiring entrepreneur had been experimenting with a new non-GMO hot drink for more than a year when she decided to contact Ground Floor Partners. She initially wanted us to help her find a contract manufacturer and help her with marketing. But after several conversations we agreed the product was not ready for prime time and that what she first needed was a business plan. Research and Planning Our first step was to do some market research to see if there was sufficient demand for her product to build a real business around it. We quickly determined that the market was big enough, and then identified several wide-open market segments and promising marketing and distribution channels. We also researched the competition, and found that although

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Helped Client Save Millions

A national medical association contacted Ground Floor Partners seeking help with developing a business plan to set up their own in-house testing facility for members. Each year the association brought in several hundred physicians for several days of oral examinations. The association had been leasing space from a hotel for several years, and while the arrangement seemed to be working reasonably well, the board believed they could set up their own in-house testing facility and then rent the space out to other groups to make a profit. The board asked Ground Floor Partners to help them develop a business plan for the proposed facility. Problems Appear Initially, this looked like a fairly straightforward project. We would research other groups that needed testing centers (demand), identify

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Helped Language Translation Service Grow

A language translation service in Atlanta was growing and earning a modest profit, but the owner was overwhelmed by her workload and felt that the company was not realizing its full potential. Recommendations Based on our intensive review of operations, Ground Floor Partners made several recommendations for enhanced performance: Administrative Support – Client was spending almost 50% of her time on administrative tasks. By using an administrative resource, she would have more time and energy to devote to marketing and sales. Reduce Reliance on Intermediaries – Client was caught in a pricing squeeze. The majority of her customers were translation agencies rather than direct users of her services, so by the time she paid her employees she was making almost nothing. Expand Scope of Service

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Helped Receptionist Firm Increase Profit Margin

An established receptionist service in downtown Chicago was struggling with low profits and dwindling revenue. Findings We conducted a business assessment and identified four critical areas which needed improvement: Unbalanced Revenue Portfolio – Client had several revenue streams, but they were out of balance. The largest revenue stream (telephone answering service) was barely profitable and took time away from much more profitable services such as transcription, research, and editing. Debt – Client had a large outstanding debt at a high interest rate. She was not making enough money each month to pay off any principal. Staffing & Operations – Client needed to transition from working “in” the business to working “on” the business. This required hiring additional staff as well as setting up and perfecting

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Due Diligence on a Proposed Wireless ISP Acquisition

A client asked us to perform a due diligence audit and estimate the fair market value of a Wireless Internet Service Provider located in Illinois. Several other suitors were also looking at the company, and we had to work quickly so that our client could decide whether or not this was a good opportunity and, if so, establish a fair purchase price. What We Did We prepared a list of more than 50 specific questions for investigation that covered all aspects of the acquisition that would be relevant to this decision, including market opportunity, competitive landscape, barriers to entry, technology, sales and marketing, operations and processes, management team, financial performance, and subscriber base. Then, we met with the management team at their headquarters, assessed their

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Market Analysis for Pathogen Detection Device Manufacturer

An early stage Illinois biotechnology company was in the process of developing a portable, point-of-use pathogen detection device to enhance food safety throughout all facets of the food processing and production industries. However, different segments of the food processing industry placed variable emphasis on the importance of food safety monitoring. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the needs, willingness to pay, and current solutions available to the specific customer segments, the client contracted Ground Floor Partners to conduct primary market research to gain greater insight into these various groups in order to better position the pathogen detection device upon its entrance into the marketplace. Methodology We first designed and conducted an in-depth survey with respondents that worked in meat packing (beef, pork, etc.) plants,

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Pricing Analysis and Recommendations for Physician Scheduling System

An emergency room physician had designed and developed a web-based software system for scheduling and managing emergency room physician work shifts. The system was almost ready for beta testing. The doctor had done preliminary market research on customer demand and the competition and had several ideas for how to price the service. He wanted to keep the system as simple as possible for end-user groups, and was in favor of relatively slow but steady revenue growth (so no outside investors were needed). He contacted Ground Floor Partners for help with: Market Analysis/ Positioning Pricing Strategy and Analysis Financial Projections/ Breakeven Analysis Findings and Results We worked closely with the doctor on all of these issues, and also provided additional guidance on the software development and

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Feasibility Study for Indoor Sports Facility in Chicago

A Chicago real estate developer engaged Ground Floor Partners to conduct a thorough feasibility study. He had purchased a 2.5 acre parcel of land, originally for residential property, but then decided it may be better location for a large indoor sports facility. The developer had already prepared detailed financial projections based on a proven business model with one main revenue stream: hourly use fees. However, the developer and his prospective investors were concerned that the market demand might not be enough to make their projected revenue numbers. The developer also wanted to make sure he had not overlooked any other risk factors which could negatively impact the business. Results Ground Floor Partners completed a thorough feasibility study to understand: The market landscape (size, trends, opportunities,

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Business Plan Secured Funding for High End Spa

An experienced spa manager and her business partner contacted Ground Floor Partners for help developing a comprehensive business plan for a high-end salon and spa in one of Chicago’s upscale neighborhoods. She needed the plan to obtain enough debt financing to secure a lease at a high end retail location. Client and her partner had many years of experience, both on the business side and the technician side. They also had a large group of previous clients and fans who promised to move over to the new spa when they opened. Results Ground Floor Partners worked closely with the partners on their business plan. We helped them map out their revenues and expenses for the first three years, and also introduced them to an insurance

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Helped Company Double Revenue

After the Great Recession of 2008, a specialized audio visual services provider experienced several years of declining revenues, to the point where the business was barely surviving. In early 2011 the founder contacted Ground Floor Partners for help. Approach Rather than trying to apply a short-term fix, we approached the problem with a long term view. We did a quick assessment of the business, and concluded that marketing was the most important factor. The owner and his staff were extremely good at the technical side of the business, but had never needed to invest much effort or money into marketing and sales. Results We analyzed the company’s clients and projects and concluded that they were overly focused in one relatively small target market. We identified

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Market Analysis Convinced Headquarters to Change Strategy

A regional business developer at a hundred year old manufacturer of plastic processing equipment in Europe contacted Ground Floor Partners to estimate the North American market size for a particular class of high precision machine presses. European headquarters believed there was a large market for their machines in the United States. Our contact in the United States had been tasked with selling in North America; he believed the market size was much smaller than headquarters’ estimate. Headquarters wanted a professional market analysis so they could better understand the competitive market landscape. Specifically, we were also tasked with uncovering the following: Market Size — estimate the number of machines sold per year in Canada, the United States and Mexico Pricing Analysis — uncover prices competitors are charging

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"Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
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- Sir John Harvey-Jones
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- W. Arthur Porter
A fool with a plan is better than a genius without a plan."
- T. Boone Pickens (from his father)
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- Charles R. Walgreen Sr.
"The general consensus of the board was we've got nothing to lose by doing a feasibility study. That'll give us data, not just feelings and what-ifs."
- Robert Haskell
"There can be no talk of when until a feasibility study is completed."
- Viktor Khristenko
“You can observe a lot just by watching.”
- Yogi Berra
"Slow and steady wins the race."
- Unknown
"Observe the turtle: He progresses only with his neck out."
- American Indian saying
"Complicare e facile. Semplificare e difficile."
- Bruno Munari
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- Michael Jordan (in a TV commercial for Nike)
"Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so."
- Galileo
"You've got to be careful if you don't know where you're going 'cause you might not get there."
- Yogi Berra
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
- Harriet Tubman
"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."
- Satchel Paige
When the river rises, the fish eats the ant. When the river falls, the ant eats the fish.
- Thai proverb