Entrepreneurs Hang Up Tools To Helm Their Insulation Business
Fortifying any business requires a certain level of grit and determination, and Ewing Insolutions Inc. is no exception. The family-run business has been providing the West Kootenay region with industrial, commercial, and residential insulation solutions since 2008. Ready to level up with a custom growth plan focused on making their already successful business as efficient as the homes they service, Ewing Insolutions enlisted the help of an expert team.
Over the course of eight months in 2020, President Jesse Ewing and Vice-President Greg Kreutz participated in Basin RevUp, Columbia Basin Trust’s advanced business accelerator program that supports high-achieving companies poised for rapid growth. Under the guidance of RevUp’s expert coaches, Ewing and Kreutz sought to improve on leadership development, financial systems and management accounting.
Relying on Staff for a Leg Up
Both Ewing and Kreutz felt it was the right time to call in the experts so they could drop the tools, delegate and free up more time to lead the business from an upper management level.
“Although we were already bursting at the seams and just so busy, we were ready to grow,” explains Ewing. “RevUp shifted our mindset so we could put systems in place and give up some of the control we thought we had to have as owners. Now we’re running the company from the driver’s seat and things have gotten a lot easier. I haven’t been on a job site in nine months; it’s awesome. RevUp changed me from a worker to being at the helm of the ship.”
A key improvement came from hiring more staff, which took them from four employees to 10. Creating an organizational flow chart and bringing an office administrator into the mix vastly improved day-to-day operations and allowed leadership to reassign certain tasks, such as client onboarding and scheduling.
“We had to learn how to clearly define roles — how to tell our employees exactly what we need and want,” says Ewing. “That was a huge learning curve and helped us see the value in hiring an office admin. Now we have job descriptions written for everyone, we’ve created lead positions, and each team member is aware of what they are responsible for. That makes the machine work way more efficiently.”
A Tracking System for Financial Management
Investing in proper training, setting boundaries, and trusting their staff to take the reins allowed them to focus on developing a more productive financial infrastructure. This ensured they weren’t paying out of pocket for materials or taking bank loans to finance projects up front. With the help of RevUp’s financial experts, Ewing and Kreutz implemented a system to improve cash flow and track profit margins and revenue, which has doubled this fiscal year. More importantly, according to Kreutz, completing the program helped them up their profit margin by 107% in that same time period.
“Cleaning up our books, tracking margins and product, and using spreadsheets makes everything so much more fluid,” he adds. “Our checks and balances are way more solid than they used to be. We were always making money, but we weren’t as efficient. Now we track everything and it has eased the chaos in the office every morning, as well as our workload.”
Each project the business takes on now requires a contract with a 50 per cent deposit, which alleviates up-front costs and guarantees clients a spot in Ewing’s busy schedule.
“Once we had a solid infrastructure in place, we were able to keep up while expanding quickly,” shares Kreutz. “We’ve been able to increase revenue while keeping a bigger piece of the pie. Now we can work fewer hours, keep our margins the same, and are now a more profitable company.”
A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Ewing and Kreutz have applied the knowledge they gained from the RevUp program to their next business venture. The entrepreneurs are in the midst of switching gears to focus on a whole new start-up, Hydrophyll Systems Inc., and they’re very optimistic about the possibility for future growth.
“The program basically took two guys in a truck and turned us into businessmen,” says Ewing. “I don’t know if we would have tackled a second business without RevUp, but we’re extremely excited to be able to take everything we learned and put it into this new company.”
RevUp has packed both owners, tool belts with improved leadership skills and accountability, financial proficiency, and more efficient operational systems, teaching them how to better practice work-life balance — and they’d do it again in a heartbeat.
“The RevUp program not only made us take care of our business, but it made us take care of ourselves,” adds Ewing. “If we are not personally healthy and happy, we could never run a healthy, happy business. It was literally life-changing and made our company way more valuable. If you’re running a small business without an MBA, I don’t think you can afford not to participate.”