Steve Schwartz, President of Quality Enclosures, a family owned and operated manufacturer of shower doors, is a second generation owner who turned to GrowFL for assistance during the economic downturn.
"GrowFL got involved in 2010 when the economy was shaky and unstable, especially for us being tied to home markets," he said. "We needed a direction to take control of our market and our industry. GrowFL allowed me to better forecast and position for the future. As a result, we decided to become vertically integrated and take ownership of our product lines."
Schwartz worked directly with GrowFL's experienced mentors to discuss strategic planning and conduct market analysis. GrowFL also provided Schwartz access to valuable tools and resources.
"They gave us direction regarding market penetration and tools to define our marketplace," he said. "They provided the resources for the executive roundtable I benefited from so much by discussing pain points with other owners. They also provide grants. It worked really well. I can't tell you how many times I was shaken by the economy and came out of those meetings thinking "Wow I have some direction."
As a result of working with GrowFL, Quality Enclosures defined its culture, a move that strengthened company unity and cohesion so much that it produced quantifiable results.
"My team is strong and tight knit and they all get it," Schwartz said. "That was a big turning point for us so that instead of chasing cash, we defined ourselves and everyone bought in. Turnover rate reduced, and productivity increased. We had two shifts that I consolidated to one shift. I kept the staff as much as possible and now we're producing 20 percent more product in one shift and have better quality and the reason is the improved culture. That was from growFL. In addition, our sales were $4.5 million in 2010 before GrowFL and $27.6 million in 2016 after GrowFL. That didn't happen by throwing darts at a wall."
Schwartz's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to leverage experience and read Simon Sinek's book Start with Why. "Surround yourself with people of experience," he said. "The older generation is an instrumental part of my business. I surround myself with gentlemen in their later years because they have experience and knowledge you just can't get without those many years under your belt. Surround yourself with people of a like mind and learn. Don't stop learning."