Family owned since 1970, EfstonScience was once Canada’s largest retailer of scientific products. Its Toronto superstore on Dufferin Street (with the giant telescope on the roof) was packed with thousands of unique and innovative consumer and industrial science products, and had the largest hands-on display of telescopes in North America. By 2012, the owners had evolved and expanded EfstonScience into four connected, but distinct businesses – the original retail store selling science equipment, a B2B business for off-grid lighting systems, a B2C business focusing on solar panel system installations, and a fulfillment business for specialty scientific tools and test equipment.
What was the issue?
Although all four businesses were in the science and solar industry, each one had a slightly different business model. And in today’s competitive marketplace, maintaining one successful business can be a challenge, let alone maintaining four. As such, the owners were struggling to effectively manage all four businesses and navigate changing economic and market conditions.
The owners turned to Growth Path Strategic Marketing for assistance in turning the companies around.
“We immediately set to work assessing the profitability of all four businesses and devised a single business plan that focused on the business that had the greatest chance of success,” says Kevin Maynard, president of Smart Foundations Business Services. “This meant focusing on one business – EfstonSolar – and developing an exit strategy for the other three.”
Growth Path assisted EfstonSolar with the transition process, including evolving the recognized EfstonScience brand to the solar panel sales and installation business, not only strategically, but overall.
Smart Foundations HR consultants were brought in to assist with offering packages to downsized staff and to structure an offer to transition a division of the original store into a strategic partner. Sales commission plans were also created to ensure the new EfstonSolar sales team was motivated and challenged to meet organizational needs.
With the focus now on the rebranded EfstonSolar business, Growth Path revamped its marketing and communications program.
Growth Path also advised EfstonSolar through the business development process by determining the best approach for connecting with existing and new markets, identifying potential business partners and assisting in negotiating partnership terms.
By refocusing on growing the business with the most potential, Growth Path helped the company to meet both their short-term needs and long-term goals. Within a year and a half, revenues quadrupled and the company once again became profitable. Once profitable, the EfstonSolar business model easily transitioned from a B2C to a B2B business in response to changes in government legislation. Growth Path oversaw this transition by once again rebranding and revising the website to reflect the company’s new direction. And, Growth Path helped to establish new partnerships to create a solid infrastructure so that EfstonSolar can continue to evolve and grow.
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