Loftis Consulting & Financial Management

Success Stories

Success Story #1 – CFO Services Case Study

West Project Management (WPM)*, a small 3-year old Chicago project management company, was experiencing rapid growth. WPM was unable to properly support this growth and as a result experienced cash flow issues and a lack of understanding of the key drivers of profitability for each of its projects.

Challenges:

Keeping up cash while rapidly growing was a constant challenge for this business. In addition, the business owner did not where its money was going and if they would be able to afford future growth.  WPM would need to put into place a line of credit to use when there are timing differences between receipt of customer payments and the payment of bills and payroll. I worked with WPM’s banker to put this into place at the level that made sense for their business. Other analysis showed that WPM could improve its cash position if it did a better job of collecting outstanding invoices. I put into a place a credit policy for all new customers in order to ensure WPM was getting customer’s who could actually pay when bills were due. In addition, I implemented a collection policy and process for overdue bills that reduced days sales outstanding substantially.

Financial Reporting: I implemented a timely reporting process that focused on the key drivers of WPM’s business in order for the business owners to make better decisions and increase profitability. WPM’s owner and I analyzed the financial information and together developed ways to lower costs, increase cash flow and reduce project risks. We also worked on building a finance department that could support the management team for the long-term.

Process:

Cash Flow Issues: I immediately put into place a weekly cash forecast system in order to understand WPM’s short term cash flow needs. The forecast revealed that WPM would need to put into place a line of credit to use when there are timing differences between receipt of customer payments and the payment of bills and payroll. I worked with WPM’s banker to put this into place at the level that made sense for their business. Other analysis showed that WPM could improve its cash position if it did a better job of collecting outstanding invoices. I put into a place a credit policy for all new customers in order to ensure WPM was getting customer’s who could actually pay when bills were due. In addition, I implemented a collection policy and process for overdue bills that reduced days sales outstanding substantially.

Financial Reporting: I implemented a timely reporting process that focused on the key drivers of WPM’s business in order for the business owners to make better decisions and increase profitability. WPM’s owner and I analyzed the financial information and together developed ways to lower costs, increase cash flow and reduce project risks. We also worked on building a finance department that could support the management team for the long-term.

Results:

WPM is now able to handle its continued growth without any cash flow issues and is hitting its profitability targets for each job it bids on and wins. The relationship between operations and sales has also improved due to better information resulting in more sales. 

* name changed to protect privacy of the client

Success Story #2 – Retail Sales Case Study

Wellness Inc*, a Chicago-based consumer retail business start-up was experiencing stagnant sales even with an increase in new visitors to its store. The owner of Wellness Inc could not determine the reason for the lack of growth.

Challenges:

With no prior background in retail, the working owner Steven* knew the importance of increasing sales to his business but had not been able to figure out on his own the right product mix, pricing or inventory levels and more importantly maintaining proper cash flows to fund stock replenishment. As a result, popular items were constantly out of stock, less popular items did not sell and sales staff were getting frustrated because stock outs were costing them commissions.

In addition, Steven had not developed a retail marketing plan prior to opening his business. He falsely believed once he opened his doors customers would come.

Process:

Loftis Consulting worked with Steven to analyze the store’s foot traffic as well as the sales techniques used by the commissioned retail staff. In addition, we reviewed Wellness Inc’s current customer base. Based on this  information, we were able to develop a customized marketing plan for Steven that included a 12-month plan of action for online and offline marketing based on a pre-determined target customer in order to retain current customers and obtain new ones.

In addition, we worked to reinvigorate the sales staff by holding monthly sales meetings and reducing and in some cases eliminating stock outs. We also trained sales staff in better sales techniques to increase sales.

Results:

Wellness Inc increased retail sales by 46% in less than a year. Also, employee morale soared.

* name changed to protect privacy of the client

Success Story #3 – Spa Case Study

Relaxing Day Spa*, a large downtown Chicago salon that 12-months earlier transitioned into a day spa, was experiencing little growth in its spa business but the demands of the business expansion was taking its toll on the owner. As a result, the owner had difficulty keeping up with the new demands of the spa and was exhausted from trying to do it all and not experiencing any growth.

Challenges:

In addition to being a stylist, the owner, Helen*, was feeling overwhelmed with the day-to-day process of running a business. She found herself wearing too many hats but was unwilling to delegate. She knew her business needed more structure and better systems in order to grow.

Helen also faced various staffing challenges. Having no prior experience managing people, Helen thought if she hired nice people they would be responsible and that would be enough. She soon found that not to be the case. In addition, Helen had staff retention issues due to her lack of people management skills.

Process:

I worked with Helen to put an appointment management/cash register system in place that immediately provided much needed customer and sales information. Together we analyzed the numbers and developed a plan of action to increase cash flow through retail sales and gift certificate strategies and developed a target customer for marketing purposes. She now had the tools to analyze her customers and get more involved in the business side of operating a day spa as well as a customized marketing plan.

We also worked on her soft skills in the areas of time management, goal setting and staff recruitment and management techniques. This enabled Helen to hire right the first time and manage her staff properly to meet growth goals that positively impacted both the business and her employees.

Results:

Helen is now able to step back and look at the day spa from a business perspective rather than from a technician’s point of view. In addition, in 3 months, revenue increased 50% and gift certificate sales increased over 100%. Staff turnover also declined.

* name changed to protect privacy of the client

Success Story #4 – Marketing Case Study

Driver Inc*, a Chicago-based consumer brick and mortar retail business was experiencing stagnant sales due to its undesirable location, the second floor in an office building. Many potential customers did not know it existed.  

Challenges:

The retail business is highly dependent on impulse purchases, given the location of the store, impulse purchases are more unlikely to occur. In addition, there was a lack of street-level signage and even a lack of awareness of the store with office tenants of the building. As a result, sales were stagnant due to the lack of customers.
In addition, the store had high turnover due to lack of employees’ ability to consistently earn commissions.

Process:

We worked with Susan to get an understanding of her target customer and the problem her product solved for the customer. Armed with this knowledge, Loftis Consulting helped build an online presence for Driver Inc by creating a website with e-commerce capabilities and making sure the site was listed on all relevant content sites across the internet. We also implemented some online advertising on content sites used by the target customer. We constantly analyzed the web traffic data and sales data in order to make sure the marketing strategy was consistently showing results. In addition to the online advertising, offline advertising was implemented as well. The marketing strategy included signage and direct mail campaigns to potential customers as well as advertising to the existing client base.


To decrease staff turnover, we communicated our marketing efforts to the staff and regularly updated them on our progress. In addition, to get the staff more involved in promoting the store we reworked the commission structure.

Results:

Within 3 months, the stores online and offline traffic increased by 324% due to the executed strategies. In addition, staff turnover declined.  

* name changed to protect privacy of the client

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