Turn Lane Consulting only works on projects where we can care about the people we are working with and the outcomes you seek. When we care about you, you get the very best of us. Your success is both our priority and our reward. Building a business or an organization is not easy. It is helpful to have someone on your team to provide objective insight and support to help you get farther faster and easier. Here are just a few examples of how we have served our clients.
An organic chemical manufacturer located two sites in Texas that were potential locations for their new manufacturing facility. Their plan was to invest $50M to build the manufacturing facility in a rural Texas town. They needed a solid economic impact overview to present to the local economic development corporation (EDC) and community at large. TLC was hired to produce the report assessing the economic impact of the construction and operations phases, focusing on the added value to the local pay roll, sales tax and property tax. The report was successful in helping develop a positive relationship with the EDC and an important tool in negotiating a win-win long-term lease for the new facility and for positioning the manufacturer as an asset to the local community.
Chiapas Farms was our primary client for three and a half years. The company began as a start-up focused on exporting organic produce and specialty products from Chiapas, Mexico and morphed into a produce company that also sold a line of organic fair trade coffee from Chiapas. The company hired Turn Lane to develop a coffee brand and oversee all facets of its operation, including choosing a roaster, approving the roast profile, creating the business and marketing plans and implementing them. We handled every aspect of the start-up of the coffee brand as our own start-up business and operated as such. This included performing the following functions:
- Direct the company-wide logo and brand development process
- Oversaw the creation of the coffee e-commerce website
- Directed the creation of all marketing collateral
- Oversaw roasting, packaging and inventory management
- Conducted sales, order fulfillment, and the development of new retail relationships
- Designed and implemented the in-store coffee sampling program, developed all training materials and trained the tasters
In the spring of 2011 Chiapas Farms had three catastrophes that ultimately lead to the dissolution of the company; weather, high coffee prices and a large customer default. As a result, the company needed immediate cash. The coffee arm of the business was the only part of the business with liquid assets (no pun intended) needed for operations and planning the next crop. The coffee inventory was sold to focus on reviving the produce side of the business. In the end, the business simply couldn’t recover from the substantial losses of 2011 on the produce side of the business.
Texas Traditions is a small gourmet food company that makes salts, jellies, dip mixes and mustards using heritage recipes from different regions of Texas. Texas Traditions has been a leader in the Texas gourmet foods and gift market for 20 years. After a failed joint venture with Adams Extract, Texas Traditions needed to regroup and find another way to grow and expand their business. They hired Turn Lane Consulting to write their business plan intended for acquiring bank financing and private investment needed to grow the company. The development of the business plan brought up many important questions for the company owner about her exit plan. The plan was implemented resulting in consistent monthly sales increases.
The company has since been donated to the Culinary Heritage Institute as a way to provide ongoing income to the charity to support their food education and food heritage preservation efforts. TLC has consulted for Texas Traditions on various business matters and the establishment of the Culinary Heritage Institute for over 7 years.
Texas Aquaculture Cooperative (TAC)
TAC was formed by 32 farm families who raise catfish for retail and food service. They processed the catfish and sold it in Texas and neighboring states. The market was being flooded by cheap foreign catfish which was making it difficult for TAC to be profitable. TLC was hired as a last ditch effort to keep the cooperative afloat. We had six months to understand the problem, research the market, devise a plan of action and help turn the company around. We quickly conducted extensive marketing research which led to the recommendation that the coop brand its catfish instead of selling it as a commodity. We developed a branding campaign, a consumer website, a new list of target clients and began repositioning the coop’s product as Certified Texas Catfish. Additionally we wrote a grant and were funded, by the GO TEXAN marketing program from the Texas Department of Agriculture to fund their new branded marketing efforts. At the end of our six month engagement we had successfully:
- Developed a branded catfish marketing campaign
- Identified and helped develop new corporate account opportunities
- Initiated a relationship with Whole Foods
- Developed an annual marketing and promotions budget
- Completed a state marketing grant
- Identified a list of internal challenges that were negatively impacting profitability with advice on how to address each issue
Civil Engineering Firm (CEF)
A boutique civil engineering firm specializing in serving municipalities, institutional and industrial clients for their land development, road and utility infrastructure, water, and waste water projects. CEF is a full-service engineering firm providing consulting, planning, permitting, design, and project management services. The company has been successful in the past and separates itself from other similar firms because it is small and nimble enough to act quickly and focus on providing great service. The company wanted to focus on growth and hired TLC to help develop a manageable plan of action that would allow GBE to maintain the characteristics that differentiated CEF in the first place while incrementally increasing sales and profits.
TLC spent several sessions with the company owner to fully understand his business and his short and long term goals. We created a survey to gauge employee engagement, conducted face-to-face interviews with all 12 employees and interviewed top customers. We used the results of this investigation to lead the entire company in half a day of team building exercises and half a day of strategic planning. TLC packaged the results of all phases of our research and planning complete with a plan of action, timeline and accountabilities and continued to consult for 3 months with the owner and his team about its implementation. As a result of this process, CEF experienced the following benefits:
- Created internal processes and systems for reoccurring steps which made employees more efficient, internal communication improved and stress and frustration decreased
- Re-positioned key personnel into roles that they were better suited for and, in turn, better served CEF
- Profit increased immediately
- Morale improved companywide because everyone was engaged in the same goal, and they felt like their opinions had been heard. Engagement and project ownership increased significantly.
- The owner was able to distribute responsibility to key personnel that previously had been a company bottleneck. And much to the owners delight, his business ran more smoothly which made it possible for him to play golf regularly.