Growth Insights for CEOs

Business Growth Strategies: Keeping a Stainless Reputation

Posted by The Chief Outsider

A Case Study on Sustaining Generational Growth

Blickman, a fifty year old family owned business, is a leading manufacturer of high quality stainless steel materials handling and storage equipment for the health care industry. The customers include facility planners for hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, doctor’s offices, laboratories, clinics, and any health industry facility that needs fabricated stainless steel materials handling and storage systems.

logo_blickman.gifBlickman is owned and operated by two brothers. One serves as CEO and the other serves as CFO. The company recently invested in creating more capacity and needed help with strategic planning to increase revenue and utilize the additional capacity. The company did not have a CMO and brought in a CMO from Chief Outsiders. Because of the economic downturn, many new healthcare facility construction and expansion projects were unfunded and on hold so the market growth was stagnant. The business was not growing as the owners envisioned, and there was no strategic growth plan or marketing strategy to take advantage of the Blickman brand’s excellent reputation. The market has evolved to an RFQ lowest-bidder-wins environment. Blickman is not the lowest-cost provider and does not want to compromise their quality image by producing inferior quality. Blickman had not done a strategic plan and the focus was on day–to-day operations and opportunities. There were no strategic marketing initiatives.

Business Objective

As the Fractional CMO, Marshall Perez became a trusted advisor for the family-owned business and was charged with developing a strategic marketing plan to increase revenue and take advantage of the new production capacity. 


Perez quickly performed an objective SWOT analysis involving key management team members and sales team members. This was done through a series of surveys. The SWOT analysis was presented to the owners and strategic business growth strategies and supporting tactics were developed. Five strategic growth initiatives evolved from the SWOT analysis and were presented for peer review with the Chief Outsiders partners, then presented to the business owners for their approval, funding and prioritization

Strategic actions required  

  1. Developed and began implementation of tactics and actions to support strategic growth initiatives.
  2. Identified internal project manager and team for each strategy and created dashboard for implementation and management tracking.
  3. Conducted bi-weekly staff meetings to update executive leadership on progress of implementation of marketing strategies
  4. Serve as member of senior management as a trusted advisor on key strategic issues such including forecasting, budgeting, new web site development, sales management initiatives, promotional activities, CRM and new market opportunities
  5. Create staffing strategy to provide internal strategic market planning talent


  • Margin improvement
  • Significantly increased web requests for information.
  • Increased request for quotation by 200%
  • Developed a purpose driven marketing strategy
  • Invigorated a can-do spirit throughout the organization.
  • Created internal accountability to manage projects and challenge the status quo
  • Developed and implemented tactics to support strategic growth initiatives. 
  • Recruited talent to provide objective strategic marketing and sales direction
  • Continue to serve as trusted advisor

Topics: Business Growth Strategy, Business Planning, Family Business