Four Business Stories You Need To Read

There are a lot of decisions you have to make as a business owner and there are a lot of people looking to you as a leader. If you’re like most leaders, you’re always looking for ways to grow your business—whether that means building brand awareness, increasing sales, restructuring your business, or finding better talent. In this post, we’re sharing four stories that you might be able to learn from and use in order to make your business better.

Chipotle Implements a Fresh Recruiting Strategy To Find Better Employees

Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation. They have almost 900 restaurants located throughout the U.S. Chipotle has seen a lot of growth over the past few years, which means they’ve had to invest in hiring on a lot more people to help run stores and keep customers happy. Historically, most of the employees Chipotle managers hired came as a result of walk-in traffic. The problem with that hiring strategy was that filtering through candidates to find the right, qualified people for the job was taking to much time. Managers weren’t able to always find individuals who would fit into the culture of the company, do a good job, and stick around.

Here’s what they did: 

The company decided they needed to invest in a new, long-term recruiting strategy that would help them connect with better candidates. After exploring options, they eventually chose to work with Snagajob, a company that helps employers find the right candidates and employees find the jobs they will love. Snagajob worked with Chipotle to design the long-term recruiting strategy they needed—one that harnessed the power and effectiveness of targeted email job alerts, spotlight features, and better questions to use during the screening process. Since implementing the new recruiting strategy, Chipotle has seen a 241% increase in applications and an improved ability to screen and select the best candidates.

What you can do:

You can follow in Chipotle’s footsteps by doing following:

  • If you’re not reaching the right people or recruiting the right talent, take time to evaluate why.
  • Do research on possible solutions that can help you improve upon certain systems or processes in your business that take too much of your time
  • Lean on the expertise of others. If you don’t have a dedicated recruiter or talent acquisition specialist on your team, think about outsourcing and letting someone else who has the expertise help you.

Business Case Study

A Coffee Company Uses Social Advertising To Boost Brand Awareness and Engagement

Pact Coffee is on a mission to help the UK drink better coffee by delivering beans to customers in as little as seven days of being roasted.  When the company was looking to grow their customer base and build brand awareness, they turned to Twitter as a platform that could help them connect with coffee lovers and prospective customers across the UK.

Here’s what they did: 

Pact (@PactCoffee) set up multiple Promoted Tweets campaigns that targeted users on a different theme of interests. For example, in one campaign, they set up @username targeting to promote their tweets to people similar to the followers of accounts like @ocado, @guardianfood, and others. But they didn’t stop there. Instead of simply setting up campaigns, sitting back, and waiting for new business to come in, Pact took time to actively monitor Twitter for mentions of their username, pay attention to other tweets that related to their industry, and authentically engage with followers. Doing so helped them fine-tune campaigns in real-time, as they were still running.

They were able to adapt. They also were able to come to conclusions about what type of content worked better based on the type of audience it was being promoted to. Once they figured out which campaigns resulted in the most engagement, they were able use the information to make future campaigns more successful. Over the course of their efforts, Pact Coffee experiences 13x more retweets, peak engagement rates of 5 percent, a 50 percent increase in followers, and 5M+ impressions.

What you can do:

You can follow in Pact Coffee’s footsteps by doing following:

  1. Allocate some time and resources to spend on social advertising as a way to connect with more potential customers online.
  2. Decide which social media site your target audience is most active on. It might not be Twitter, and that’s OK—a lot of other social sites give you the ability to boost posts and engagement through advertising.
  3. Set up advertising campaigns. If you want to use Twitter, go here to learn how to get started. If you want to use Facebook, go here.
  4. Monitor your campaigns while they are running and make decisions about how to adjust moving forward.
  5. Be authentic. Don’t be spammy. Your advertising efforts will be meaningless unless you take the time to actively and authentically engage with your online communities—especially while your campaigns are running.

Small Business Case Studies

A Struggling Business Owner Makes The Tough Decision To Fire a Good Friend

Susan Southerland is the founder of a thriving wedding planning company in Orlando called Just Marry. She was recently featured in an Inc. article that told the story of how the founder ended up having to let go one of her most first employees and best friends—and why she felt she had to do it. You can get the full story here.

Southerland started the events company in 1992 after graduating from college. In the years following, she worked hard to build her business and was able to experience great success in her industry and community. Along the way, Southerland hired a close friend named Michele Butler to help her organize her events, meet with clients, and grow her business.

Here’s what she did: 

In 2008, the U.S. economy was in rough shape. Thanks to the Great Recession, consumers were being more careful than ever about how and where they spent their money—cutting back on luxuries like big homes, expensive cars, and destination weddings. Despite a decade of 20 percent annual growth and all her hard work, Southerland’s company was in trouble. Ultimately, after exhausting all other resources and meeting with a team of advisors, the founder came to the decision that she had to let her best friend go in order to save her business.

Although the decision was difficult, it did allow Southerland’s business to eventually recover. As part of the termination agreement, Southerland gave Butler a two-months pay severance package, and gave her permission to start her own events company (which included taking with her some of the clients she had landed while working for Southerland). Both businesses are now thriving.

What you can do:

You can learn from this case study and keep the following recommendations in mind:

  1. Be careful when hiring your best friends to work for you.
  2. If you do hire your friends, make sure they understand that the business might have to come first if difficult situations arise.
  3. If you have to fire a friend, give them the resources they need to succeed somewhere else.
  4. As a business owner, sometimes you have to make tough decisions. Be prepared to make them if necessary.

Event Business Case Study

Columbus Zoo Uses Innovative Software To Save Time and Help Employees Become Better Prepared

Full disclosure: this is a shameless plug for our own software. We just love the client and the case study too much to keep if off our list :)

The Columbus Zoo has been open since 1927 and has long been considered one of the top-ten zoos in America. The zoo continuously focuses on ways to grow while retaining their mark of excellence in the zoo community. Along with over 7,000 animals, this zoo has more recently expanded to include a water park, amusement park and golf resort.

As the number of employees and departments grew, so did the scheduling challenges. Last minute changes, time-off requests, and shift swaps were manually entered and communicated, which was time-consuming and inconvenient for supervisors and employees. In addition, despite being handed hard copies of the schedule, staff members occasionally missed shifts.

Here’s what they did: 

The Columbus Zoo decided they needed a better way to create and manage employee schedules, communicate with teams, and prepare for shifts. They implemented When I Work—our employee scheduling software—to save time, reduce absenteeism, and create a more engaging workplace. With the software, every employee can easily access the schedule on their phones by text or by using the app. After implementing the scheduling software, the management team at the zoo now saves an average of 3-4 hours per week. It’s also easier than ever to communicate with employees —especially when they need to get the word out about last minute changes.

What you can do:

You can follow in The Columbus Zoo’s footsteps by doing following:

  1. If something is taking up too much of your time, find out if there’s a solution out there that can make things more efficient
  2. If you’re growing fast, make sure you have systems in mind or in place that will help you scale
  3. If you want to improve communication and make scheduling your employees less of a hassle, sign up for a free 30-day trial.

What stories have changed you and your business?

Oftentimes the best way to succeed is by learning from others. These are just four out of millions of case studies and stories that companies and brands of all sizes have shared online. What are some case studies or stories that have been helpful to you and your business? Leave a comment for us below, or tweet the link to us.

Four Business Stories You Need To Read