Following on from post on high growth business. I was looking through some more research that I had done last yer on fast growth businesses. As before the key traits of having a great offer, creating strong alliances and maintaining a marketing growth strategy enables companies to leap over their peers – enjoy the following examples – appreciate your feedback
The Richmond Group was formed in 1999 to service the credit and finance needs of ordinary people who had been refused credit by the large banks. James Benamor set up his loan brokerage company from his kitchen table at the age of 21 after being struck by how many people were being refused finance by mainstream lenders and banks because they failed to meet a standard assessment. Sales grew 102% a year from £870,000 in 2003 to £7.1m in 2006 and since 2003, the company has grown by a minimum of 50% every year. Now comprising 8 separate brand identities, it employs over 400 people and deals with over 8,000 finance applications per week.
The Richmond Group offers its own unsecured loans through its FLM Loans and Payday loans through FLM Quick Loans. The Loanfinder UK brand sells other companies’ loans while CGS, the first Richmond Group Company, specialises in helping customers with CCJs, defaults or a low credit score to be accepted for Visa or MasterCard credit cards regardless of their credit history. Payment Guard provides accident, sickness and unemployment insurance while Debt Line offers debt-management services. Post Plus was started as an in-house mail fulfilment and data marketing operation by the Richmond Group in 2003.
Great Offer: Richmond Group matches borrowers with lenders, arranging loans of between £500 and £5,000. The catch here is that the Richmond Group works with people who have a bad credit history or are unable to get loans through standard procedures. The firm’s USP is credibility, since it does not charge loan or credit card companies for referring customers but instead charges applicants a flat fee. So the customer knows that the company is giving an unbiased independent opinion, one that is best for him or her, and not for the lending companies.
Alliances: The Richmond Group has treated their staff as their foremost asset and alliance. The Founder, James Demeanor says, “From the beginning I have had two rules, the company has to grow by at least 50% every year, and work has to be fun for everyone.” Almost all managers started as call centre operators with the group and some have even reached director levels. Demeanor meets with every operator in the group at least once every 6 weeks and the firm provides its staff with free breakfasts and subsidised food.
Marketing: In the early days Demeanor didn’t have the money to invest in advertising so instead he had leaflets printed and delivered them on foot himself. During his first full time month James delivered 30,000 leaflets, walking approximately 300 Km in the process. Today, the group has received a lot of publicity through its rankings in the Profit Track 100, Fast Track 100, Sunday Times Best 100 companies and the Best Companies Guide. The firm also advertises online aggressively.
Realty ONE was set up by Kuba Jewgieniew, a former stockbroker and computer programmer who turned an interest in real estate investing into starting his own brokerage. After being a realtor for an year in Las Vegas, Jewgieniew put in his profits to form the Realty ONE Group, a firm for brokering real estate and managing property in Nevada and Arizona in 2005.
The group garnered an agent network of 300 agents by the end of the first year. Beginning in 2005 with sales of just over $100 million, Realty ONE has since exploded with sales reaching $1.6 billion in 2009, despite the difficult real estate market that has shuttered several of its competitors. In a short span of 4 years, the firm has gone on to become the largest real estate brokerage in Nevada and the fastest growing real estate company in Arizona with a total of over 2,200 agents.
Realty ONE Group’s astronomic success and growth has been recognized by many, most notably by Inc. magazine in their widely followed rankings, capturing the 192nd spot on Inc’s coveted Inc.500 list for fastest growing companies in America.
According to Jewgieniew, his business model succeeded because of two things. The first is the flat fee system, which is highly attractive for agents, and the second is the firm’s embracing of technology, both of which set it apart from traditional real estate brokerages.
Great Offer: Realty ONE charges agents a $200 flat fee and another fee of $175 (for a total of $375 per transaction). Since most agent commissions range upwards of $2000, the agent gets to keep the lion’s share of his commission instead of sharing half with the brokerage, which has been the norm in the real estate brokerage industry till date. While experienced brokers get to earn a lot this way, inexperienced ones get a mentor and share commission 70-30, with only 30% going to the brokerage. As a result of this strategy, Realty ONE attracted 100 agents in the first two months of operation and had 300 agents by the end of the first year.
Alliances: Realty ONE partners with mortgage company Southern Fidelity Mortgage, title companies Nevada Title Company, North American Title Company, Chicago Title, home warranty firms Old Republic Home Protection and HAS and WIN and AmeriSpec Home Inspection services in order to provide customers with a network that meets all their home buying and selling needs. It has also partnered with other home security, remodeling and refurbishing companies.
Marketing: The company believes in making its agents its brand. Rather than just a brand name, agents are encouraged to be courteous and polite apart from being highly professional. The firm markets itself and its listings all over the internet on well known real estate sites and on websites owned by the Realty ONE group like realtyonegroupsells.com , realtyonegroupma.com and kimthomasrealty.com etcetera. The Realty ONE one site features voicemail, email, virtual tours and a multiple listing integrated IDX feature. Print ads are also circulated in publications like the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and Real Estate Book among others.