In business, growth can almost always be found in a business’ top 5 challenges.
For Progressive Products, Inc., a fabricated pipe and pipe fitting manufacturing business located in Pittsburg, Kansas, growth was on the top of their list.
“We had been on a growth trajectory for the past four years,” shared Todd Allison, President of Progressive Products. “However, the marketplace for our core product line – pneumatic conveying components – was starting to change.” Progressive did a lot of work in the power industry and that market was slowing down. According to Allison, they knew that they needed to start doing things differently to keep the company moving in a forward direction.
Increasing industry awareness and developing more market share were sizable challenges. Progressive had good products, prices, and delivery, but they needed fresh strategies to extend their reach. They knew their markets and believed that hadn’t even scratched the surface of their market potential. So, how did they find new customers and engage them?
Growing Market Share
While Progressive still had ideas for new products and how to develop them into viable market offers, they were having difficulty increasing their market share in a few product lines. At a meeting with the City of Pittsburg to discuss Economic Gardening, a program used to pull data to identify market trends, Progressive met Tom Byler and Darrell Pulliam – the Kansas SBDC team at Pittsburg State University.
Looking for advice, Progressive began consulting with Byler and Pulliam at the Kansas SBDC. Byler and Pulliam connected Allison with PSU Business Professor Jeff Poe and a team of students to work with Progressive. The connections Progressive made through the Kansas SBDC helped Allison and his team identify new opportunities for growth through new test designs and market identification.
Allison was pleased with the collaboration. “There are more opportunities to work with the local university than I had imagined,” said Allison. “While I thought by working with the university I was helping them, instead I found the experience to be mutually beneficial.” Allison was also surprised by what he learned when working with the Kansas SBDC. “I also found the Kansas SBDC has access to resources I didn’t know about. That’s a surprise to me, because I try to be well informed.”
Progressive Products has experienced some immediate results. Since first working with the Kansas SBDC, Progressive has added six new full-time employees and is on track to increase annual sales by 27%. Allison is using what he learned from Economic Gardening to improve Progressive’s social media presence with a surprising effect. Business inquiries are up, and Progressive is getting more attention from new markets. And new export markets are being explored.
Allison attributes Progressive’s success to “being adaptable and innovative as well as hiring the right employees. Teamwork is everything.” He offers this advice to his peers in business today, “Business is always changing. If your business plan doesn’t change to meet today’s realities, you won’t need a business plan tomorrow.”
To learn more about Progressive Products Inc. visit http://progressiveproductsinc.com/ or call (620) 235-1712.
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