CEO Next Business Institute connected Schmidt to research teams and confidential peer learning opportunities, which allowed him to reconstruct his business model by comparing it to those of his competitors.
“I’ve never looked at our competitors,” he said. “I’ve never thought about what someone else is doing and how we compare to them. So what [CEO Next Business Institute] helped me with was research, which really challenged me to say ‘what is your core focus?’”
Through the research component of the program, Schmidt learned that the most successful marketing strategy for AMEK was referrals and testimonials from families they had previously worked with—an approach consistent with the family-next-door business model that his family was striving for.
“We don’t compete as a commodity; we’re a niche company that offers unique values,” he said.
In addition to researching competitors’ business models, CEO Next Business Institute guided Schmidt through consolidating AMEK’s branding strategy from three distinct brand identities to one.
“We had three brands … three different production processes, three different estimating systems, and it was really hard to do excellence with three different processes. Now we have one core process with different products. That will be the one thing that allows us to freely build,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt was just one of many second-stage business owners supported by the program. Since 2011, the regional partnership has supported 112 businesses, which provide 1,700 jobs, and supported the creation 650 new jobs.