As new trends have emerged in e-commerce over the last decade, the disruption has been felt by traditional wholesale businesses. For this reason Peter Sperling, Owner and Director of Sperling Enterprises, knew he had to change up his business model.
After over forty years of operating solely as a wholesaler supplying large retailers with consumer products, his team of 45 staff have now started to embrace digital, using it as a platform to take their products directly to consumers rather than going through retailers.
Since joining The Entourage, Peter has also injected Vision, Mission and Values into Sperling Enterprises.
“Even countries are never too old for a revolution,” Peter says to other business owners who think it might be too late in the game to alter their business model or realign their team culture.
Sperling Enterprises is a family run business, that was handed over to Peter by his father in 1994, so the changes have been a real step away from tradition.
We chatted to Peter to find out more about how he changed his established business model after joining our program, and what he did to get his team on board with him.
What challenges were you facing that encouraged you to make changes in your business?
As a wholesale business for decades we had been supplying big national retailers like Big W with products. However with digital disruption we found that retailers were going straight to the source in China to buy, and cutting middle men like us out. It really snowballed over the last 5 years. So we decided to embrace digital and take some of our products directly to consumers instead of relying on retailers. There’s definitely room to do both!
What changes have you made within Sperling Enterprises since joining The Entourage?
1. Realigning the look and feel of our product
After learning more about ‘Product to Market Fit’ at an S&S workshop, I decided to create a more niche product. We’re now launching a very specific set of seat covers for tradies, and I’ve put a lot more thought than normal into the packaging we’re using. I’ve spent 10 times more than the standard price on packaging, but have done so as it will let us really hone into our target market.
2. Introducing Vision, Mission & Values (VMV)
The company had operated for 44 years without VMV, but after attending the first S&S workshop I decided it was time for a change. Coming up with our Vision was very thought provoking and provided a great deal of clarity to me.
What is the Vision and Mission for Sperling Enterprises?
Our Vision is “ to create a world without shit products” and our Mission is “to build products that we can be proud our friends and family own.” I just don’t see the point of a product being in existence if it doesn’t serve the purpose it was created for – what’s the point of a can opener that doesn’t open cans? Or a coffee cup that leaks?
Have there been difficulties implementing Vision into a company that has been operating without it for so long? How did you get your team on board?
Yes it was challenging, in some ways the easy part was deciding on the Vision, the hard part was communicating it to 45 people. I spoke to my senior management team and discussed how to do it, and then we started introducing it to smaller groups throughout the business so introducing it to everyone was a more intimate process.
What advice would you give other larger organisations wanting to change up their business model?
Even countries are never too old for a revolution! There are always ways to change and improve existing business models, even if they’ve been around for a long time, you just need to be mindful of how you implement change.
How has The Entourage empowered you to make these changes to your business?
I have found the content at The Entourage extremely thought provoking and it has definitely impacted me and my company quite profoundly over the past 10 weeks or so, not only in regards to Vision, Mission and Values but also in the work we are doing on product development and packaging and making sure it is more targeted at who we are speaking too. There is so much content available through the portal and I am tempted to race ahead, however, I am working on locking down what I have already learnt, rather than having too many things underway and making little progress on any of them.
Peter was inspired to move away from his traditional model and inject vision into his company through education provided in our programs.
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