SBM #11 - St. Cyr’s Pool and Spa decoding the growth formula - Part 1

Decoding the growth formula.

‘The Small Business Mentor' exists to tell insightful, interesting stories about initially successful small businesses that faced obstacles and somehow found a way to overcome them through whatever means necessary. 

Last week, we looked at Dylan Chatterjee and his business Onbench, the fine art of scaling your company via patience, persistence, and a good dosage of lead generation. 

Today, I want to talk more about growth.  

📓 The Overview:

  • Business: St. Cyr Pool and Spa

  • Barrier: Figuring out the growth formula 

  • Learning: To grow, work out other ways to add value to the same customer

📓 The Story:

I seem to be attracting pool companies right now. 

It may be a subconscious thing for me, with it being winter and wanting to have a hot tub.

Or it may be because this is the time of year when the pool industry gets a bit quieter, and they have more time to look at their growth.

Either way, today we’re looking at a pool company in Massachusetts. 

This one is called St. Cyr Pool and Spa.

It’s run by Jay Broyer and his business partner Brandon Jones

They own businesses in the three main areas of the pool and hot tub industry: retail, construction, and maintenance across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

This has been a hot industry. 

During the pandemic, everyone wanted a pool or a hot tub - demand sky-rocketed and sales were fantastic for them. 

But nothing lasts forever, even pandemics and high demand for new pools and hot tubs died down to pre-pandemic levels by 2022/2023. 

Where does that leave Jay and St. Cyr Pool and Spa? 

He’s reached a place all founders eventually get to. 

Figuring out how to solve the growth formula.  

All companies plateau at some stage and have to figure out how to break through. 

As the great Calvin Coolidge once said: “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

So Jay did what he does best. 

He went to work. 

St. Cyr Pool and Spa realized that maintenance is the real key to steady revenue. 

Building the pool or hot tub is a one-time event. 

Offering a maintenance contract service helps them to build a long-term annuity. 

But they were letting a lot of potential maintenance leads go to competitors.

They realized they had the perfect lead magnet in their retail store.

Each person who purchased a tub or pool at that location was an obvious lead for a maintenance contract but they weren’t doing anything to convert them.

During the pandemic, they were just struggling to keep up with orders and didn’t even have time to think about a long-term system. 

You don’t worry about one-time purchases until people stop making them.

So they’ve started to reorient the business into an integrated system from buying to installing to maintaining. 

Now you can get a free or discounted maintenance service trial at purchase in the retail store.

They are training and incentivizing the sales team to push these contracts.

And it’s starting to pay off,

Revenue during Covid was 50% retail and 50% maintenance. 

Now it’s 32% retail and 68% maintenance. 

While overall revenue isn’t growing as much as before, they are growing a better, steadier, and more profitable revenue mix.

Sometimes getting the mix right is more important than the overall growth rate.

We’ll see if St. Cyr Pool and Spa can find new ways to grow the top line faster now that the mix is better.

We’ll be checking up on how things are going in around 6-12 months.

I think Jay and Brandon have done very well in finding a business model that works for them in a tough and challenging environment. 

Figuring out the growth formula is never easy but once you manage to find the right solution it can help to take your business to the next level. 

However, as we all know the journey of a small business owner is complex. 

There’s always another obstacle to overcome right around the corner. 

🧑‍🎓 The Lessons: 

  1. Solving the growth formula is hard but necessary and once it's solved it can take your business to new heights. 

  1. Adapting to an ever-changing market landscape is integral to surviving in a challenging environment. 

  1. Sometimes the mix of revenue sources is as or more important than growing the overall top line.

📅 Next Week:

Tune in next week as we follow up with part 2 of Jay’s St. Cyr Pool and Spa journey and learn how important it is to have an organized team and how sometimes it's necessary to bring in an outside perspective to kick things into gear. 

Keep growing,

Alan

P.S. 
The most recent episode of The Small Business Mentor Podcast is live. My guest this week was the subject of one of our recent newsletters, Malcolm Marshall from POOL-ology. We went into a lot of detail on the current status of his business, his journey and the trials and tribulations of a small business owner. 

Check it out here: 

  • Apple: https://bit.ly/3HCBvEf

  • Spotify: https://bit.ly/49bsOwl

P.P.S. 

Do you have a small business growth story and want to be featured? Ping me on X @apentz, or submit at http://www.fame.so/sbp-story

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