The Cyrano Group Launches New Product, Improves Sales With Help From Birol Growth Consulting

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The Cyrano Group, a full-service communications and graphic design shop located in Barberton, Ohio, was a small company suffering a big identity crisis. President Scott Zimmerman had invented an Internet-based program that enables clients to execute targeted customized marketing campaigns. The Cyrano System had terrific potential, but adding it to the company’s existing line of services was going to require a major transition. How could a company with limited staff and resources launch a revolutionary product -- without sacrificing its core business?

Founded by Scott Zimmerman in 1989 under the name Zimmer Graphics, The Cyrano Group began as a traditional graphic design and advertising agency and added Internet services throughout the 1990s. After inventing his "relational communications" system in 2001, Zimmerman changed the name of the business to reflect the company’s shift into delivering customized marketing campaigns to small business owners, marketing managers, and sales professionals. The Cyrano System (also sold under the name Independent Communicator™) lets clients match their messages, including the medium and time of delivery, to the personalities, interests, and needs of individual prospects and customers. Accessing the system from any Internet connection, clients can enter instructions on how, when, and what they want to have sent. The system creates and delivers messages, which range from gifts to customized e-mails or literature to advertising specialties, on behalf of the client. Because each message is customized for a unique recipient, The Cyrano System provides marketing information customers can use, in contrast to a barrage of unwanted, often inappropriate, ads so many of us now receive. Understandably, Scott Zimmerman was excited about the potential of his idea and he spent two years creating a prototype, researching patents, and getting his technology to market. The problem? By 2002, he had invested in the new system at the expense of his core business. The Cyrano Group was drained of cash reserves. Sales had slipped. The company wasn’t healthy, and neither was Scott Zimmerman. "I was unfocused in my thinking, unsure where to invest my time, and pretty much obsessed about pursuing new business opportunities," he recalls. To complicate matters, he was struggling to locate clients for The Cyrano System. He needed to find ways to grow both his old business and his new one, and he called Andy Birol for assistance.

Andy conducted a half-day, on-site assessment of The Cyrano Group. After interviewing Zimmerman, a key employee, and one of Cyrano’s value-added resellers, Andy identified several areas of pain and opportunity:

  • Zimmerman needed to clarify the direction of his company and hone his leadership skills.
  • The company was in need of operations management.
  • New campaigns would have to be developed to boost sales.
  • Pricing models for The Cyrano System would have to be established for single-user entrepreneurs and for larger businesses with multiple sales reps.
  • The Cyrano System needed to be packaged with existing services in order to leverage both businesses.

Zimmerman hired Andy as a business coach.. Together they defined Zimmerman’s Best and Highest Use™, a tool that would help him profitably organize his time. Zimmerman cleared his schedule of all activities that were not directly related to sales, personal sales training, Cyrano marketing plan development, or client campaign creative direction. He hired a part-time COO to oversee the company’s finances and began grooming a key employee for a long-term role. With Andy’s help, Zimmerman also:

  1. Effectively bundled, priced, and packaged The Cyrano System.
  2. Developed new marketing campaigns.
  3. Positioned the new technology for both single user clients and big organizations.
  4. Structured a reseller agreement for The Cyrano System through Independent Entrepreneur™.

Within 30 days of hiring Andy as a coach, Scott Zimmerman watched his company flourish. Sales increased. Cash began to flow again. Today, Scott Zimmerman is enthusiastic and confident about his business and his own role as a leader. "Like Andy, I run a premium service business operating with limited resources in a challenging economic environment," he notes. "I’m not complaining because I have a gifted mind that generates great ideas, but sometimes I have difficulty following through on the day-to-day necessities of running a business. Andy was the first business coach who was able to get--and keep--me focused on the important issues that addressed our problems." Zimmerman now delegates most of the repetitive aspects of operations management, invests time each day into mastering Andy’s approach to selling solutions, and creates messages for the growing number of Cyrano clients. "I’m productive and focused," he enthuses. "And why not? I’m working fewer hours with incredible results."

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