Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game™ All-Stars
2021 Case Study - SuperSuds
Location: Fredricksburg, VA
2020 Revenues: $8.1 million
Critical Numbers™: Net Profit/Cash
The business owns and operates 24 different laundromats, all of which feature highly efficient large-load and high-speed washers and dryers, across four states on the east coast.
Owner Robert Schwartz, who has a background on Wall Street, saw an opportunity back in 1996 to consolidate the widely fragmented laundromat industry. But as he acquired more locations across a greater geographic area, he realized he couldn’t run the entire business on his own. He also realized that many of the stores felt isolated and out of touch. As a result, Schwartz wanted to find a system that would not only tie his business together, but also give a greater sense of leadership and ownership to the associates running each location.
While he read The Great Game of Business years ago, it wasn’t until he went to Springfield to see Great Game™ in action did he fully appreciate how it could be the answer he was looking for. It was after a visit to his neighbor Liz Wilder of Wilder Designs, a GGOB Hall of Famer, that Schwartz made the move to hire a coach, Wayne Whitesell, to start playing The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) companywide in 2017.
Now four years into playing GGOB, financial metrics at SuperSuds are up across the board. “The results speak for themselves and it’s one of the main reasons why we will ALWAYS play The Game,” says Schwartz. “Our team engagements have also never been higher, which has made a huge positive impact on our customer service at the store level.” Despite the challenges of 2020, the team still grew sales by 1%—without a price increase—and earned $1.2 million in EBITDA. “I attribute this remarkable growth to our engaged team and a mind shift towards a sense of ownership with A Stake in the Outcome®", says Schwartz. “For the first time, our store managers have realized that their impact on the customer experience has translated to higher store sales which means more bonus pay. A true line of sight impact has begun.”
“Practicing open-book management through The Great Game of Business has been our saving grace throughout these difficult times. Our already established huddles served as the ideal platform to keep our team informed and comfortable with where our company stood during this period of uncertainty.”
~ Jennie Jimenez, General Manager
Spotlight on the Pandemic
SuperSuds already had a strong communication rhythm in place when the pandemic hit as the team had already made the shift to Huddling over Zoom, which includes Spanish translation. “The constant communication played such an integral role in keeping everyone on the same page,” says Schwartz. “Everyone felt like we were all in this together—that we were a team and a family.” Another benefit that came from the increased focus on communications was that peers across the different stores began to build relationships that has resulted in tighter connections for the entire business. “We are not perfect but we’re playing The Game better than we ever have,” says Schwartz. “We are really seeing people taking ownership and driving higher engagement with our customers.”
In 2020, the team launched a golf-themed MiniGame around the objective of reducing nine major cost categories. Each week, team members would search for the lowest price cost of each item in that category. The game helped the team develop new vendor relationships that brought immediate cost savings. Another MiniGame called “SuperSuds SuperStar” had an objective to increase Google review scores and their online presence while also encouraging employees to interact with more customers.
“The Great Game of Business has affected me because it has showed me to be more professional and showed me a better way to communicate with my customers. It made me open up with people and be more friendly.”
~ Madeline Matos, Laundromat Attendant
In January Schwartz hired our two coaches, Wayne Whitesell and Anne-Claire Broughton, for another year to help the SuperSuds team implement High-Involvement Planning™. “Our main focus over the next 12 months is infusing our six core values throughout our organization along with creating an award winning ‘unique customer experience’ similar to Chik-Fil-A and Zingermans,” says Schwartz, who is hopeful the team can reach its big, hairy, audacious goal, BHAG, of $25 million in revenue with an EBITDA of $6.25 million by 2030 by adding new diversified profit centers like pick-up and delivery, commercial laundry service, drop-off laundry service, and buying more stores in other markets. Another area of focus for Schwartz is driving more financial literacy among the team and using their GGOB culture to help recruit, retain, and onboard their employees.
“GGOB has made it more fun to want to go to work every day with all the extra knowledge and confidence that our team embraces.”
For nearly 40 years, The Great Game of Business™ has helped organizations reach their highest potential and value.
Tapping into the universal human need to win, GGOB educates your people in the rules of business, rallies them around a common goal, empowers them to see and improve the score, and engages them by giving them a stake in the outcome.