Terri Gardner, CEO

Soft Sheen Products, Inc.

The expertise and judgment of the De Novo professionals singlehandedly saved our business. These are people who know how to drill down to get to the core of an issue in an unrelenting search for the facts. It is like having a financial pit bull working for you, but with much better manners. They asked the right questions of the right people. Tirelessly, they combed our organization, looking for ineffective procedures or inefficiencies. Their level of commitment is unsurpassed.

In producing wonderful and innovative, our family business had experienced meteoric growth that left us with lagging operational skills. We had a legacy of great brands and dysfunctional cash management, burdened by uneven raw material inventory, long receivables and longer payables. We wrestled with severe out of stocks on key SKU’s, and our vendors gave us terms cautiously, if at all. Within a few weeks of arrival, the management team of De Novo instituted controls, provided a process to improve cash forecasting, and set about to train key managers. Favorable terms and pricing were negotiated with vendors, thereby reducing the cost of goods. Raw materials began to come in on time, correcting our back order situation and giving rise to improved collections and customer satisfaction. The challenges that faced our business never seemed to be beyond the De Novo team’s extensive skill sets: legal, process management, reporting, creditor relations, recruiting, cost of goods reduction, and management of international operations and partners, to name a few. Within just 9 months, the culture and attitudes at my company had changed 180 degrees, paving the way to turn the business around.

De Novo’s team became an integral part of ours, inserting themselves into our organization as a knowledgeable, objective voice. Their only interest was in the success of our company, for which they fought as if it were theirs. Respectful of the fact that we needed to use their services wisely in order to survive, they wasted none of our time or money. The bond that my team and I formed with the group from De Novo was built upon mutual trust, honesty and respect.

The personal challenges of family dynamics overlaid on a business are not to be underestimated. On many occasions, I received steady counsel that helped me to overcome some pretty tough stuff. The fragility of family situations were handled with sensitivity and truth–and the just the right amount of each.

Lastly, I have to say that I learned how to be a President from the people of De Novo. It was like getting my MBA, the hard way. I knew I could ask questions and get accurate and honest information to manage the business. While solving our specific, complex problems, they taught company management how to take the reins.

I have no hesitation in giving De Novo my highest endorsement. It was the single most valuable business relationship I have ever experienced. There is no doubt in my mind that their efforts were translated into solid value creation.

Read Soft Sheen Products Case Study