Small Company, Big Profit

Like many entrepreneurs, Jim Christy set out to boost revenues by reaching a bigger market. But the founder and CEO of Incredible Foods, a dessert delivery service in Gibsonia, Pa., soon found that bigger sales don’t necessarily equal better business.

Christy, 55, launched Incredible Foods to sell a San Diego bakery’s cheesecake to local food vendors in Pennsylvania. The business soon expanded beyond its flagship product, and in 1998 landed one of the biggest accounts of all: Starbucks. Christie’s revenues reached $3.4 million in 2005, but the cost of fuel, employee benefits, insurance, and workers’ comp made the whole thing completely unprofitable.

That year, Christy decided to cut the cord. The account generated 48% of Incredible Foods’ annual revenues, but Christy believed that he could run a stronger company without Starbucks.

So he shrank the staff from 13 to six, eliminated one of his two offices, and focused his marketing attention on local customers who closed deals with a handshake, generally without resorting to squadrons of lawyers and accountants.

It paid off. Last year Incredible Foods posted an 11% increase in profits on revenues of $2.2 million, and Christy expects a 22% revenue increase this year.

Photo by Incredible Foods.

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