Pushing Past the Pain

A young advisory firm helps businesses keep strategic ambition on track

Photo: Amy Van de Klippe and Marsha Bradley

“WHEN YOU LOOK at a table or a desk, you likely see the long grain of the wood. If you were to flip that piece of wood and look at the end grain, you would be looking at the exact same piece of wood but it would look completely different,” says Amy Van de Klippe, explaining why she and Marsha Bradley decided to name their company End Grain Industries.

“We take problems that businesses have been looking at the same way for as long as they can remember and flip them, presenting a completely different view.”

Bradley and Van de Klippe met in the corporate world, where they often found they were go-to people for the ­company’s special projects.
“We developed a strong respect for each other in our professional lives and also became friends,” says Van de Klippe.

“What we find is that people who have strong visions and work in the big-picture space often need support in the nuts and bolts of their businesses” —Amy Van de Klippe

As young mothers, they both wanted more autonomy and flexibility in their lives. They also both recognized how important operations and processes are to the success of any business, and saw a need in the market for ­experienced practitioners with a diverse skill set who could provide short-term help with specific tasks or projects. So they decided to launch End Grain Industries in 2016.

This is a high-trust business, say Bradley and Van de Klippe, and they have relied on referrals to build it. They are often referred by consultants who have done strategic planning with a company or non-profit organization and see a need for help with implementation.

“Organizations may not have the time and resources to action the plan,” says Bradley. “We’ll say, ‘You have this great plan, let’s make sure it doesn’t go to waste.’”

While their services focus on operations and processes, they have also been called in to work on short-term projects, to assist with business planning and revenue projections, and to fill the gap while a company recruits a new employee.

“What we find is that people who have strong visions and work in the big-­picture space often need support in the nuts and bolts of their businesses,” says Van de Klippe. “Policy and process are critical to building a solid foundation that allows for growth. Sales process and project work are critical to scaling, but they often get pushed down the to-do list while a company focuses on the day-to-day.”

According to Bradley and Van de Klippe, once they are working with a company, they look to uncover and fix fundamental issues that, left unchanged, can hamstring a business and stagnate growth.

“Many of our clients become clients when they have hit a pain-point in a ­critical project, and they need experienced, capable help to stay on time and on budget,” says Van de Klippe. “You can think of it like this: when you have a headache, you take an aspirin; when you have a business headache, you call End Grain Industries.”  Kym Wolfe

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