What is the right path to accelerate growth?
The most direct line goes straight to the customer.
Just a few years ago, businesses relied on traditional supply channels for office furniture. Desks, lamps and workstations were fairly standardized in function with limited options. That changed when the VARIDESK co-founder was suffering from sciatic nerve back pain at his desk and had an idea. He elevated his laptop using a cardboard box on his desk so he could stand and work. This led him to design a product that would let him stand at his existing desk – that was functional, streamlined and alleviated his pain.
The first VARIDESK variable height desktop product, and its subsequent introduction to the market, started a new chapter for the industry.
“Back pain is the second leading cause of absenteeism at work,” according to VARIDESK CFO Craig Storey. “The idea was born out of back pain but led to a company that creates products and office solutions that change the way people work around the world.”
The original desktop converter was just the start. Company co-founders Dan Flaherty and Jason McCann are on a path to simplify how businesses buy office furniture by turning the dealer distribution model upside-down by selling direct to consumers online. “What’s best for the customer?” became the focus for future product development and improvements. The answers came from the customers themselves, forging a strong identity centered on transparency and a model for continual customer feedback as VARIDESK grew into an office furniture company with a full suite of simple, agile products – from electric standing desks and storage, to moveable walls and lighting.
From “back pains” to “growing pains”
The EY Growth Barometer Survey indicates that US companies lead the world in innovation through customer centricity – a finding mirrored by VARIDESK’s rapid growth trajectory. Quality, innovation and customer collaboration were significant drivers as the company expanded its product line to include additional versions of the quick-to-assemble conference room furniture, seating solutions and lighting accessories. The transition from desk-on-top-of-desk products to a suite of full-office solutions, including movable walls, demonstrate VARIDESK’s mission to make the workplace a happier, healthier and more productive place.
As VARIDESK’s fan base grew beyond the U.S., and the company began to scale globally, complex business issues arose. Keeping up, and ahead of, rapid growth required a trusted business advisor.
“EY has been recognizing, supporting and guiding high-growth entrepreneurs for more than 30 years,” said Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, and EY Americas Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader Debra von Storch. “It’s my job to help accelerate a company’s growth; to help them achieve their strategy and purpose.”
With VARIDESK’s impressive trajectory and ensuing business needs, von Storch and her team stepped in to help align the company’s organizational structure with its growth strategies.
“When we first met, we had pressing needs related to tax structure in the global market,” said Storey. “We needed to manage risk and avoid unnecessary exposure,” he said. “Everyone on the EY team was very responsive and helped us navigate what is normally a painstaking process.”
Defining growth goals, setting up the right corporate structure, developing supportive capital strategies and outlining the best talent acquisition methods were additional priorities addressed by the EY team.
According to Storey, in addition to providing exceptional service on these complex projects, the EY team was very proactive in keeping VARIDESK ahead of potential issues as their growth continued at a break-neck pace.