Recycleworks Increases Valuation 500% with Crews & co.
Crews & co.
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Recyleworks is a family-owned business that creates sustainable upcycling solutions for beverage and food service companies throughout the East Coast.
Recycleworks lacked an internal structure to align employees with company values, which made it difficult for the company to achieve growth. Balancing family dynamics with business operations proved challenging for the leadership team, and they focused too much attention on day-to-day issues instead of long-term solutions.
Recycleworks leveraged Crews & co.’s Growth Method to build a business framework based on company values and strategic goals.
Recycleworks unifies its leadership team using structures grounded in the company’s values and vision.
Recycleworks implements OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) that align short and long-term goals and improve execution.
Recycleworks uses values-based hiring tools to grow the team from 22 to 52 employees in a competitive labor market.
In 2.5 years, Recycleworks increases revenue 320%, drives an 18 percentage point increase in gross profit margin, and grows business value by an estimated 500%.
Recycleworks: Dedicated to a Zero-Waste Future
Recycleworks is a family-owned company in Braintree, Massachusetts, run by CEO Dan Buonagurio Jr. and his sons, Henry Buonagurio (COO) and Dan Buonagurio III (CFO). Since 2014, Recycleworks has worked toward creating a zero-waste future by providing upcycling services like product destruction and organic waste hauling throughout the East Coast.
As Recycleworks began to expand, the team struggled with misaligned values and disorganization throughout the company. The demanding, capital-intensive nature of waste management amplified their problems. Seeking a long-term solution, Recycleworks decided to partner with a professional consulting team.
Choosing Crews & co.
When Recycleworks began encountering obstacles to growth, the Buonagurios realized there was no point in hiring a typical consultant to sort weeds from flowers if the team was planting in the wrong garden.
Recycleworks needed more than a consultant to run cost models and lecture them about right-sizing—they needed to get to the root of the problem.
Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the Growth Method creates whole-company alignment to increase revenue, profits, and valuation. Crews & co. uses this method to set business owners up for success and empower them to work on the business, not in the business.
The Growth Method focuses on four key areas:
Attracting and retaining the right employees
Defining a clear company vision
Building a business driven by process
Establishing a strong financial system
When Dan Sr. first encountered Crews & co. early in his career, he didn’t have the team behind him to take on the sweeping, large-scale changes the Growth Method would facilitate.
But now? The Growth Method was exactly what Recycleworks needed.
“Crews & co. helped us get out of the weeds,” Dan Sr. says. “Thanks to them, Recycleworks is a healthier, more awake, and more aware company.”
“Crews & co. helped us get out of the weeds. Thanks to them, Recycleworks is a healthier, more awake, and more aware company.”
Growing Toward the Vision
Recycleworks faced three major obstacles to growth:
Lack of organization
Misalignment of short and long-term goals
A competitive labor market
Crews & co.’s tailored alignment solutions addressed each issue, bringing order and accountability to Recycleworks.
“The Growth Method framework, and Eric especially, have really been differentiated for us,” says Dan III. “Eric’s ability to come in and shape and understand our business has been remarkable.”
“Eric’s ability to shape and understand our business has been remarkable.”
With Crews & co.’s support, Recycleworks laid the groundwork for sustainable, profitable growth.
Challenge: Lack of organization
The Buonagurios had big ideas, but Recycleworks didn’t have the structures in place to achieve its ambitious long-term goals. The company lacked a middle management team, and the leadership team spent too much time solving immediate problems—and not enough time implementing strategic solutions.
At the top, family dynamics affected the business. Recycleworks’ leadership team was unbalanced, with Dan Jr. taking the lead more often than not. The company needed accountability checks in place to get Dan III and Henry on equal footing with Dan Jr. so that, in the CEO’s words, “it’s not Dad’s way or the highway.”
The gaps in organization and long-term thinking inevitably impacted the rest of the company. With the whole team focused on short-term solutions, Recycleworks had no universal vision for everyone to work toward.
Solution: Building unified structures
To address the blurred lines between family and business, Crews & co. helped Recycleworks build accountability checks into the company. These checks included weekly meetings with set start and end times, rigorous agendas, and required attendance.
“It was awkward for us at first, but it’s also where we’ve seen the most benefit,” says Henry.
From day one, Crews & co. encouraged Recycleworks to grow a middle management team so the leadership team could focus on large-scale, long-term growth.
With a unified, organized leadership team at the helm, Recycleworks began implementing seemingly basic solutions that aligned the entire company from top to bottom. Leadership established a vision for Recycleworks and redefined the company’s core values, integrating both company-wide so every employee acted in service of common goals.
“When we’re aligned, we’re tough to beat,” says Dan Jr. “This industry is full of challenges, and having one another’s back is extremely important.”
“When we’re aligned, we’re tough to beat. The industry is full of challenges, and having one another’s back is extremely important.”
Challenge: Misalignment of short and long-term goals
Recycleworks’ leadership team had high aspirations for the company but struggled to break major goals, such as expanding into other states, down into manageable weekly objectives.
While employees successfully completed short-term goals, the outcomes didn’t necessarily bring Recycleworks closer to achieving long-term goals. The leadership team struggled to find a way to bridge the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be.
Solution: Implementing OKRs
Crews & co. worked with Recycleworks to implement OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, which enabled the company to align on strategic goals on a quarterly, annual, and even 3-year basis. Those weekly meetings ensured that the team was accountable for making progress toward those goals.
“OKRs help us stay on track and lay the groundwork to take us from where we are today to where we want to go,” says Dan III. “We’ve already met many of our 3 Year Objectives. That wouldn’t have happened without Crews & co.”
“We’ve already met many of our 3 Year Objectives. That wouldn’t have happened without Crews & co.”
Recycleworks is working to incorporate OKRs throughout the company to align the entire team, from truck drivers to the C-suite, in achieving long-term goals.
Challenge: A Competitive labor market
When Recycleworks partnered with Crews & co., the business had only 22 employees. Facing a tight labor market, Recycleworks struggled to hire and retain employees who were the right fit.
Solution: Adopting values-based hiring
One of the first steps in the Growth Method is developing core company values. Crews & co. went a step further by designing a solution to Recycleworks’ hiring struggles: values-based hiring.
“‘Does this employee meet our core values?’ has been the right question to ask,” says Dan Jr. “A definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is illuminating and helps clarify difficult decisions. We ask it when hiring, firing, and even when deciding on promotions.”
Crews & co. suggested that Recycleworks use DiSC Reports to narrow the candidate pool. The in-depth DiSC questionnaires gather data and create guidelines for working with each individual, down to the best practices for communicating with them.
This holistic approach to employment ensures new hires align with Recycleworks’ core values. When the entire company holds the same values, it’s easier to promote from within and create a team that feels like family.
“We’re drawing from a competitive pool, but Crews & co. really helped us define ourselves,” says Dan Jr.
Since implementing values-based hiring, Recycleworks has almost tripled in size. Crews & co. showed the company that effective hiring isn’t about throwing more dollars at people—it’s about finding people who align with the company and keeping them.
“In the beginning, I didn’t think we could afford to hire a consultant. Crews & co. told us we couldn’t afford not to,” says Dan Jr. “I blew that off, but it was the truth. The Growth Method is worth every dime and then some—it’s hard to put a price on being fully engaged in your business.”
“The Growth Method is worth every dime and then some—it’s hard to put a price on being fully engaged in your business.”
With the guidance of Crews & co., Recycleworks experienced the following results:
In 2.5 years of working with Crews & co., Recycleworks’ revenuegrew by 320%, and the company’s gross profit margin increased by 18 percentage points.
Recycleworks hired 30 employees who align with company values.
The company’s growth led to an estimated 500% increase in business valuation.
Looking Forward: Nowhere to Go but Up
Crews & co. helped the Buonagurios “upcycle” their own company into a robust, fully aligned business. The initial strides Recycleworks has made with the Growth Method are only the beginning. With such a strong foundation, there’s only one place left to go:
When asked what advice he’d give to businesses considering partnering with Crews & co., Dan Jr. replied immediately:
“Start yesterday. Crews & co. is the best money you could ever spend on your business.”
“Start yesterday. Crews & co. is the best money you could ever spend on your business.”