"Of course the financial assistance was necessary, but more than that, it was tremendously important for me to know that I wasn't alone. I was amazed and relived to have IVN's support, " says Amos Hevron, owner and CEO of IT IS*, a printed circuit board assembly company located in Rosh Pina.
For the most part, the Second Lebanon War in July 2006 highlighted and exacerbated longstanding difficulties facing the economic structure of Northern Israel
Experiencing serious financial difficulties, Amos moved IT IS from Yokneam to the northern city of Rosh Pina in the summer of 2006 because the rent was more affordable. Unfortunately he moved two weeks before the outbreak of the war. Under constant daily attack for a period of two months, IT IS was unable to produce and deliver product in a timely fashion. Things went downhill quickly and Amos found himself once again having to move in order to reduce expenses, but this time to a garage facility in the Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangryia with virtually no hope of salvaging his company.
In April 2007, IT IS became part of IVN's Economic Reconstruction Initiative (IERI), which targets small to medium size businesses with untapped growth potential. The initiative was established to stimulate business growth in Israel's periphery through a model of consultancy, mentoring and micro financing, combined with strengthening and empowering regional business consultants and MATI's (Small Business Development Centers).
Through IERI, the local MATI matched IT IS with business consultant Tzahy Ravel whose purpose is to guide Amos on a strategic level and lead him from a point of barely surviving to economic growth by upgrading the business and economic infrastructure. Tzahy is an independent, regional business consultant with many years of experience in the business arena. Through IERI, Tzahy received additional training and acts as consultant for 7 additional companies within the IERI program.
At the beginning of the process Amos was unable to plan a week ahead, cash flow crises were a daily occurrence and manufacturing processes were unstable. Since then, Amos and Tzahy have met almost once a week and speak often. IT IS is not only economically stable but already in the first stages of growth. IT IS is at the final stages of getting ISO standard; they have expanded from 6 employees to 14; sales have gone up by over 200%; cash flow is stable to the extent that the bank manager notified IT IS last week that the company is no longer under tight supervision; quality control has improved dramatically; the company acquired much more manufacturing equipment; IT IS is slowly absorbing new customers in order to build a stable and varied customer-base.
Amos Hevron says "Tzahy and I developed a relationship based on trust. He taught me, advised me and positively changed the way I look at my business and the work process. As the business owner, I would make decisions based on emotion and instinct. Tzahy gave me perspective and I trusted him and followed his advice. Now that I have learned the correct way to run and expand my business, I can begin building on the stable foundation that IVN has helped me build. "
When asked about the process, Tzahy said, "As a consultant, my role is not only to help reshape and redefine the business, but also the business owner. It hasn't been a smooth ride but we finally reached a point of trust. I may have acted as a guide, but Amos did all of the hard work."
IERI's mentorship program gives the businesses and the consultants the opportunity to learn from the experience gained by those running established, successful companies. The mentor volunteers his/her time. Whereas the consultant is effective on the strategic level, the mentor provides a more managerial overview. The mentor works with the consultant and occasionally meets with the business itself.
Yair Sakov** was matched with consultant Tzahy Ravel. Together they coach and mentor a number of businesses, one of them being IT IS.
"Working with Yair has been great. We defined our roles from the beginning. We have a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation," said Tzahy
Yair enjoys the time he dedicates to IERI. "I believe in IVN's mission of creating a fundamental and long-lasting change in Israel's cultural and economic infrastructure. IERI gives me the opportunity to be involved hands-on and be part of this exceptional team. I also enjoy teaching. My role as mentor allows me to do just that. Amos is an extremely creative person. Tzahy taught him how to focus and harness that creativity without destroying it. Tzahy is a real professional with very good business sense. My role is to back-up, support and advise the consultant and provide the perspective beyond the day-to-day."
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
For more information, Amos Hevron can be contacted at:
~ 04-6860564 ~ 052-2568853 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org