Seafax A-B

Babson Professor Bill Bygrave, Case Director

Dan D'Heilly, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 1995.

Abstract

The (A) case follows a top Dunn & Bradstreet salesman after he resigned and launched a company to fill an under-served niche: credit and collections in the fresh-seafood industry. The company rapidly grew to 35 employees before the lead entrepreneur decided to make the data available online. This required a substantial investment in technology that would only be affordable if sales increased quickly. When sales remained flat, the company experienced a cash crisis. The SeaFax (B) case details the cash flow and other management tactics used to survive the crisis. The management team devised a survival strategy that included layoffs, motivational exercises, and renegotiating fixed expenses. The investment in a new computer system ultimately enabled SeaFax to expand horizontally into other industries that also benefited from an online credit and collections database. The cases are best used in courses with a focus on cash flow, new ventures, growth management, guerrilla marketing, leadership, benefits of computerization, and product development.

Location of the company: Portland, Maine

Year(s) spanned by the case: 1985 through 1990

Industry segment(s): Seafood credit and collections

Stage of the company: Growth and maturity

Age of the entrepreneur(s): 40s

DVD

A 42-minute DVD is available for the (B) case. It is a presentation to Babson MBA students by the case principal, Neal Workman. Please place video orders through ecch.

Teaching Notes

A nine page case teaching package, written by Bill Johnston and Ed Marram (compiled by Dan D'Heilly), is available for this case. In addition to the (B) case, the teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.