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Fusion Communications Group is growing so much these days that Dave Wilkie, one of the founders, doesn’t have an office of his own. Wilkie, Fusion Communications’ marketing director, gave up his office so two graphic designers could have room to work.
“We’re just crammed together right now, it’s elbow to elbow,” said Wilkie.
Fusion Communications is a full-service marketing and communications firm that helps clients create TV and radio ads, print ads, corporate images, and even websites. It’s an exciting field.
Fusion Communications has had incredible growth since Wilkie formed it in 1992 with partners Derrick Coupland and Terry Kuzina. Back then the fledgling company had four employees, counting the partners, and an office of 750 square feet on Brazier Street.
Now Fusion Communications has 21 employees and is moving in December to a spacious 6900 square foot office at 290 Vaughan Street.
According to Wilkie the success is built on creativity and their ability to communicate. “The creative concept has always been our strength,” he said. “We come up with communication solutions that work towards solving our clients’ problems.”
Strange as it may seem this level of success can cause a lot of headaches. Companies must re-evaluate their goals, strategies, and financial structure as they expand, and though it’s a great set of problems to have, it’s still a set of problems that needs solutions. That’s why Fusion Communications went to Lazer Grant about a year and a half ago.
Wilkie heard about Lazer Grant from a friend and was immediately impressed with their knowledge and focus on business development. He and partners Coupland and Kuzina met with Joel Lazer.
Joel is a guru to us. I can go to him with any business problem and he always has a solution that makes senseWilkie
“He sees the big picture and points us in the right direction.” Joel Lazer helped Wilkie, Coupland and Kuzina form a vision of the company’s future. That focus and vision led them to write Fusion Communications’ mission statement. Now Lazer Grant gives them advice on all aspects of their business strategy, including human resources, financial planning, tax planning and future growth issues.
Fusion Communications also found the team advisory board very helpful. All the company’s employees were invited to an afternoon discussion facilitated by Lazer Grant’s Karen Barry Smith. No bosses were included and everyone was asked to talk freely about what was good about the company and what could be improved. Then management was given a report that Wilkie said was both interesting and enlightening.
Wilkie expected personal service and attention but said he was a little surprised by Lazer Grant’s range of expertise. “I probably didn’t realize to what extent Joel would become like a psychologist. I told him he should have a couch in his office,” he said.
Wilkie also had praise for Lazer Grant’s Garry Chan for all his accounting and tax advice. “We call him all the time and he has answers for us right away,” said Wilkie. In fact Lazer Grant helped Fusion Communications get back about $30,000 in employment insurance payments that turned out to be excessive.
With the explosion in new media such as websites, Fusion Communications says its growth potential is greater than ever. When the company first consulted Lazer Grant it had about $900,000 in yearly sales. The goal was to reach $6 million in annual sales within three to five years. Wilkie said the company is already halfway to that goal and could reach it within the three-year span.
If a larger company brings with it larger problems Wilkie said he’s reassured by the presence of Lazer Grant and Joel Lazer. “They’re a tremendous relief to me, to know there’s that kind of expertise to fall back on. We often just say, “Well, it’s a Joel thing.”